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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Mayor announces 8 for hall of fame

Two Toledo industrial pioneers and its ambassador to the world are part of the latest class of eight inductees into the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner is expected to announce tonight in his annual State of the City address.

The addition of Michael J. Owens, the “Owens” in Owens-Illinois, Inc., and Owens Corning; Harold Boeschenstein, OC's first president; Grove Patterson, longtime globetrotting editor-in-chief of The Blade, and five others brings the hall's select membership to 24 since the first class in January, 1999.

“There was a great diversity” in this year's class, J. Patrick Nicholson, chairman of the nine-member Civic Hall of Fame commission, said.

The inductees were chosen from among 231 people nominated by the public the last three years. To be eligible, nominees had to have died before Aug. 31, 1998.

“I've enjoyed this more than any other public activity I've been involved in. It gives you a chance to learn who the movers and shakers in Toledo were,” Mr. Nicholson said. “The cooperation and dedication of some of these people for the Toledo community is just absolutely phenomenal to behold.”

Mr. Finkbeiner established the hall of fame in 1998.

The new members are:

  • Mr. Owens (1859-1923), whose invention of a bottle-making machine revolutionized the glass industry in Toledo and the world.

    He came to Toledo in 1888 as a glass blower at Edward Drummond Libbey's glass company, after having shut down Mr. Libbey's glass works in East Cambridge, Mass., as a union leader. He became a superintendent of Mr. Libbey's Toledo plant and, in 1903, invented the machine that produced uniform bottles, substituting vacuum and air pressure for the lung power of glassblowers. Mr. Libbey provided the financing.

    Successor companies became O-I, OC, and the former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co.

  • Mr. Boeschenstein (1896-1976), who arrived in Toledo in 1929 because his employer, Illinois Glass Co., had merged with Owens Bottle Co. He became O-I vice president and general manager.

    When O-I and Corning Glass Works founded Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. in 1938, he became the first president and, later, chairman. Two decades later, a prominent business magazine named him one of the country's 50 foremost business leaders.

    He served in the administrations of six presidents, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, and was vice president for operations of the War Production Board during World War II. Mr. Boeschenstein funded the building of the Toledo Museum of Art's two-story glass galleries and was a president of the museum.

  • Mr. Patterson (1881-1956) spent 45 of his 50 years in newspapers at The Blade and developed an international reputation through his many trips abroad. Renowned as a public speaker, he was “Mr. Blade” in much of his own country, and “Mr. Toledo” throughout the world.

    His column, “The Way of the World,” was widely read, and his autobiography, I Like People, was published by Random House. He was decorated with the Order of Isabella in 1934 by the Spanish government. He covered the coronations of two British monarchs - George VI and Elizabeth II. In 1938, Mr. Patterson was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit from the Polish government.

    Mr. Patterson was a past president of the Toledo YMCA and a member of the international board of the YMCA. He was twice president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

    The Toledo Public Schools in 1951 named an elementary school for him, now known as Grove Patterson Academy.

  • Sylvanus P. Jermain (1859-1935), who was known as the “father of public golf in America.”

    When, in 1898, he established a public golf course in Ottawa Park, it was the first public course in the United States. He helped develop several other courses, including those at Bay View Park and Jermain Park, named in his honor.

    A treasurer of the former Woolson Spice Co., he headed the city park board and was city welfare director. His friends included golfer Bobby Jones and boxer Jack Dempsey.

  • Eleanor Kahle (1916-1995), who was elected at 71 to the first of four terms on city council and who was a leader in senior citizens issues.

    Mrs. Kahle, chosen vice mayor by her council colleagues in 1991, had been the first lay pastoral associate in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo. She helped form the West Toledo Senior Center, later named after her, and was executive director there for 14 years.

    Long a champion of the poor and elderly, she served in 1983 as a special assistant on senior citizen issues to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).

  • Jules D. Lippmann (1899-1974), who rose through the ranks of Textileather Corp. to become president.

    He had an extensive record of civic involvement. He served on the boards of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, the University of Toledo, and the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the boards of Toledo Edison, the former Toledo Trust Co., and the former Lucas County State Bank.

  • Melvin Pelfrey, (1930-1989) a longtime Toledo labor and civic leader.

    He became head of District 2 of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association at 26 and held the position at his death. Under his leadership, the union opened a riverfront headquarters at One Maritime Plaza, since named in his honor.

    He was a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board and was a trustee of the Medical College of Ohio. He was a member of the Labor-Management-Citizens Committee and testified about Great Lakes matters before congressional committees.

  • Liz Pierson (1931-1998), who founded one of the nation's largest Block Watch programs.

    Mrs. Pierson often worked 60 hours a week in her volunteer position, making sure neighborhoods received proper police and fire protection. Her efforts to train Block Watch groups were widely heralded. The program had more than 100,000 members at her death.

    She won the praise of former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and received a neighborhood leadership award from the Ohio attorney general's office.



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