Also featuring photos from our monthly supplement...


Spry - Lammi

Photo by Leon Chuck

Rachel Spry and Kurt Lammi were joined in holy matrimony by Rev. Gary W. Eichhorn on July 6th during the Sunday morning worship service at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Oakwood.  One lighthearted moment during the exchange of wedding vows was when a young parishioner momentarily commandeered the center of attention.  

Oakwood High School Distinguished Alumni Award
Eleanor Pickrel Petersen – a woman with a voice

Helen Pickrel Petersen was a woman with a voice. A voice big enough to speak for those unable to be heard themselves. As an advocate for women and minorities, Helen Pickrel Petersen worked tirelessly to create equality and inclusion for those lacking such opportunities as access to mortgages and loans, positions on boards and committees, and more.  Her leadership and service to the underrepresented in the Chicago community sets her apart from the rest, and is why she is one of four recipients of the Oakwood High School Distinguished Alumni Award.

Helen was born to a family of Democrats in Republican-dominated Oakwood and was the daughter of William Pickrel, who served as Ohio’s lieutenant governor. Helen has said it was her background that led her to fight the odds, even when they were largely against her.  

After graduating from Oakwood in 1937, Helen attended Denison University.  Upon graduation from college she then volunteered with the American Red Cross in Guadalcanal and Hawaii during World War II, afterwards settling in Kenwood, Illinois, where she would begin her career of making change for others.

As a young woman in a new neighborhood, she worked to support integration by organizing the Kenwood Real Estate committee, with groups of women that showed blacks and whites could live together. She helped start Hyde Park Federal Savings & Loan and served as for several years as vice president, helping African-Americans get mortgages and loans. She continued to be an advocate for others throughout her life, starting or leading groups such as Leadership Resources, which aimed to get African-Americans in positions of power on city boards and committees; Chicago Focus for Women: Black and White, whose activities included convincing Marshall Field’s to put black mannequins and models in shop windows and catalogs.

What made Ms. Pickrel Petersen so successful was her energy and relentlessness. She said, “Sometimes you have to be rude, there are things that just have to happen, you have to demand them,” remembered Sunny Fischer, who noted Ms. Petersen as her chief mentor in philanthropy.  Using the talents and resources she gained from her upbringing and environment, she helped impact change in her community outside of Oakwood’s borders.  Helen Pickrel Petersen passed away at the age of 88, after over 50 years as a Chicago activist.

 In a quote from her memorial service, Eleanor wrote: “I suppose that two results of this kind of a life are 1) the great awareness of the enormous inequality present in all areas of our national life, and 2) the importance and enrichment that knowing a wide variety of human beings has given to my life, and the feeling that somehow these two are closely connected. If we all could know the joy of a wide variety of people, we would not tolerate the wide variety of inequalities.”

Come celebrate the amazing life accomplishments of Helen Pickrel Petersen and three others at the Oakwood High School Distinguished Alumni Award ceremony on Aug. 16.  Beginning at 6 p.m., the ceremony will be held at Moraine Country Club.  

The cost to attend is $50, and tickets can be purchased by calling Rande Rinn Chapman, OHS Alumni Director at 298-8711, or sending an email to:

Robert Curry to chair 2008 United Way campaign

Robert M. Curry, a partner with the law firm Thompson Hine LLP, has been appointed chair of the 2008 United Way of the Greater Dayton Area campaign. Curry, partner-in-charge of Thompson Hine’s Dayton office and a member of its Real Estate practice group, served as chair of United Way’s Attorney Division during its 2005-2007 campaigns to promote giving by lawyers throughout the Dayton area. He also serves on the United Way board of directors.

“It takes a real leader to step up to this role during challenging economic times,” said United Way president Marc R. Levy. “Bob is that kind of leader, with the compassion and commitment to help ensure the campaign is a success.”

“United Way serves the most vulnerable members of our community – displaced workers, families threatened by foreclosure, children with inadequate pre-school and after-school alternatives, disabled persons and others with special needs,” said Curry. “When the economy goes down, the need for these services goes up. With that in mind, we will be asking our donors to maintain or increase their levels of giving if at all possible. That won’t be an easy message to sell, but it’s the right one.”

An Oakwood resident, Curry also serves on the boards of the Dayton Development Coalition and the Downtown Dayton Partnership and on the advisory council to the University of Dayton School of Law. He received his law degree from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Miami University. He is chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Real Property Section and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, the Dayton Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Stephens Insurance celebrates new move

Staff and guests of Stephens Insurance do ribbon cutting.

