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McConagha - David Leigh
Oldham - Paul James
Robinson - Jerry Wallace
Schenk & Merringer
Winters - Jeannine
Yount - Rebecca Way Tobin
I recently read that David (Dave) McConagha passed away in Maryland. He was one of Reynoldsburg’s proud U.S. Naval veterans. Dave was born in Columbus to Ralph and Martha McConagha. He graduated from RHS in 1959 where he played on the varsity basketball team. Dave was the class secretary and voted “Most Studious” his senior year. Dave’s Reynolian caption read: “He’s smart as a whip, yet not a square, when you want him to help he’s always there, ambition is to be successful, basketball, favorite celebrity is Yogi Bear, 5 or 6 year-old Chryslers, Honor Society.”
In the “Letter from the Future, May 30, 1969”, a yearbook feature where a classmate wrote a fantasy letter from 10 years in the future, Judy Molnar wrote this about Dave: “At the reunion dinner table we began to talk about the lead Russia has in their space travel research. Dave McConagha was the principal speaker, for he is quite an expert on that subject. He is working at Cape Canaveral as an engineer. At the present time he is working on the intercontinental ballistic missile. We all agreed that with Dave on the job, Russia’s going to have a tough fight to stay ahead.”
Dave married Jeanette Elena Myers (RHS 1960) in August, 1962 while he was working a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from The Ohio State University. Dave attended Muskingham College before he transferred to OSU. Jeanette was a varsity cheerleader at RHS. The caption in the 1960 Reynolian for Jeannette read: “Where she gets her energy, no one knows, she’s an expert at dropping pianos on toes, ambition to be an OSU cheerleader, shrimp cocktail, water skiing, 9,999.”
In a fictitious paper called “The Future Times” section of the yearbook dated October 30, 1980 which foretold where the RHS class of 1960 would be in 20 years at a 1980 homecoming. Jeannette’s “future” was written as: “The festivities began when Miss Jeannette Myers of the Metropolitan Opera sang the Star-Spangled Banner.” In Jeannette’s “Last Will and Testament of the Class of 1960” Jeannette wrote: “I, Jeannette Myers, bequeath my ability to move pianos to anyone who’s foolish enough to try.” Jeannette went on to become a nurse and has sung with an International award winning Sweet Adelines chorus for many years.
Dave and Jeannette had four children: Heather (McConagha) MacNaughton (husband, Deacon), Pat McConagha (wife, Kay), Deidre (McConagha) Austen (husband, Ed), and Marty McConagha (wife, Shannon). They also have eight grandchildren. Dave was the brother of Linda Kelly (husband, Lew), Nancy Tishkoff (husband, Stuart) and Susan Donaldson (husband, Lynn).
According to Dave’s obituary: “In 1964, David embarked on a 27-year naval career with more than 25 years of flight experience with the A-3B and EA-6B aircraft. His career included teaching mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School at the Naval Training Center in Bainbridge and flight training in Pensacola, FL and NAS Whidbey in Washington State. As a young navigator, David flew photographic reconnaissance and combat missions with VAP 61 in Vietnam from 1967 to 1969. David later served as a Naval ROTC instructor at Dartmouth College while earning a Master’s degree in Operations Research/Systems Analysis. David’s career continued with stations at NAS Norfolk with the electronic warfare squadron VAQ 138 and commanding officer of VAQ 132. His squadron’s deployments included tours on the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his tenure at NAS Whidbey, David attended and graduated from the Naval War College in Newport, RI.
“In 1983, David was transferred to the Pentagon where he held successive positions in the offices of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Director for Operations, Joint Staff. David was directly involved with policy, requirements, and operational control of U.S. military forces. Upon retirement from the Navy in 1991, David continued to serve our country as the Director, Office of Weapons Surety, for the U.S. Department of Energy. His responsibilities included nuclear weapons safety, security, and coordination with the Department of Defense. In the international arena, David contributed to both the North Atlantic Treaty Organization nuclear weapons safety and security programs, and cooperative surety efforts with the United Kingdom. He traveled frequently to the republics of the former Soviet Union to assist in the safe, secure dismantlement of their nuclear weapons. David retired from the Department of Energy in 1997.
“David was a member of the VFW Fleet Reserve Association, Military Officers Association, and a lifetime member of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Along with other commendations, he was awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal (with gold star), multiple Navy Air Medals and Strike/Flight Awards, Navy Unit Commendation (with one bronze star), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with one silver star), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (with one bronze star), Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation (with one bronze star), and the Meritorious Service Medal.
