FETZER, HERMAN (24 June 1899-17 January 1935), better known as "Jake Falstaff" to Akron Times and CLEVELAND PRESS readers, was born in Maple Valley, Ohio, to Levi E. and Lydia Fetzer. After graduating from Akron's West High School, he worked as suburban reporter for the Akron Times, where in 1920 he began his column "Pippins and Cheese," taking its title and his pen name from Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor. Except for a short sabbatical serving as managing editor of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times and head of the Cleveland PLAIN DEALER's Akron bureau, Fetzer remained with the Times until its merger into the Akron Times-Press. He worked briefly for the Akron Beacon Journal and published 3 books, 2 of them based on his Teutonic folk hero, Reini Kugel.
Fetzer's reputation spread as he published articles, poems, and stories in the New Yorker, the Nation, Collier's, and Liberty. In the summers of 1929 and 1930, he wrote the "Conning Tower" column for the vacationing Franklin Pierce Adams in the New York World. Lured to the Cleveland Press early in 1930, Fetzer not only contributed "Pippins and Cheese" but also did rewrites, editorials, and features until his early death from lung cancer. Largely through the efforts of his widow, the former Hazel Stevenson of Akron, several volumes of his work were published posthumously: The Bulls of Spring: Selected Poems (1937); 3 volumes of Ohio farm stories culled from a "Rural Vacation" series composed for the Press; a representative Fetzer anthology, Pippins and Cheese (1960); and Jake Falstaff Selections to Make You Thirsty (1969). Fetzer had no children and was buried in Canaan, Ohio.