The Stephens Insurance Agency held a Ribbon Cutting and VIP Open House on Thursday, July 31st at their new location, 31 Park Avenue, across from the Oakwood Municipal Building. The agency was opened on June 1, 1981 in the 2600 Far Hills Building. William E. Stephens, founder and president, began the agency following sixteen years with the Swartzel Insurance Agency.  At the time of the opening he was joined by Pamela (Swartzel) Stephens, as vice-president.  In 1994 their son, Robert Stephens, joined the business, currently serving as sales manager.  All three are graduates of Oakwood High School and remain residents of Oakwood today.

The agency is a full-service insurance agency offering all lines of personal as well as commercial insurance. In addition the agency sells Life, Health, and Long Term Care Insurance.

“The move to this new street-front location is exactly what the community needs.  We are now visible to all and have easy access for all of our customers. Our staff prides ourselves on our personal service,” Bill Stephens said.

‘Talk of the Town’ seeks new recipes

As part of our Centennial Celebration, we will be adding an additional section to our “Talk of the Town” Cookbook.  Do you have a family recipe that’s been passed down for years and years?  Is there a dish that has been a tradition for generations?  Then share it with us and the rest of the community by being part of the Centennial Cookbook Addition.  The addition will fit in the back of the current Talk of the Town cookbook and can be purchased for a nominal fee.

If you have a recipe (or two!) that you would like to share, please send it along with a brief description with the age of or family tradition held with each recipe.

Entries can be e-mailed to: or sent in the mail to:

Oakwood Community Center
105 Patterson Road
Dayton, OH  45419

Entries must be received before 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31.

Singers wanted for Gem City Chorus

FREE group vocal lessons for women will begin on Sept. 2nd, sponsored by five-time International Gold Medalists, the Gem City Sweet Adelines Chorus. In this 6-week program, you will learn how to sing four-part, a capella (barbershop) harmony, and learn choreography, too.  Plus, those who complete all 6 weeks will get to perform on the Chorus’s big October show!  No obligation, no fee.  

Classes will be held on Tuesday nights, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Southminster Presbyterian Church, 7001 Far Hills Ave., Centerville, OH.  Class size is limited, so call (937) 433-1014 to reserve your spot today!

Master Gardener Volunteer program offered

Do you love gardening? Do you like to share information?  You could become an Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer. Master Gardener Volunteers are members of the local community who take an active interest in the care of lawns, trees, shrubs and gardens.  They are enthusiastic, willing to learn and share their knowledge with others. What sets OSU Extension Master Gardeners apart from other home gardeners and garden clubs is their special training in horticulture and willingness to educate our community. In exchange for their training, Master Gardener Volunteers contribute time to our community, representing Ohio State University Extension.

If accepted into the Master Gardener Volunteer program, participants will attend a local training course. The program offers a minimum of 50 hours instruction on horticulture topics including lawns, ornamental trees and shrubs, insect, disease and weed management; soils and plant nutrition; vegetable gardening; home fruit production; garden flowers and water conservation. A manual is included.  In the first year, 50 hours of volunteer service is required.

Individuals with an interest in both gardening and volunteer service are potential participants for the program.  No previous formal training is necessary.
Participants will become knowledgeable about a wide array of gardening subjects.  

The practical training is designed to increase your confidence and horticultural skills which enables you to assist the public with questions and problem solving garden concerns.

To obtain an application packet, contact the OSU Extension Montgomery County Office at (937) 224-9654 or send an e-mail request to The application deadline is November 1.  Classes will be held at the OSU Extension Office, located on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds.

In consideration of rising fuel costs and conservation, we will hold full-day sessions on Tuesdays beginning March 3 through April 28, 2009 for a total of nine weeks. There is a one-time fee of $140 per person.  Scholarships are available.

Essays from the
Oakwood Historical Society

Park Avenue first host to commerce in area

The Park Avenue business district is Oakwood’s original commercial area and is small enough to visit for an historical excursion with limited space. It has been the center of activity for city business and safety providers, but there has always been business activity there. It didn’t start out that way. It was just another street in the original 1872 Plat of Oakwood but starting about 1923 the shadow of commerce started to fall.

In December 1922, James Ake opened the Village Store, a grocery at 21 Park Ave. He offered “unfailing service and courtesy” and delivery in a Model T pickup truck. He and his family lived in the building and his children attended the Oakwood School. The building stood until 1941 when the DuPonts built the bakery/grocery store.

Across the street the first commercial building containing three store rooms was built in 1923. A Kroger store occupied #20 and remained there until 1939 when they moved to a new building at 2322 Far Hills (now PetMart). After that it became the barber shop of George Mann who later used the back room to train Golden Gloves boxers such as Gates Thruston and Ewing Stumm. Succeeded by Greeley Hatfield in 1953, who continued the barbering trade until 1984, when it was occupied by Classics Realty, Irish Crystal, a psychologist, Marks Travel, and now Kubik Fine Books.