“David served several tenures as Senior Warden at Grace Episcopal Church in Brunswick, MD. In retirement, David became an active member of the American Legion, Post 166 in Ocean City, MD. David was a long-time member of the Barbershop Harmony Society, and was recognized as Barbershopper-of-the-Year when singing with the Catoctones in Frederick, MD. He later spent countless happy hours rehearsing and performing with The Chorus of the Chesapeake and singing baritone in several quartets. David’s retirement afforded him time to boat on the Susquehanna River, volunteer at the USNTC Museum in Bainbridge, MD, and visit Ireland to explore first-hand the genealogy he had spent so much time researching. David also was an avid attendee at sports and school events for his grandchildren. Some of David’s favorite days were filled with Ocean City trips in his convertible, listening to Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline, with his dog, Eli, by his side.
“A service was held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 303 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD on March 30, 2019.’ “
It seems like the class futures in the Reynolians of both Dave and Jeannette were pretty accurate. Jeannette continues to sing and Dave did have something to do with Russia and security. Sometimes our former classmates make predictions we never would imagine to come true.
The Oldham family are among some of the first settlers in Reynoldsburg and Truro Township. Paul and Tammi are respected Lifetime Members of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society. Paul’s parents are also members of RTHS and we want to offer our deepest condolences to the entire family. – Mary Turner Stoots, President, RTHS
Paul James Oldham, age 46, of Pickerington, passed away Friday April 17, 2020. He was born in Columbus and was a longtime resident of Pickerington. He was the Vice-President of the Violet Meadows Homeowners Association and a volunteer with the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office Community Watch Program. Paul loved to travel, boating and most of all spending time with his family. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 22 years, most recently managing his own team in Columbus.
Paul was preceded in death by his father Paul M. Oldham and two sisters. He is survived by the love of his life, his wife of 23+ years Tammi; sons Andrew (Payton) Oldham and Brady Oldham; parents Erik and Ina Turner; mother and father-in-law Richard and Deborah Fetty; sisters Eva (Brian) Simpson and Anne (Travis) Shreffler; brother Owen (Brooke) Turner; brother-in-law Clint (Kristie) Fetty; seventeen nieces and nephews: Bethany, James, Jude, Quinn, Lucy, Olivia, Eli, Alise, Isabel, Emma, Umi, Tyson, Colton, Molly, Weston and Kason; numerous family and friends.
Paul’s family received friends Saturday May 2, 2020 at Cotner Funeral Home 7369 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg. His funeral service was held privately for family members only on Sunday, May 3, 2020.
Jerry Wallace Robinson was born in Chapmanville, West Virginia on June 18, 1938 and died on October 10, 2019. Jerry Robinson was a loving parent, husband, grandparent, friend, coach and teacher whose sense of humor, wit and intelligence will be greatly missed. He was preceded in death by his parents Lucille (Barker) and Ted Robinson.
Jerry graduated from Chapmanville High School in 1955, played football and was a member of the state championship golf team. His siblings Dick (Sylvia) and Keith (Gloria) preceded Jerry in death but he is survived by his brother Bill. Jerry graduated from Marshall University with his AB in Education and later earned a Masters Degree. He married Ann Treacy Robinson in 1964 in Huntington, West Virginia. They had two children David (Julie) and Treacy (Jim) Cox and three grandchildren: Maria and Jamie Cox and Hugh Robinson.
Jerry taught social studies at Chapmanville High School and Lake Weir, Florida but spent most of his professional career at Reynoldsburg High School where he taught various social studies classes from 1964-1986 and was the Athletic Director from 1986-1998. Jerry’s lifetime personal passion was golf which he learned as a caddy growing up, played at Marshall University, and coached at Reynoldsburg High School from 1964-2002 winning 2 Ohio Capital Conference championships and leading six individuals and one team to the Ohio State High School Championship Tournament. He was named to the Reynoldsburg Sports Hall of Fame, Reynoldsburg Coach of the Year and Ohio High School Golf Coach’s Hall of Fame.
Many thanks for all the caring help given to Jerry and his family by the Ohio Health Hospice, his wonderful aides, nurses and doctors, and family and friends who provided him with so much support these last two years. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Ohio Health Hospice or the Jason Murphy Memorial Scholarship Fund. As Jerry requested there will be no funeral services.
Kids growing up in the Burg often played in Blacklick Creek or French Run Creek. We waded there in the summer, skated in winter, and caught sunfish, minnows and crawdads whenever we could. No one particularly worried about us hanging around the creek. It was what kids did. We never thought about anyone drowning.
Both creeks often flooded and many basements on Lancaster Avenue were full of water. We knew the threat of rushing waters and tried to stay away from the creeks during high water events.
I grew up on Lancaster Avenue. On June 22, 1956, a flood from French Run and Blacklick Creeks rose and collapsed our basement wall and washed the sod from Budd Oldham’s front yard. I rode in a rowboat up to my grandparents’ house at 1221 Lancaster Avenue as our house filled with water. The event instilled a healthy respect for rushing water and what disasters could happen even on peaceful Blacklick Creek. Ironically, a tragedy would occur in 1969 that caused death to visit someone at 1247 Lancaster.
On June 23, 1969 Blacklick Creek claimed the lives of two men who were intent on saving three little boys who were caught in the rapidly flowing waters.
Reporter Joe Gillette of the Columbus Citizen-Journal wrote:
“A Little League baseball coach and a helpful neighbor drowned Monday night in rain-swollen Blacklick Creek in Reynoldsburg moments after saving the life of a 10-year-old boy who had fallen in the creek.
“The victims were identified as William (Bo) Joseph Merringer, 1247 Lancaster Avenue and Harold G. Schenk, 39, of 6564 Red Fox Road. Both were pronounced dead at the scene after being pulled from the water by other rescuers and the Reynoldsburg Fire Department.
“A third man, who also helped rescue the boy, was pulled unconscious from the water and revived. He was identified as David T. White, Sr., 45, of 1554 Marvin Avenue and reported in satisfactory condition at Lincoln Memorial Hospital.
“The rescued youth was Eric Ashton, 10, of 1631 Lucks Road. The incident occurred about 600 yards behind the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building at 7232 East Main Street and adjacent to a Little League baseball field.
“Young Ashton told police he was walking along the west side of the creek with three other youths when one of the boys pushed him into the water.
“Merringer, whose home borders the east side of the creek, ran to the rescue after hearing the boys’ cries for help.
“Schenk and White, whose Little League team was playing in the nearby field, joined the scene moments later and saw the two struggling in the water.
“They too went into the water and the three men somehow got the boy to shore before being pulled under water by the strong undertow.
“An eyewitness, Tim Pfautsch, 17, of 7099 Ellen Ct., a worker for the Reynoldsburg Recreation Department, said he heard women and children screaming and ran to the rescue.
“ ‘I started to walk across the dam along the upper edge. About a third of the way across, I fell in and an unidentified man pulled me to the side and saved my life.’ “
On the front page of the June 24, 1969, edition of the Little Weekly more information appeared:
“… According to Reynoldsburg Police, three Thompson boys, Donald and Ronald age 11 and David, age 9 of 1029 Pleasant Drive, and Eric Ashton, 10, of 1631 Lucks Road, had gone to Blacklick Creek above the dam with the intention of going wading. David slipped and pushed Eric into the water, the other boys joined him in the water and all four began wading downstream toward the dam where Eric and Ronald both slipped and got into trouble.
“Donald’s call for help was answered by Mr. Merringer who entered the water and picked up Donald and threw him to the bank so he could get out.
“Donald pulled Ronald out by the hand, and then got a stick for Eric to grasp and pulled him free of the water.
“During that time Merringer had become trapped in the dam’s undercurrent and Mr. Schenk entered the water to assist him.
Both men were unable to free themselves from the undercurrent.
“Dan Hitchings, 29, 1800 Steckel Road, and Tim Pfautsch, 17, 7099 Ellen Court both entered the water to assist the men. But Pfautsch got into trouble and was pulled to safety and Hitchings could not get to the men.
“David White, Sr., 1554 Marvin Drive, also attempted to help the men but was caught in the undercurrent. The current finally released Merringer, Schenk and White and they began to float downstream.
“Hitchings, Pfautsch, the Truro Township Emergency Squad, and other bystanders pulled the three to shore, but only White responded to first aid. Merringer and Schenk were both pronounced dead at the scene by John P. King, M.D.
“The bodies of both victims were taken to Rutherford Funeral Home. Merringer is survived by his wife, Mary Margaret; a daughter, Judith, 5; two sons, Joseph 10 and David, 2; his parents Mr. and Mrs. James Merringer of 1216 Lancaster Avenue; four sisters and two brothers. Schenk is survived by his wife, Patricia; two sons, Steve and John; and two daughters, Joan and Judy.”
The Columbus Dispatch ran an article entitled Dead Man’s Brother Prevented 3rd Death:
“Cool-headed first aid by one drowning victim’s younger brother may have kept Monday’s double drowning from becoming a triple tragedy.
“Witnesses said while William (Bo) Merringer, 29, lay dead on one side of the creek, his brother, John, 24, was administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to David White, 45, on the other side.
“White, the only one of three rescuers to survive a plunge into the creek, remained in good condition Wednesday at Lincoln Memorial Hospital“ ‘There is no question in my mind,’ said funeral owner, Pete Rutherford, ‘that White would never have made it if it weren’t for Johnny.’
“The younger Merringer, a Reynoldsburg volunteer fireman, was one of the first on the drowning scene north of the city’s municipal building.
“Rutherford said Merringer began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on White as soon as he was dragged unconscious from the creek.
“ ‘He called across the creek as he was working and asked how his brother was,’ Rutherford said. ‘What could they do, but tell him he was all right?’
“Not until Rutherford had taken White to the hospital in the funeral home’s ambulance did John learn his brother was dead.
“Harold G. Schenk, 39, also drowned in the successful effort to save a 10-year-old boy who fell or was pushed into the creek while playing along the bank.
“Truro Township trustees and Reynoldsburg Jaycees are reportedly considering a special lifesaving award for John.
“But John, who lives with his wife and two children at 1155 Gibson Drive, Reynoldsburg, first must attend another ceremony – his brother’s funeral at 10 a.m. Friday at St. Pius Church.
“The service for Schenk will be at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Rutherford Funeral Home, 7369 East Main Street.”
According to John Merringer, Bo’s brother:
“While we were driving on French Run Drive, a fire alarm sounded for a squad run. I pulled over at the footbridge by the firehouse. Mary, my wife, says not to go. We have the kids in the car. The fire alarm goes off again for a fire run. I tell Mary to take the kids to her mom’s and I’ll come and get them.
“Chief John Knight meets Larry Blake, Jim West, and myself at the squad. He says that kids are in trouble in the creek behind the Merringers' on Lancaster Avenue We reach the scene and get out. Larry has the rope. Jim and Larry head down and I get the resuscitator. When reaching the dam, Larry was starting to tie the rope around his waist. I grabbed it telling him that I know he can’t swim. He gives me the rope.
I start to tie off, but I see Dave White go under at the dam and I know where he’s going to come up. So, I jump in that area and I was right, he was right next to me. With one pull, I pulled him from the current or back tow. I pulled him up to me and started CPR right in the middle of the creek. Then I dragged him to the far bank, toward the ball fields, where Pete Rutherford met me. He thought Dave was gone, but I said no, he isn’t while I continued CPR. His pupils started to react. Pete said they needed me on the other side, I saw someone fifteen feet from there, but several people were working on him (Bo). I went back across the creek where Mr. Harold G. Schenk was located with people helping him. They gave me a change on CPR for him, but we couldn’t save him.
“On a personal note, Pete Rutherford told me that on the way to Lincoln Memorial Hospital down Livingston Avenue every time he hit a bump in the road, Dave would spit out water. So, when Pete saw a bump he hit it. I wanted everyone to know about this great man and about the good friends of Truro Township Fire Department.
“Heroes of June 23, 1969: Larry Blake, Jim West, John Knight, Pete Rutherford, Dan Hitchings, Tim Pfautsch, and Dave White. (Dan and Tim had to be the ones who pulled Bo and Harold out of the water.)
“The words of Jesus Christ: ‘This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends.’
“God Bless – John C. Merringer”
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission awarded five medals for the actions that day: Dave White, Dan Hitchings, and Tim Pfautsch were each recognized for their heroism. William Merringer and Harold Schenk were awarded for their bravery posthumously:
“William J. Merringer saved Donald G. Thompson, and died attempting to save Ronald D. Thompson and Eric T. Ashton respectively, from drowning, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, June 23, 1969. Donald, 11, Ronald, 11, and Eric, 10, called for help from turbulent water below a dam in a creek. Merringer, 29, plasterer, ran to the creek, entered the deep water, and swam to Donald, who was nearest the bank. After towing Donald to safety, Merringer started toward Ronald and Eric, who were farther from the bank. He became caught in a reverse current and began spinning head over heels. Donald ran downstream to shallow water and waded to the opposite bank, where a pile of cement debris extended into the creek. Ronald and Eric managed to move to near the debris; and Donald aided them from the water. Merringer later was thrown free of the reverse current and, inert, floated into shallow water. Others removed him, but he could not be revived.
“Harold G. Schenk died attempting to save William J. Merringer from drowning, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, June 23, 1969. Merringer, 29, plasterer, who had entered turbulent water below a dam in a creek to aid three boys, became caught in a reverse current and began spinning head over heels in the deep water. Schenk, 39, mechanical engineer, entered the creek from the opposite bank, swam to near Merringer, and attempted to grasp him. He was unable to do so because of the somersaulting of Merringer's body. Schenk then also became caught in the reverse current and was spun head over heels. Both Merringer and Schenk later were thrown free of the turbulence and, inert, floated into shallow water. Others removed them, but they could not be revived.”
