Hall of Honor nominations sought

By Jean Bussell - For PCHS

EATON — This article is the fourth in our series related to the Sara Swartsel Hall of Honor, sponsored by the Preble County Historical Society and The Register-Herald. Our co-sponsorship recognizes the natural partnership of the two organizations in recording the history of Preble County every day. This annual process provides each entity with many opportunities to collaborate publicly on the project in ways that promote the value of each entity to the residents and businesses of the county. The Hall of Honor was established in 2011 in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Preble County Historical Society.

In 2020 the Hall of Honor will induct its tenth membership class. Inductees must be deceased and have lived in Preble County at some point in their lives; further, they must meet one or more of the following requirements: have been outstanding in achievement in agriculture, arts, professions, politics, public service, education, or sports; or have a reputation that brings honor to the county, or personal commitment and service to the county; or had a lasting impact on the county.

You can make a nomination to the Hall of Honor by visiting the Preble County Historical Society’s web site at www.preblecountyhistoricalsociety.org and downloading an application to complete and submit. You also may email the Society at [email protected] or call the Society at 937-787-4256 and leave a message requesting a nomination form.

The deadline for submission for consideration for 2019 is Friday, May 1.

The induction ceremony will be held on Saturday September 26, 2020 during the Fall Harvest Festival at the Preble County Historical Society.

2013 Inductees included:

Cyrena Van Gordon, 1893-1964

Her life began in Camden where she sang in cantatas at the First Presbyterian Church and graduated from high school. Her voice and stage presence took her throughout the United States and abroad, and she rose to be prima donna of the Chicago Opera Company and the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York City over a 27-year career. She returned to her Ohio home to dedicate the Preble County Court House in 1918 and on many other celebratory occasions.

Ione Sell Hiestand, 1933-2012

Self-titled “professional volunteer,” Hiestand dedicated herself to serving the community including founding and leading the Friends of the Eaton Library, authoring and editing numerous publications of the Preble County Historical Society including the 700-page 1992 history entitled Preble County, Ohio, initiating and promoting the arts including music performances and graphics arts at the Preble County Art Association, and writing about and enhancing the architecture of downtown Eaton.

Lucile Petry Leone, 1902-1999

Born near “Frog Heaven School” in Monroe Township, Leone’s nursing educator career led her to the US Public Health Service during World War II where she created the Cadet Nurse Corps Program and rose to the rank of Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Nurse Officer, a rank equivalent to Admiral. Her philosophy was that nurses nurse the whole patient. She received distinguished service awards and honorary degrees from organizations across the country for her service to nurse education.

Marian M. Mitchell, 1920-2010 & James W. Mitchell, 1916-2012

Together the Mitchells helped found the Preble County Historical Society and the Preble County Pork Festival and served the Eaton Presbyterian Church. Marian led the District Library Board, the Girl Scouts, and planted thousands of daffodils and blue bells at Fort St. Clair Park. Jim nurtured an acorn from the Whispering Oak into a seedling and was instrumental in saving and moving both the Lewisburg Log House to PCHS and the Roberts Covered Bridge to Eaton.


By Jean Bussell