Ruth T. Bemis
MOUNT VERNON — Ruth Thomas Bemis, a noted artist, community leader, and longtime benefactor of local institutions, died Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006, at her Mount Vernon home, Halcyon Hill.
Mrs. Bemis was born on Feb. 25, 1906, in Warren, Ohio, the daughter of Helen Howard Thomas and Charles I. Thomas. A 1926 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, she earned a master’s degree in social work at Simmons College in 1928. In 1934, she married John Hay Bemis, known as Jack, a 1926 graduate of Kenyon College who became managing partner of Pickands Mather and Co. Jack Bemis died in 1981.
Prior to her marriage, Mrs. Bemis was a medical social worker; she later worked with civic and cultural groups in Chicago and Wayne, Ill., and Cleveland, Ohio. During World War II, she was involved with various war efforts, including Victory Garden, in Washington, D.C. After moving to Mount Vernon in retirement, Mrs. Bemis became active in local affairs as both a participant and a supporter, winning Knox County’s “Heart of Gold” award in 2001 for her work with numerous groups, including the Knox County Symphony, where the concertmaster’s chair is named in her honor. A talented harpist herself, she had played as a 16-year-old in a concert in New York City’s Carnegie Hall in 1922.
Mrs. Bemis’s career as an artist began in 1950, when she enrolled in a painting class taught by George Rochelieu. “I have painted for the pure joy of it,” she said. “The delightful act of creating a painting, with all the tantalizing problems along the way, the harmonies, the colors, and the surprise of the result — all, for me, justify trying to portray what the eye sees, and the artist comprehends.” Her paintings, which include pastel and oil paintings depicting both natural and still-life settings, were shown in a number of exhibits, among them a 1996 show titled “The Bees Have Been Busy” in Kenyon’s Olin Gallery in celebration of her 19th birthday and a 2002 show, “Fun in the Herb Garden,” at the college’s Brown Family Environmental Center.
Mrs. Bemis took a particular interest in the Brown Family Environmental Center, where she was a founding member of the advisory board organized in 1997. In June 2003, she was guest of honor at the dedication of the BFEC’s Bemis Barn, which was renovated and enlarged to include an aviary with her financial assistance. She was also a patron of Kenyon’s music program, funding the creation of the Bemis Music Room, a classroom and recital space dedicated to her late husband in Kenyon’s Peirce Hall.
On May 17, 2005, in recognition of her lifetime of achievement, Mrs. Bemis was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree by Kenyon, conferred by President S. Georgia Nugent in a special ceremony at Halcyon Hill. The college’s president emeritus, Philip H. Jordan Jr., presented the citation for the degree, which noted that Mrs. Bemis was an early supporter of Kenyon’s efforts to establish a dedicated space for the appreciation and study of nature. “Both the Brown Center and the college’s Department of Music have benefited from your generosity, as have many other individuals and programs at Kenyon, in Knox County, and elsewhere,” read the citation, in part. “You will be long remembered as a friend to generations of the college’s men and women, including several presidents as well as numerous administrators, faculty members and students. Through your glorious paintings, you have helped all of us to see new colors in the world around us; through your well-lived life, you have helped us to appreciate familiar ones more deeply.”
Mrs. Bemis is survived by nieces, Elizabeth Bemis Cameron, Rebecca Bemis Amiot Jasperson, Ann Thomas Kahn and Judith Thomas; nephews, David and John Thomas; goddaughter, Christine Amiot Carter; and many dear friends, including Lisa and Greg Blubaugh, Sheila and Philip Jordan, and Peggy and William Stroud.
In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Charles and David.
Also surviving are the members of her devoted staff, including Diane L. Henwood, Ivan Cline, Debra Flack, Bonnie Johnston, Henry Nyhart, Dolores Purdy, Margaret Dudte, Sandy Dailey, Kathleen Bundy and Patricia Brandt.
A memorial service has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. in the Church of the Holy Spirit, Gambier, with Donald L. Rogan officiating. Burial will be in the Kenyon College Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Brown Family Environmental Center, Church of the Holy Spirit, Hospice of Knox County or Knox County Symphony. The arrangements are under the care and direction of the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon.
Faye G. Brooks
MOUNT VERNON — Faye G. Brooks, 85, of Mount Vernon passed away on Sept. 18, 2006, at The Laurels of Mount Vernon. The North-Dilley Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.