Another article, source unidentified, was titled “Greater Love Hath No Man”:
“Two Reynoldsburg men made the supreme sacrifice Monday evening that others might live. Both victims undoubtedly knew they were in danger when they decided to help but they didn’t question, they acted. Of such stuff heroes are made. The community as a whole joins in offering condolence to the families of the two. Their grief is great. But they may find some solace in the knowledge that William Merringer and Harold Schenk acted from their deepest feelings. Their sacrifice is proof of the basic goodness of man.”
On June 23, 1969, two families in Reynoldsburg experienced a life-changing event. Harold Schenk and Bo Merringer were both family men whose decision to save several children in peril reflected their selfless love of others.
On June 23, 2019, the families and friends of Harold Schenk and Bo Merringer gathered at JFK Park in the gazebo to celebrate the lives of these two heroes.
Jeannine Anna Winters, age 89, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 06, 2019 surrounded by her loving family.
She was the fourth of six children born on March 26, 1930 in Whitehall, Ohio. She is a 1949 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School; Lifetime member of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society; active member of the Spirit & Truth Fellowship Church; Senior Member of the Whitehall Historical Society; and was a dedicated yearly attendee of the Reynoldsburg Alumni Association Banquets.
Jeannine spent decades volunteering for community organizations and working in the service industry. She worked for over twenty years at the Wigwam and is remembered fondly by all the people whose lives were touched by her vibrant personality.
She was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, sister-in-law and mother-in-law. She will be deeply missed by those left behind. Jeannine is proceeded in death by her parents, Augustus Mathew Turner and Margaretha Friedericha (Kuhn) Turner; siblings Wanda (Laylon) Hanvey, Donna (Harvey ‘Jim’) Gordon, Thomas (Linda) Turner and James (Polly) Turner.
She is survived by her loving husband for the last sixty-nine years, John ‘Jack’ Winters, Sr.; dedicated son, John (Marcy) Winters, Jr., and loving daughter, Sandra ‘Sandy’ (Kevin ‘KB’) Bickham; brother, Jack Turner of Ocklawaha, FL; grandchildren, Evan Winters of Camp Lejeune, NC, Kristopher Bickham of Denton, TX, Matthew (Andra) Bickham of Allen TX, and Emily Bickham of Allen, TX; Great-Granddaughter, Aubrey Medina; numerous nieces & nephews, and her lifetime friends Ivalee Basinger, Pat Carson, and Marion Peterson.
Her family received friends on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 4pm to 7pm at the Cotner Funeral Home, 7369 E. Main St. Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 where her funeral service was held on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 10:00am with Pastor Brent Harris officiating. Interment at Glen Rest Memorial Estates following the service.
Memorial donations in her memory may be made to the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society, PO Box 144, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068, or the Spirit and Truth Fellowship Church, 11020 Alspach Rd NW, Canal Winchester, Ohio 43110.
Memorial messages may be sent to her family by visiting www.cotnerfuneralhome.com.
Jeannine Winters was an extremely active member of RTHS . She, along with her husband, Jack, attended every function. She always brought homemade baked goods that we all looked forward to.
She was passionate about RTHS and dedicated to helping every event become a success.
Jeannine was a wonderful example to all of our members, and she was also one of my favorite aunts. She introduced my parents to each other in 1948, and it is entirely her fault that I am here today and part of this Society.
I miss you with all my heart Aunt Nene!
~ Mary Turner Stoots 2018-2020 President, Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society
May 23, 2019 was a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!" That's not an original thought for me. I borrowed it from author Judith Viorst. That was the day that we alI received the news that our beloved friend, Rebecca (Tobin) Yount, had passed away quietly and quite suddenly in her sleep.
My first reaction was stunned disbelief. I literally couldn't accept it as real. I've sent out dozens of sympathy cards and attended many funerals and memorials in the last year. But none of them hit me quite as hard as this one did. Maybe it was because Becky was a contemporary - someone in my age group. But I think it was more than that. She had become a dear friend over the last several years, and I suspect that she will be in my thoughts frequently.
How did we originally reconnect after decades? It started on a Website called "You know you're from Reynoldsburg when ....." I'm quite sure many of you reading this are quite familiar with it. And if you're not, you should definitely check it out. It's full of reminiscences from "old timers" who grew up in Reynoldsburg, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. Responses frequently began with phrases like "I surely do remember that..." or "Oh, my, I haven't thought of that in years!" You get the picture!!
