Nature 21

Siegfried F Buerling

January 29, 1932 ~ December 30, 2021 (age 89)



1932-2021 Obituary

Siegfried F. Buerling

Akron – Siegfried Friedel Buerling, born January 29, 1932 in Essen Germany to Friedrich and Berta Bürling, passed away at home December 30, 2021.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Heidi; his son, Bruce; and his sisters, Annaliese and Margaret. He is survived by sons, Peter (Cindy) and Curt; and grandchildren, Benjamin and Elizabeth.

Siegfried trained as a cabinet maker in his father’s shop in Essen. In 1955 he moved to Canada where he met his wife Heidi who also moved from Germany. While in Canada working in a furniture shop restoring antique furniture, he married Heidi and they had their first son, Peter. In 1959 Siegfried and his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio where they had two more sons, Bruce and Curt. Siegfried began work as a Cabinetmaker in the maintenance department in 1959 for the Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) to fill a temporary position to last only for 6 weeks. In the late 1960’s Siegfried was presented an opportunity by the WRHS to oversee a donated property, Hale Homestead, in Bath, Ohio. While overseeing the property, Siegfried took the small museum from a single house and a few barns to a living history museum with a village created from historic buildings moved from throughout the Connecticut Western Reserve area of Ohio with live historic crafts, costumed interpreters and a variety of special events. As what has become to be known as Hale Farm & Village grew, so did Siegfried's role; becoming Director of Properties for the WRHS and overseeing the restoration and operation of properties such as James A. Garfield House, Shandy Hall, and Loghurst.

In 1968, one of Siegfried proudest moments was when he, his wife, and first son became United States Citizens; an honor that he felt was the greatest privilege ever bestowed upon him even up to his passing.

In 1972 Siegfried had an idea to bring more visitors to Hale Farm & Village; and started the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway. An excursion Railroad operating from Cleveland with a steam engine and historic passenger cars. The railroad continues to operate today between Akron and Cleveland bringing nearly 200,000 people annually into the Cuyahoga Valley.

Siegfried was a believer that history should be experienced and presented in a way as to make it alive, tangible, and accessible. He was a member and worked with many museum organizations and associations to help further history, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Northeastern Ohio Inter-Museum Council. In addition to museums Siegfried also had a dream to preserve the natural and historical beauty of the Cuyahoga River Valley and lobbied with U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators to create the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area which eventually became the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

In 2000, after over 40 years with WRHS, Siegfried was ready to slow down and retire from his “six week” job, and nurturing the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway for over 30 years. While retired he enjoyed his favorite leisure activity, travel, and frequently traveled to Europe and the Caribbean with his wife, and was often accompanied by family and/or friends. But never really fully ready to stop preserving history and make it accessible to all, he continued to consult with the WRHS and even oversaw the restoration of the Euclid Beach Carousel Figures, and remained involved with the railroad.

One of his favorite sayings was “Most men are satisfied with a model train set, I got whole railroad and village”.

He will join his beloved wife to spend the eternity in the place near and dear to his heart; in the Cuyahoga Valley.

Cremation and burial will be held in a private family ceremony. An open celebration of Life will be held at a later date when numerous friends, acquaintances and associates can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to either of his most cherished accomplishments, Hale Farm and Village P.O. Box 296 Bath, OH 44210 (online ) or The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway P.O. Box 158 Peninsula, OH 44264. (



Services in care of The Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory, Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road  Akron, OH  44333.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family
© 2022 Billow's Funeral Homes & Crematory. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility