Six inducted into Historical Society Hall of Honor

By Sydney L. Murray

July 8, 2014

Six people were inducted into the Preble County Historical Society’s Sara Swartsell Hall of Honor on Sunday, July 6.

The project is a collaborative effort of the PCHS and The Register-Herald.

Silas Dooley, Sr., was the first inductee. Dooley live from 1786-1877 and was the first recorded settler in Gasper Township. Dooley and his wife Johanna had seven children. Dooley was a farmer and his homestead is still operated by his family more than 200 years after it was founded.

Dorothy Kiracofe was the second inductee. Kiracofe lived from 1926-2005 and was one of 10 children. Kiracofe worked at Mrs. Wagner’s Kitchen and became a skilled baker and cook. She served on the Preble County Pork Festival Board for more than 25 years and always prepared a pie and cake for the Festival Bake-off. Kiracofe and her husband, Roy, represented the Eaton Grange and Preble County Grange for more than 50 years. She also volunteered with the Preble County Library’s Literacy Program, was a 4-H leader for more than 25 years and was Eaton High School Band President.

Alfred Horatio Upham, who lived from 1877-1945, was the third inductee. Upham spent his childhood in Preble County and later attended Miami University where he was awarded the Bishop Latin Prize, a Phi Beta Kappa Key and graduated first in his class. Upham was also the editor-in-chief of the Miami student newspaper and a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Upham received both his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Miami. He later attended Harvard and Columbia universities. He also taught at Bryn Mawr College. He became the head of Miami’s English Department in 1907, President of the University of Idaho in 1920 and President of Miami in 1928, serving until 1945. Upham also wrote Miami’s Alma Mater, “Old Miami.”

Martha Ritzert Dye, who lived from 1930-1999, was the fourth inductee. Ritzert was Born in Columbus and was orphaned in 1938. She graduated from Julienne High School in Dayton and later from Miami University. She also studied Ceramics at The Ohio State University. Ritzert became a classical pianist and also worked as a juvenile counselor and probation officer for adolescent girls in the Preble County Court system. Ritzert was a founding member of the Visitation Catholic Church of Eaton and the Eaton Area Arts Council. She was also a member of the Richmond Heritage Club and the Eaton Current Events Club. She was also a founder of the Preble County Historical Society.

Jo Ann and William Lange, who lived from 1927-2010 and 1925-2012, respectively, were the final inductees. Jo Ann Lange was involved in her church for much of her life. She graduated from Jefferson High School and worked at the International Harvester Company in Richmond. She joined the New Paris chapter of the Delta Theta Tau Sorority, a service organization, and remained a member until her death. Jo Ann and William Lange both worked with the Preble County Pork Festival and began the Pork Haus Short Order and led it for 35 years. She also worked for the Preble County Democratic Party and the Preble County Board of Elections. She was involved with Preble County 4-H and was a member of the Preble County Farm Bureau and Preble County Historical Society.

William Lange lived in Preble County his entire life. He was a lifelong member of the Salem Lutheran Church in West Alexandria and served as treasurer and a council member there. He was the Twin Township Clerk for the more than 30 years. He also served as treasurer for the Twin Valley South Alumni Association. William Lange was a farmer and served on the Board of Directors for the Preble County Soil and Water Conservation Board. He was also an Advisory Council member and County Board Trustee for the Preble County Farm Bureau. He was also a member of the Preble County Democratic Party Central Committee for more than 20 years and worked as a poll worker for more than 40 years.

Plaques marked with red, white and blue balloons were also dedicated to those who were inducted in 2013. 2013 inductees were Cyrena Van Gordon, Lucile Petry Leone, Ione Sell Hiestand and Marian and James Mitchell.

“We have some great people that have been inducted so far,” Arnett said.”These are remarkable people.”