That's where I first saw the name Rebecca Yount. She had many responses that were funny, insightful, thought-provoking, etc., and I loved reading them (along with everyone else's as well). We chatted back and forth many times, and had great conversations. Finally one day, I made a comment to her that I had just sent her a "private message (PM)." Most of you know that means only Rebecca and I could see it and chat. In it, I told her I loved chatting with her about anything and everything, but "I can't quite place you, Rebecca. What year did you graduate and what was your maiden name?" I could see she was responding when all of a sudden, it hit me like a bolt of lightning! While she was still responding, I went and typed again, "Are you Rebecca Tobin?" Meanwhile she had been typing that she hadn't been able to place me either, and was asking the same questions of me! In school, I had been known as Wanda - not Wendy so that was probably the confusion. Anyway, we chatted privately that day for nearly an hour! We shared stories and re-connected in a big way.
We knew Rebecca Yount as “Becky Tobin”. Her parents were Dallas R. and Nelle McCoy Tobin. Nelle was an elementary school teacher in Reynoldsburg and Dallas was an editor/journalist for UPI as well as a writer for the Columbus Dispatch. Becky’s brother, Don G. (Toby), graduated from RHS in 1954 and her sister, Jane, graduated in 1957. Becky graduated from RHS in 1962 where she was an honor student and a member of the marching band.
One of the first stories I shared with her was that I always remembered her as being the tiny, pretty girl with the below the waist pony-tail with always a curl at the end and big eyes. And that I had had a good friend in her class (1962) named Judy Pierson who I saw her with a lot in the halls. Judy and I had become friends when we sat together in a big study hall, and she was so much fun.
Becky agreed, and told me one of her favorite memories of Judy was that she had once tried to teach Becky and another girl to do the hula. Becky said she wasn't very good at it - the hula, that is. I told Becky I had just re-connected with Judy a couple of years before that, and had her contact information. After checking with Judy first for permission, I gave them each other’s info. They were both tickled to be able to "talk" again after so many decades. It was a joy to re-connect with Judy and with Becky, but to be able to help the two of them to re-connect as well was very satisfying.
We went on over the next weeks and months and years to discover SO many similar likes and dislikes and parallel experiences. We both loved to read, and loved nothing better than the look and smell and feel of a real book in our hands! And hanging out in libraries was our idea of heaven! How funny then for Becky to find out that my first job was working at the brand new Reynoldsburg Library when it first opened in 1964. And how funny for me to find out that Becky was a published author! And of mysteries - my very favorite genre! I introduced her to one of my favorites - Rex Stout's books about private detective, Nero Wolfe and his assistant Archie Goodwin. And Becky introduced to her own mysteries about a Scotland Yard detective named Michael "Mick" Chandra. And her books were available only as eBooks!
As I began to read her books, I saw a lot of Rebecca (Tobin) Yount in her heroine, Jessica Beaumont. Jessica was an American professional concert pianist, who moved to England to try to get over a tragedy in her life. Becky had majored in music at Capital University with the desire to become a concert pianist. Jessica loved to cook and many chapters show her cooking meals for friends and trying out English recipes that are new to her.
Becky and David loved going to England and staying several months at a time, and she also loved trying new recipes unique to England. She even started a Website called "Crime and Cottage Pie." It's worth checking out to learn more about Becky.
You should also (if you haven't already) read Becky's books. The first is "A murder in C minor." At the end of my article is a list of her books in the order they were written, I believe. Also there is an article that Becky wrote herself about how she got started as an author called “The Quivering Pen: My First Time: My First Advocate”. Her husband, David has provided RTHS with a biography of her life and her careers.
One conversation we had started with Becky commenting about binge watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers musicals. I discovered she loved classic movies and musicals in particular. So that year I recorded about six Fred and Ginger musicals, and sent them to her for her birthday. They were quite a hit, and she sent me a thank you letter on pretty stationery, along with a story about how her mother taught her to always write thank you notes for gifts or for nice things people did for her.
Her mom went to Lazarus downtown and ordered Becky her own engraved stationery. When I wrote back, I told her I also had my own stationery. I bought mine myself and it also came from Lazarus - pale blue with "Words by Wendy" on each sheet and note card. Becky's response was "How Jeffersonian!!" Talking about Lazarus led to several conversations over time about going downtown to Lazarus, our favorite floors to shop and our restaurants of choice. My choice was The Colonial Room; Becky's was the Buckeye Room. Her Mom took her there when she was quite young, and Becky remembered they always dressed up and wore white gloves and made an occasion of it. I even told her about my first purchase with my first paycheck from the library. I went to the third floor, and paid $20.00 for a bathing suit! In 1964 dollars, that would be like paying $300.00 in today’s money.