Wilma R. Eshelman
UTICA — A funeral service for Wilma R. Eshelman, 78, of Utica will be held Thursday, Sept. 21, at 11 a.m. at Law-Baker Funeral Home with Warren McCord officiating. Burial will follow in South Lawn Cemetery, Utica.
Wilma died Sept. 18, 2006, at Country Court Nursing Center, Mount Vernon. She was born Nov. 19, 1927, in Tallmadge to the late Lloyd and Dorothy (Barber) Buchanan. She was a member of the Mount Vernon Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Utica High School graduate class of 1947, formerly employed by Edmont and Wilson of Mount Vernon and a loving wife of 59 years.
She is survived by husband, Raymond P. Eshelman of Utica; sisters and brothers-in-law, Virginia and Lawrence Stump of Sebring, Fla., and Mary Lou and Robert Smith of Heath; brother, Floyd Buchanan of Stanford, Colo.; nieces and nephews.
Wilma was preceded in death by her parents; and two brothers, Robert and John Buchanan.
Friends may call Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Law-Baker Funeral Home, 34 N. Main St., P.O. Box 456, Utica, OH.
Janet (Fairchild) Jones
FOREST PARK, Ga. — Janet (Fairchild) Jones, 79, of Forest Park, Ga., passed away Sept. 11, 2006.
The former Mount Vernon resident and graduate of the class of 1944, she is survived by her husband, Lorenzer T. Jones; four children; and five grandchildren.
A former Delta Airlines flight attendant she helped establish in 1957 the Delta Clipped Wings Club Inc., a nonprofit charity-based organization to which donations in her memory may be sent c/o Donna Wood, 298 Ebenezer Church Road, Fayetteville, GA 30215, for Cure Childhood Cancer.
Russell W. Walker
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. — Russell W. Walker of Atlantic Beach, Fla., passed away Sept. 5, 2006, in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
He was born at Fredericktown, Ohio, on Nov. 14, 1924, to Harold and Evelyn (Wagner) Walker. He graduated from Fredericktown High School in 1942. He joined the V-12 program at Ohio Wesleyan University and was commissioned an ensign in December 1944 as a communication officer. He was discharged from the Navy on July 10, 1946. Four days later he married Virginia Anne Powers. He received a BS from Ohio Wesleyan University and a MA and Ph.D. in chemistry from The Ohio State University. In 1953, he joined Sinclair Oil in Illinois as a research chemist and remained with the firm and its successor Atlantic Richfield for more than 30 years, retiring in 1986 as vice president of New Business and Acquisition and Licensing for Arco Technology. In 1990, Russ and Virginia moved from the Philadelphia area to Savannah, Ga., and moved into Fleet Landing Continuing Care Residential Community in 2002.
He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Virginia; two sons, Stephen (Carla Diebolt) of Carrollton, Texas, and James (Holly) of Waunakee, Wis.; a daughter, Susan (K. Patrick Lampani) Walker of Silver Spring, Md.; three grandchildren; and his sister, Rita (Thomas) Gruber of Oxford, Md.
Georgia Dale Williams
FREDERICKTOWN — Georgia Dale Williams, 69, of Watson Street, Fredericktown, passed away Monday morning, Sept. 18, 2006, at her residence surrounded by her loving family following a lengthy illness.
Georgia was born May 18, 1937, at Nelsonville, a daughter of the late William and Bessie (McDonald) Jones. She was a homemaker and a member of the First Church of the Nazarene in Mount Vernon. Georgia had a passion for gardening, crocheting and reading.
Surviving Georgia are her devoted husband, James E. Williams, whom she married on July 26, 1958; her caring daughters, Helen (Loren) Vernon of Butler and Andrea (Keith) Derenberger of Fredericktown; three grandchildren, Eddie (fiancé, Jessica Ball) Everhart, Stephanie Vernon and Seth Vernon; one great-grandson, Bo Everhart; sisters, Shirley (Bill) Ice of Jacksonville and Rosemary Evans of Nelsonville; a very special sister-in-law, Peggy Williams of Mount Vernon; and several nieces and nephews.
In addition to her parents, Georgia was preceded in death by an infant son, Edward Dallas Williams; two infant brothers; and a sister, Minnie Ryan.
The family will receive friends Friday, Sept. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon, where funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 23, at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Jack Christner officiating. Burial will follow in the Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens.
To view this obituary or to leave the family an online condolence, visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com.