Eight older Ohioans inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq.

Mr. Stauffer served as attorney to the late Ruth Frost Parker, a former board member of the UCH Board of Directors, whose legacy of giving contributed to a multitude of improvements at Parkvue. Last year, United Church Homes founded the Ruth Frost Parker Center for Abundant Aging in her name.

Press Release from Ohio Dept. of Aging

Eight older Ohioans inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame

Department of Aging, General Assembly honor those who make stronger communities

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and members of the Ohio General Assembly honored eight accomplished older Ohioans with induction into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a special ceremony today in Columbus.

“Older Ohioans have a lifetime of accomplishments and experiences that not only make them our elders, but also position them to be leaders and contributors in their communities,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the department. “When older adults continue to grow, thrive and contribute throughout their lives, they can help their communities address key issues and stand as examples for others to emulate.”

The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame honors Ohioans for outstanding contributions to their professions, their vocations or their communities after age 60. This year’s inductees range in age from 73-90. Their stories are compelling and represent a lifetime of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, kindness and compassion. More than 450 individuals have been inducted into the hall since 1977.

2017 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Inductees:

Paul R. and Vera M. Allen, Xenia – Mr. and Mrs. Allen welcome everybody they meet with open arms and huge hearts. For 30 years, they were foster parents to more than 100 children, adopting seven of them along the way. Combined with one child of their own, their legacy is now spread across the United States, sharing the love and hope that the Allens gave them at a time when no one else could.

Dr. Lucille Garber Ford, Ashland – Dr. Ford is a trailblazer and a role model for all women, with an accomplished career as an educator, businesswoman, college administrator and community leader. She taught business and economics and had an impressive career at Ashland University. She was the first woman to run for Ohio’s lt. governor and founded the Ashland County Community Foundation.

Dr. Ardath A. Franck, Akron – To her many of her former students, Dr. Franck is a beacon of hope. Throughout her 71-year career as a speech therapist, she was one of the first to use unconventional approaches to help students find success in reading. Today, she contributes her community as a business owner and serves as a role model for all ages as she remains physically active and vital.

Dorothy Madal Hetzel, Brecksville – As a mother of five in the 1960s, Ms. Hetzel opened a dance studio in her home. She has served on the Garfield Heights Little Theatre company board for 20 years. She was also the choreographer and dance instructor of the Garfield Heights Youth Theatre. At age 67, she started competing, and winning, in ballroom dancing. She was selected as Ms. Ohio Senior America in 1995.

Samuel Joseph Jones, Glouster – For the better part of seven decades, Mr. Jones has been training young people to be champions in and out of the ring. As a three-time National Kickboxing Champion, he has competed in matches around the world. Since retiring from professional boxing, he has used his boxing experience to shape the minds and bodies of young athletes and support his local community.

Betsy Ross Koller, Malta – Mrs. Koller is a student and master of a 18th century Swiss style of painting called naïve art. She mixes memories of alpine scenery and rural Ohio scenes into unique paintings, that have been displayed around the world and used to raise funds for charity foundations, including a scholarship program at Ohio University that supports students from Appalachia. She is also the author of three children’s books.

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq., Sandusky – Mr. Stauffer has helped bring vital health care to underserved populations in his community. He helped secure more than $1 million to support the founding of the Stein Hospice Service, Inc. He was instrumental in the creation of the Firelands Regional Medical Center in north central Ohio and he founded the Foundation for Firelands, which has helped fund new physician practices in specialties needed to serve the community.

The honorees were officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during a special ceremony held at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. Staff from the Department of Aging and Ohio’s area agencies on aging joined state legislators in recognizing the inductees and thanking them for their contributions.

Access detailed bios and photographs of these inductees at www.aging.ohio.gov.

About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that our elders are respected as vital members of society who continue to grow, thrive and contribute. We collaborate with state agencies and community partners, including area agencies on aging, to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, caregiver support, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq.

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq., Sandusky

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq., improved his Sandusky, Ohio, community through his unique blend of strength, courage, wisdom and leadership. Law may be his profession, but his passion is helping the residents of his community be healthier, happier and prepared for their futures. His work has supported intellectual pursuits and brought vital health care to underserved populations in north central Ohio.

Mr. Stauffer was born in Brookville, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1951. He immediately began practicing law in Sandusky with the law firm of Flynn, Py and Kruse and has practiced there his entire career. Over the past 25 years, his practice has been limited to working with private foundations, nonprofit organizations and on issues surrounding hospital governance.

In 1965, he led a group of interested citizens to create a Bowling Green State University (BGSU) branch campus in the Firelands region of north central Ohio. As chair of the Committee for Educational Development, he led a fund-raising campaign that doubled its original goal. In 2011, he was awarded the Firelands Community Service Award for nearly 50 years of leadership and contributions to the many successes of the BGSU Firelands Campus.

Beginning in 1985, Mr. Stauffer was the architect of a strategic merger that combined Providence Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and Sandusky Memorial Hospital into the Firelands Regional Medical Center, which is located centrally in Sandusky and offers practitioners of differing disciplines the ability to serve a multi county area of north central Ohio. Mr. Stauffer’s talent to coordinate each of these former secular and religious institutions to become one medical center was a triumph and has led to local advances in medical technology and higher quality of care. He served as a member of the board of directors for 44 years and is now director emeritus.

Mr. Stauffer also continues to serve as a member of the board of directors of the Foundation for Firelands, which funds facilities expansion and new equipment purchases, as well as supports low or no cost community health and wellness outreach programs for underserved populations served by Firelands Regional Medical Center.

At the same time as he was working on the hospital mergers, Mr. Stauffer also worked with Sam and Rose Stein to provide $1 million from the Sam S. and Rose Stein Charitable Trusts to assist with the creation of Stein Hospice Service, Inc., headquartered in Sandusky, which today provides both outpatient and inpatient hospice care in a multi-county area.

In 1995, Mr. Stauffer helped establish what is now known as the Erie County Community Foundation. As president of the Dorn Foundation, a local private foundation, he presented a challenge grant to the foundation and business community, offering $1 million from the Dorn Foundation if corporations, individuals and private foundations in Erie County could collectively contribute another $750,000. The challenge grant was a success and the Community Foundation was launched with $1.8 million in assets. Currently, Mr. Stauffer is director emeritus of the foundation, which has assets of more than $20 million and has distributed grants totaling more than $15 million to the Erie County community.

Under Mr. Stauffer’s leadership, the Dorn Foundation has contributed millions of dollars to Sandusky and Erie County, including a recent $1 million grant to Sandusky Schools to assist with preschool education and to launch a new gifted academy and a $300,000 grant to the City of Sandusky to assist with its neighborhood revitalization program.

Over his long and successful career of contributing to his community, Mr. Stauffer has also been involved in his church, the YMCA, the local music and arts scene and has been active in the Sandusky Jaycees, Sandusky Rotary and the Sandusky Lions Club.