The middle unit #22 for many years was a drug store, starting with Charles Froendoff in 1923 and Shellhaas Drug Store in 1924, who advertised “We either have it, will get it, or it never was.” The grumpy Bob Parks ran the business from 1924 to 1939, followed by John Somerlot from 1940 to 1948, and Holsum Drug from 1949 to 1952. They all had pharmacies, sold perfumes, cosmetics, model airplanes, and had soda fountains which were a magnet for teen-agers.Then followed Fox and Frames, Classics Realty, Marks Travel, and Kubik Fine Books in 2006. The end unit #26 had a long run tenant, Oakwood Plumbing, until 1983 when it was followed by Party Planners, Classics Realty, Marks Travel and Kubik Fine Books.

There was a building at 30 Park Avenue from at least 1925 until the City Building was built in 1931, but no pictures or description of it seems to survive. My guess it was similar to many I have seen in small towns in the area with the downstairs housing the village fire truck and the upstairs used for offices which are listed as that of A.O. Davison, Attorney, Harry E. James, and John E. Morrissey (the latter being the fire chief).

The long six unit building west of the alley on the north side of Park Ave. was built by John Fletcher about 1924. #31 opened as Miller’s Delicatessen in 1924, a branch of their main store on Ludlow Street downtown. It stayed until 1931 when Williams Market opened and continued until moving next door to the new building at #23. It was followed by a succession of dry cleaners until 1962 when A La Carte Catering moved in until 1967, and then more dry cleaners until 1978. Then came Children’s Boutique, a beauty shop, a realtor, Shannon Boyd clothing, and now Stephens Insurance Agency. #33 has a history of dry cleaners, flower shops, beauty shops, caterers, realtors, and a dance studio. # 37 started out as a dry goods store, then Frudenberger Bakery, Werner Bakery, DuPont’s Bakery, caterer, beauty shops, and then Winters Bank.

#37 holds a particular soft spot for Oakwood students, especially tuition students from south of town, because that is the location of Peterson’s Confectionery from 1926 to 1941. All Oakwood students of that era recall eating lunch there at one time. Run by Orley and Edna Peterson, and later by their son “Pete,” it was cheap, fast, and filling. It was followed by Engle’s, the Luncheonette and Park Ave. Restaurant until 1964.Then came a dance studio and The Clothes Loft before the merger of three units into Winters Bank in 1972. After many years it was taken over by Larry J. Hayes Investment Advisors in 1998 and Merrill Lynch in 2003.

George Mann’s Barber Shop was next at #39 from 1931 to 1945 before he moved across the street to #20. It was followed by a succession of businesses until taken over by Winters Bank. The end unit at #41 was Christ Episcopal Church’s School, the outreach program to get St. Paul’s established in 1925. The Oakwood Press Publishing Co. operated from this location from 1927 until 1954 when it was purchased by the K- O Times. Insurance and other offices occupied it until 1967. It was the Ice Cream Store from 1969 to 1974, Sweet Caroline,s from 1976 to 1978, followed by a sewing/knitting shop, Enchanted Florist, Nanci’s Fancies, Nanci’s Small Planet Café, Nanci’s Window Garden Café and Park Ave. Needlepoint Shop.

The parking lot behind the building had a large industrial building which housed the printing presses of the Oakwood Press. It later had an auto repair shop, the Wills Coal Co. garage, the William Johnson Fan Manufacturing and Mayne Products, a repair garage and an oil distributor, until the city purchased it in 1973 and demolished it for the parking lot. There is a planned update of the parking plan scheduled for spring 2009, designed to make it more user friendly.

In 1941, the Ake’s grocery building and residence was torn down so that the DuPonts could build two units at 21 & 23 for a bakery and grocery. No sooner than it was completed than WW II restrictions on baking ingredients forced them to suspend operations. They sold the building in 1952 and it continued as Oakwood Bakery, Ross’s Bakery, and Servanti’s Pastry until 1983 and now it is the popular Ashley’s. The #23 side was Williams’ market from 1941 until 1960 and Meyer’s Meats from 1961 to 1991. These were the last of the neighborhood groceries, offering charge accounts and delivery service. They were the lunch counters and fast food outlets for teen-agers and the last of the “dash in for something for dinner” places. They were followed by Just Music, The Purple Pig and Seasons on Park Antiques, and DeLynne’s Beauty Salon.

