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GOP leader bolstered party, city’s growth

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Bartholomew County Republican Party Chairman Ted Ogle, shown Nov. 6, died Sunday. The Columbus City Council member was 60 years old. 
Bartholomew County Republican Party Chairman Ted Ogle, shown Nov. 6, died Sunday. The Columbus City Council member was 60 years old. FILE PHOTO

Ted Ogle, who was chairman of the Bartholomew County and Indiana 6th Congressional District Republican parties, died Sunday at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana. Ogle also was a 16-year member of the Columbus City Council.

Ogle, 60, was diagnosed with cancer last year.

In his dual role as chairman of the party’s two organizations, the Columbus native oversaw a string of Republican victories that established the party as the dominant force in local politics.

Ogle enjoyed personal success of his own, winning four terms on the City Council representing the Fourth District.

While on the council, Ogle helped bring more than $1 billion in new investment to Columbus, said former City Councilman John Brown, who now lives in Charlotte, N.C.

“He has been, and will be, a missed community activist who believed in so many things and stood up for what he believed,” Brown said. “Ted was in a place where he was not afraid to meet his maker. He’s probably up there right now, trying to get everybody organized.”

There also were some political setbacks along the way. One of the first was in 1989, when he challenged longtime political professional Virgil Scheidt as Republican county chairman.

“I figured that I had enough support to win by 10 votes. It turned out that I lost by 10 votes,” Ogle recalled later.

Ogle also made a bid for state office, unsuccessfully challenging veteran Democrat Bob Hayes to represent the 59th district in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1990.

When Scheidt stepped down as party chairman, Ogle was elected his successor.

State Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, said he believes Ogle was the driving force in getting Columbus native Mike Pence elected governor.

Former Mayor Fred Armstrong, a Democrat, said that while he and Ogle disagreed on a number of issues, they disagreed in a civil manner.

“He was a very religious man. His priorities were first, the Lord; second, his family; and then, the Republican Party,” Armstrong said. “His passing is very sad, and we feel for his wife and children.”

Bartholomew County Commissioner Larry Kleinhenz was struck by the energy levels at which Ogle worked.

“Ted’s energy and enthusiasm were contagious,” Kleinhenz said. “He is really a good example of someone who loved their community.”

Besides politics, Ogle also was active in the Columbus Rotary Club, serving as a past president of the club.

Mark Pillar, the current Rotary president, said Ogle had that kind of personality that made people gravitate toward him.

“I remember that Ted was an ‘aw-shucks’ kind of guy. As in, ‘Aw-shucks, let’s just go on and do it,’” Pillar said.

Ogle was a 1971 graduate of Columbus High School and attended Ivy Tech and IUPUI Columbus, where he studied mechanical engineering and management.

He worked for several years at the then-named Cummins Engine Co. as a quality engineer. He and his wife, Anne, owned a property management firm.

Ogle is survived by his wife; their children, Nadia and Eric, both of Columbus; and a brother, Stephen W. Ogle, of Columbus.

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