Each year a dedicated group of volunteers review a large list of names nominated for this honor. This year the review committee was comprised of Hon. Deborah Alspach, Phyllis Butterworth, Dean Jacob, and Dr. Scott Yancey. A number of individuals and organizations were recognized for their unique contributions to the culture of Marion, Ohio.
The 2018 Honorees included:
Ralph T. Lewis, was a self-made businessman better known as “R.T.” or “Mr. Marion”. R.T. supported many local organizations and is well-known for creating the Marion Rotary Club Foundation, which continues to produce thousands of dollars annually for local projects. R.T. literally changed the landscape of Marion by designing and developing Vernon Heights Boulevard and the surrounding neighborhoods beginning in the 1920’s, which remains a timeless and elegant landmark in Marion.
Jerry Davis was well known for his diamond designs at May’s Jewelers, but those who knew him best knew him for his designs to be generous. Whether he was donating his blood for the local blood drive or donating his money to numerous local charities, Jerry possessed an unselfish desire to do good. He left an indelible mark on Marion by providing generously to scholarships, the Palace Theatre, MARCA, Temple Israel, Rotary, Ohio State, and the YMCA.
Trella Romine literally and figuratively planted the seeds that will affect Marion for many future generations. For 25 years, Trella operated Hemmerly’s Flowers, which was founded by her parents. Her love of plants resulted in the creation of her 12-acre home she called “Terradise”, which she donated to the Marion County Park District and which is designated as an Ohio Natural Landmark. She further preserved and donated the remnant prairie in Green Camp Township now known as Trella Romine Prairie Preserve. She also planted figurative seeds as a founding and charter member of both the Marion County Historical Society and the Edward Huber Memorial Association.
People From Our Past
Madge Cooper Guthery was a beloved fixture on WMRN radio for 52 years. She was known as “Marion’s First Lady of Broadcasting” and was inducted into the Ohio Radio & Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She was a true humanitarian and tireless supporter of this community with her time, talents, and treasure. She valued education highly and was a generous supporter of The Ohio State University’s Marion Campus. Used daily by so many groups on campus, the beautiful Guthery Community Room in Maynard Hall is named in her honor.
Ula McNamara Watts was born in Green Camp and was a theater major at Ohio Wesleyan University. She will be forever linked to this Palace Theatre for her unfailing support of the theater and the numerous live productions she either produced or directed. Along with the many shows and musicals, Ula created and staged the first “Christmas at the Palace” in 1982, an annual tradition that continues to this day in her memory. Ula helped develop the talent of many young theater performers in Marion who went on to successful careers in the performing arts and who carry on her love for the theater.
People From Our Present
Carol Bebout During her 43 years as an educator, Carol has served as a special education teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal at Edison Middle School, Harding High School, and now Tri-Rivers Career Center. Her motto of “Every Student Deserves to be Noticed” has gained her universal respect by students and teachers as an educator who truly cares about each student. She has created numerous student recognition programs and has inspired thousands of students. Carol has been honored with numerous awards and is unselfish with the time she devotes to her students. Possessing seemingly endless energy, Carol can be seen volunteering at many events throughout the community.
Ted Graham is perhaps the undisputed individual leader in Marion’s economic development over the past 40 years. Through his efforts, Marion has become a regional and national distribution center and intermodal hub. Ted converted the deteriorating Marion
Engineer Depot in 1975 into a 2 million square foot storage, inventory, distribution, light manufacturing, logistics and intermodal center, which has expanded from 43 acres to 510 acres. In addition, he has repurposed the former Marion Power Shovel Plants into a one-of-a-kind industrial leasing center. He is actively involved in promoting economic development for the Marion area and has served critical roles on the boards for Marion County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, and Marion Can Do!
Fran Voll Fran had an illustrious career as a prep and college women’s basketball coach. He won three state championships at Delphos St. John’s with one of the best all-time winning percentages in the country. His success continued as head coach at Bowling Green State University where he was Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year and led the Falcons to multiple MAC championships and NCAA appearances. Fran returned to his hometown of Marion where finished his coaching and education career at Marion Catholic High School as Principal. Fran continues to be involved in various community service organizations in Marion and he recently completed serving as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Bowling Green State University.
Morral Companies is represented by Brandon McClure, its Agronomy Manager. Morral Companies began in 1963 as a family business serving the local farm community. Today it is one of the largest formulators and manufacturers of liquid fertilizer serving the agricultural and lawn-and-garden industries. Its multi-solution products are sold by wholesalers, dealers, and national and international retailers. The company’s management and employees have served the national agri-business economy, as well as being a community partner through civic and charitable work throughout Marion County.
Carroll’s Jewelers It was purchased by Lowell Thurston in 1974, and has continued to be a local fixture since it opened in Marion in 1934. Its continued existence downtown wasn’t a given. In 2002, a fire destroyed its Center Street building. Rather than moving from downtown, Lowell made a commitment to remain downtown and built a new building to showcase the jewelry store. Few — if any – people demonstrate their passion for improving Marion’s downtown more than Lowell Thurston. He generously supports local causes and his Wednesday lunches are a staple for gathering both new and longtime Marionites to discuss ways to better the Marion community.
Fahey Banking Company Fahey has been in continuous operation in Marion since 1865 and its main office stands in the same place as the original bank building. CEO Carl Hughes, the great-great grandson of the bank’s founder, represented the company at the Gala. The bank has long emphasized lending to local individuals and businesses to help them reach their goals and help Marion prosper. As a community partner, the bank’s employees volunteer their time and talent to numerous community organizations. Fahey Bank has sponsored the Athlete of the Month program since 1981, which recognizes high school students from Marion County who succeed in both athletics and life.
Marion Safety City Safety City was created in 1984 by Patrolman Jim Temple, Fire Chief Jack Davis, and other firefighters. The program educates our local youth on “stranger danger”, 9-1-1 use, and bike, fire, and pedestrian safety. Chances are great that either you or someone you know is one of the more than 36,000 graduates of Safety City. Chances are also strong that someone you know has had his or her life saved by a smoke detector provided to each child’s family or by the safety lessons our children learn from the dedicated Safety City instructors and volunteers.
Primary & Secondary Educators