Last year when she was facing going into the hospital because they had discovered a tumor in her abdomen, she mentioned on her site that she was anticipating a long time in rehab afterwards. So she said she'd better go to the library and stock up on books to read. I had duplicate copies of about 12 Nero Wolfe mysteries on hand. I packed them into a box, along with six or seven other books I had already read and enjoyed. I thought she might enjoy them, too. I sent them off to her, along with some more classic movie DVD's.
When her thank you letter came this time, she said, "When I opened your box, Wendy, you cannot believe how I sucked in my breath!! I was overwhelmed. Tears came to my eyes. I don't think I'll have to go to the library for a while!! I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends like you!!" She thanked me for 2 books in particular, "The Last Templar" because she said she had always been fascinated by the Templars. And "The History of the National Road in Ohio." That book brought her so many memories of her dad, who was an appraiser for the Columbus Office of the FHA.
During summer vacations, her dad often took her with him on his appraisal trips throughout the area. She said the memories of those trips and her dad were wonderful. She once asked him why the biggest, prettiest house in most small towns always seemed to be a funeral home!! And the movies brought memories of her mom. She said although most people knew her mom was an elementary school teacher in Reynoldsburg (many had her as a teacher, including my sister, Cheryl), what most people didn't know was that during summer vacation her mom worked as a cashier at Miles East Main Drive-in movie theatre. Because of that, Becky and her siblings got in free to see many movies every summer. Such fun! But she never expected to own many favorite movies, and get to watch whenever she was in the mood for a good old-fashioned movie!
We shared another thing in common, our children! Becky and I both married men who had children from a previous marriage that we adopted and loved as our own, and who filled our lives with great joy. Christina, Lisa, and Virginia, I'm sure you know how very much she loved you, and how proud she was of you. I never got to meet you, David, but I knew if Becky loved you, you must be a wonderful man. Our hearts go out to all of you as you try to figure out a way to have a meaningful life without her with you in the physical sense. We'll all keep her in our hearts, as you will keep her in yours.
Another frequent topic of conversation for us was genealogy. We both have been exploring our ancestral roots for many years. We both subscribed to Ancestry.com on our computers, and both had gotten DNA tests done from kits ordered from Ancestry.com. We both STRONGLY disagreed with our initial DNA analysis. A year or so later Ancestry revised their initial breakdown of percentages, and this time we were both pleased to see that the second breakdown more accurately represented what we each had found in our "paper trails." We both loved this hobby a lot, and loved talking about it. As a matter of fact, we both loved history in general, and our own in particular. That love of our shared Reynoldsburg history led me to ask her - to encourage her - to become a member of the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society. She did so, and told me she was so proud of her membership that she hung her membership certificate over her desk where she would see it every day. She was very proud of being a "corn-fed, down-home, small town girl." And she never forgot her roots!
I mentioned above that Rebecca never forgot her roots. I remember reading that the best thing you could give your children or your grandchildren was "Roots and Wings!!" Rebecca always had roots - deep roots, and now she has wings, too! God bless you, Rebecca! I'll miss you always, think of you often with love, and always be proud that we were friends. Not good-bye, Becky. I'll see you again on the other side.
Wendy (Wheatley) Raftery
Reynoldsburg High School Class of 1964
Obituary for REBECCA TOBIN YOUNT from her husband, David Yount
Rebecca Yount (born Rebecca Way Tobin on June 17, 1944 in Columbus, Ohio), was an American author, known for her series of crime novels featuring Scotland Yard inspector Michael ("Mick") Chandra, also a Facebook series on home cooking, entitled “Crime and Cottage Pie”, and historical novels set in England. She was the daughter of journalist Dallas R. Tobin, who later worked for the U.S. government, and teacher, Nelle McCoy.
Becky was educated at public schools in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, then Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, where she received a four-year proficiency award; then the graduate schools of Indiana, Binghamton, and New York Universities. While pursuing doctoral studies, she received her master's degree and was awarded a teaching assistantship in music at Binghamton.
Becky began music studies in conservatory at the age of eight, aiming at a career as a concert pianist. As an undergraduate, she had already published poetry and co-edited the campus poetry magazine. Later she wrote music and verse for voice: “Three Songs of Transition,” which was performed at Lincoln Center in New York.
Turning to research, she served as associate editor of the annual “Political Handbook of the World”, published by McGraw-Hill. Moving to Washington, D.C. she edited publications for The Society for Values in Higher Education, then became director of development for the Partners of the Americas, leading to a series of leadership roles for the Council of Chief State School Officers, whose members are responsible for the quality of public education across the U.S. and its territories.
In conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education and the Bureau of the Census, she created the very first comprehensive map of the nation's school boundaries. She also directed a nationwide program to invest private funds to strengthen America's public schools, soliciting grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enrich public education in a series of states and territories as disparate as Alaska and the Northern Mariana Islands. She lectured widely. Her model programs persuaded state legislators to increase public funding for public schools.
In the 1980s she drafted education legislation for the Congress that became public policy. She was personally honored by grants from the Exxon Education Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Her interest in public policy and governance can be traced to her leadership in the Girls State of Ohio, where she served in the governor's cabinet. In her writing life, she mentored young women in Afghanistan who aspired to be published internationally.
Becky married David Yount, a multiple award-winning author, journalist, and foundation president, in Washington, D.C. in 1978, adopting his three pre-adolescent daughters, who call her "Mom." For decades the Younts resided in a small lake-front home in Northern Virginia with three cats and a series of Scottish Terriers. While still raising the children, she began writing historical fiction set in England, where the family continued to live for part of every year.
Early on, when exchanging homes with an English couple in a small Essex village, she learned of the unsolved violent murder of a wealthy neighbor with his own kitchen cleaver. She resolved to solve the crime by way of her first novel, which introduced Anglo-Indian Mick Chandra, styled after a real Scotland Yard inspector who was a neighbor during yet another home exchange.
By 2018 her Mick Chandra series had expanded to six e-novels with more on tap, each awarded four to five stars by reviewers, including Amazon, Kindle Books, and Goodreads. Rebecca underwent successful open-heart surgery at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital in January 2010 and continued her writing undiminished until she died unexpectedly and without pain while sleeping at home on May 23, 2019. She had just completed her seventh Mick Chandra mystery, “The Mirror of Naples”, which was delivered to her publisher only a week later. – David Yount
ABOUT REBECCA YOUNT by Rebecca Yount
Who is Rebecca Yount? I frequently ask myself that question.
This much I know for certain: I hail from a literary family. My mother’s cousin, Julia Peterkin, was author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Scarlet Sister Mary”. Another cousin, Nella Braddy, edited most of Helen Keller’s books. Nella also wrote the first definitive biography of Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen’s beloved teacher.
For many years, my father was an editor/journalist for UPI, as well as a writer for the “Columbus Dispatch”. One of his first assignments with the “Dispatch” was to review burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee’s act at the Gaiety Theater. Mother was not amused.
With such a literary heritage, my parents would no more allow me to write sloppy prose than walk blindfolded into heavy traffic. So I suppose you could say that writing is in my blood.
Even though I studied music from the age of eight until twenty-one at the Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus with the intent of becoming a concert pianist, I never shook the writing bug. From an early age, I wrote stories, poetry, and even a novel about my beloved Springer Spaniel, Mac. When I wasn’t actively writing, I was making up stories in my brain, which rarely shut down.
After graduate school, I worked for a research center as associate editor for “The Political Handbook of the World”, a compendium of the world’s political systems. Afterwards, I moved to Washington D.C. where I found myself working at a series of grant-funded projects that included everything from advising members of Congress on education policy to working with the Inuit and Athabasca Indians in Alaska and the Blackfoot tribe in Montana to improve communication between state education agencies and their far-flung tribal villages. I wrote legislative language for Title V (Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act), and through a series of private grants, worked to reduce the dropout rate of children at risk of failure in schools.
Along the way there was a bad marriage, divorce, then a good marriage, plus three loving stepdaughters. And what became of my music and writing? Sadly, they both fell by the wayside while my husband, David, and I concentrated on our Washington careers and raised our three children.
Then came early retirement: me first, followed closely by David. Unlike many retirees who haven’t a clue what to do with all of that free time, we both knew we would return to the thing we both loved the most: writing. And so we write, in separate home offices in our little Hobbit house just outside of Washington D.C. While I hammer away at my crime novels, David continues to write and publish his books on religious faith and practice.
Finally came that fateful date in Essex, England, when I sat under a solitary tree in a fallow field and developed the plot for “A Death in C Minor”. After a highly diverse and scattered career, that late summer afternoon marked my true beginning.
MICK CHANDRA MYSTERY SERIES BOOKS by Rebecca Tobin Yount
Book 1 – “A Death in C Minor”, 2012
Book 2 – “The Erlking”, 2012
Book 3 – “The Ravenhoe Cauldron”, 2013
Book 4 – “The Oracle of Baal”, 2014
Book 5 – “When Half Spent Was the Night”, 2015
Book 6 – “The Mouldwarp Prophecy”, 2017
Book 7 - “The Mirror of Naples”, to be released sometime in 2019