We have discussed the Library/Little Exchange building previously which had a series of beauty shops from 1941 to 1952. So all that remains is the “Fletcher Building“ built in 1954 at 49-53. This multi purpose building has been home to beauty shops, food brokers, doctors, dentists, realtors, the long time Park Ave. Secretarial Service, Park Avenue Antiques and after 1997, Daniel’s Antiques. It has recently been purchased from the Estate of Jack Eichelberger and is scheduled for renovation. Across the alley is the professional building built in 1952 by Dr. Kenneth Arn, and which he occupied until his retirement in 1988. Since then it has been the law office of Judge Robert Deddens. On the other side of the street is the professional building built in 1956. This has always has housed local dentists such as Drs. Booker, Eyler, Bush, Coyne and the Hermans.

So what memories does this listing conjure up? If you’re an old timer, you remember George Mann, Pete Peterson, Bob Parks, John Somerlot, Nanci Schaefer, Elinor O’Grady, Domenico Stoflo, et al.

Click for more Centennial News >

Troop 320 enjoys Appalachian field trip

Scout Troop 320 celebrates climbing to summit of Old Rag Mountain.

Troop 320 from South Park United Methodist Church traveled to Virginia this summer to explore Civil War battlefields, caverns and the mountaintops of Shenandoah National Park.  Seventeen scouts and nine adult leaders from Oakwood, Kettering and Dayton left on Saturday, June 21 and set up base camp in the tiny, historic village of Rapidan, Virginia – just a 45 minute drive from the mountains. The scouts visited Fredericksburg, Maryland on Sunday to learn about the history of the battles in this area, to become acclimated to the humidity and to warm up their legs on a 4 mile historical hike that included the opportunity to earn a patch by answering questions.  

On Monday, the troop headed to the mountains. Nine of the older scouts and four leaders were dropped off to begin four days of backpacking along the Appalachian Trail.  Meanwhile, the eight younger scouts and their leaders headed to Big Meadows campground to set up camp and participate in numerous day hikes and ranger programs.  The scouts learned about how the mountains were formed, how the park was conceived and built and about the flora and fauna of the area.  No one could believe how many deer were in the park and how close they would come to humans!  The boys enjoyed hiking to waterfalls and mountain peaks and watched a peregrine falcon learning to fly.  There was also a mother black bear with two cubs in the area who were spotted several times by the group – always at a safe distance.  Meanwhile the older scouts were testing their leadership skills and learning to read maps, use backpacking stoves and filter water.  The second night on the trail they camped at Big Meadows with the younger scouts and everyone shared their favorite stories of the first two days.

On Friday, all of the scouts and leaders returned to the mountains for a grueling day hike to the top of Old Rag Mountain – a nine mile adventure that included amazing rock scrambles at the top.  Everyone agreed that the climb was extremely difficult, but it was worth the effort in the end to enjoy the 360 degree view from the top and the satisfaction of knowing that they made it. After a relaxing visit to Luray Caverns and a car museum on Saturday, the troop returned to Dayton on Sunday, June 29 with many stories to tell of their adventure.  Scouts and leaders who participated in the trip included:  Jim, Charlotte and Michael Wuebker (Oakwood); George, Sherrie, Griffin and Colin Ray (Kettering); Kathleen and Bradley Alexander (Kettering); Isaiah Williams (Dayton); Jordan Todd (Dayton); Dwight and Justin Matlock (Dayton); Russell Keith (Kettering); Brandon and D’Wayne Howard (Kettering); Tom McClory (Oakwood); Joe and Perry Fulford (Oakwood); Trevor, Alex and Thomas Chuna (Kettering); Sam Wittman (Kettering); Robbie Smith (Kettering) and Sean and Christopher Anderson (Kettering).

July Beautification Awards

Congratulations to the owners of the following residential and business properties which were selected to receive:

If you know of someone who has enhanced the beauty of our community by either planting shrubs, flowers, trees or with other landscaping improvements, or by making architectural or building improvements (including painting) to existing structures, and is deserving of recognition, we encourage you to take a minute and complete a nomination form (forms are available at the O.C.C. and city building) or simply call the city offices at 298-0411.


Dr. & Mrs. Byron Epley 568 Hathaway Road

Mr. & Mrs. Dave Reed 275 W. Thruston Blvd.

Tim & Lisa McCauley 90 Patterson Road

Mr. & Mrs. Ken Keller 27 E. Dixon Avenue

Oakwood Board of Education 1200 Far Hills Avenue

Mr. & Mrs. Michael T. Jones 217 Corona Avenue

Mr. & Mrs. Richard A. Kipp 245 Monteray Avenue

Ms. Colene R. Murphy 244 E. Peach Orchard Avenue

Mr. Andrew Denka, Oakwood Corp. Investments, LLC 200 Triangle Avenue

Mr. & Mrs. Michael R. Shane 301 Fairforest Circle

Mark & Wanda Krebs 2543 Fairmont Avenue

Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Wolters 240 Grandon Road


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August 8, 2008
Volume 17, No. 32

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