Huntington County Honors recognizes second class of ‘stars’

Inductees recognized at the 2017 Huntington County Honors program and their representatives are (front, from left) Mildred Tullis, Ross Clark, Joan Keefer and Mel Ring, all inductees; Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, representing J.W. Caswell and Winfred Runyan; and Jean Ringer, representing the Bippus family; (second row, from left) Margie Hedrick, Andy Purviance and Mary York, representing their mother, Emmaline “Emmy” Purviance Henn; Joyce Baker Hewitt, representing her father, Dr. E. DeWitt Baker; Susan Richey, representing her father, Dr. Robert M. Hafner; Linda Bryant, representing her great-aunt, Helen Purviance; Dodie Neuhauser and Diana Parker, representing their father, Gerald “Jerry” Yeoman; and Jennifer Koch and Lisa Fusselman, representing their father, Ivan “Kaiser” Wilhelm; and (back row, from left) Annette Baker Shepherdson and Dr. Ron Baker, representing their father, Dr. E. DeWitt Baker; inductee Dr. Gary Dilley; Luke Scheer Jr., representing his father, Luke Scheer Sr.; Chris Atchison, representing his grandmother, Elizebeth Smith Friedman; and Huntington County Honors board member Amber Hudson, representing H. Allen Smith.
Inductees recognized at the 2017 Huntington County Honors program and their representatives are (front, from left) Mildred Tullis, Ross Clark, Joan Keefer and Mel Ring, all inductees; Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, representing J.W. Caswell and Winfred Runyan; and Jean Ringer, representing the Bippus family; (second row, from left) Margie Hedrick, Andy Purviance and Mary York, representing their mother, Emmaline “Emmy” Purviance Henn; Joyce Baker Hewitt, representing her father, Dr. E. DeWitt Baker; Susan Richey, representing her father, Dr. Robert M. Hafner; Linda Bryant, representing her great-aunt, Helen Purviance; Dodie Neuhauser and Diana Parker, representing their father, Gerald “Jerry” Yeoman; and Jennifer Koch and Lisa Fusselman, representing their father, Ivan “Kaiser” Wilhelm; and (back row, from left) Annette Baker Shepherdson and Dr. Ron Baker, representing their father, Dr. E. DeWitt Baker; inductee Dr. Gary Dilley; Luke Scheer Jr., representing his father, Luke Scheer Sr.; Chris Atchison, representing his grandmother, Elizebeth Smith Friedman; and Huntington County Honors board member Amber Hudson, representing H. Allen Smith. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

Fourteen individuals and two families, whose lives intersected with Huntington County at some point and who went on to achievements on the national and international stages as well as in their hometown, were inducted as the second class of Huntington County Honors during a ceremony on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 28, in the Huntington County Courthouse.

The courthouse rotunda was filled as Huntington County Honors Board of Directors members Dr. Dave Carnes, Caroline Gernand-Runyan, Amber Hudson, Mike Perkins, and Joe Wiley read biographies of each of the inductees, whose accomplishments ranged from building up the business sector of Huntington County to building up the morale of young soldiers on the other side of a vast ocean.

“If you haven’t heard about this woman, go home and google her,” Wiley said as he read the accomplishments of the late Elizebeth Smith Friedman. “You’ll be amazed.”

Friedman, a Huntington native, was a student of languages who eventually became one of the nation’s top cryptanalysts, deciphering coded messages sent by rum-runners and drug smugglers during the Prohibition as well as messages sent by German Naval Intelligence during World War II.

Friedman’s honor was accepted by her grandson, Chris Atchison.

In addition to Friedman, the 2017 inductees are:

• The late Dr. E. DeWitt Baker, who served as president of Huntington College from 1965 to 1981 and served as a missionary in Sierra Leone, later using his contacts in the African country to initiate a polio eradication program there. His award was accepted by his children, Joyce Baker Hewitt, Annette Baker Shepherdson and Dr. Ron Baker.

• The Bippus Family, including patriarch Jacob Bippus, his son George Jacob Bippus and his grandson, James Frederick Bippus, all now deceased. The trio is credited with laying out the town of Bippus; advancing the canal, the railroad and natural gas, oil and electricity in Huntington; and building the Hotel LaFontaine. Their honor was accepted by Jean Ringer, a Bippus descendant.

• The late J.W. Caswell and the late Winfred Runyan, founders of the Caswell-Runyan Company in Huntington that initially made cedar chests and then radio cabinets and jukeboxes. Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, accepted the award on their behalf.

• The Clark Twins, four sets of twins from Andrews who gained national fame after forming their own basketball team playing across the United States and in 14 other countries, many times as an opponent of the Harlem Globetrotters. Two surviving members of the twins, Mildred Tullis and Ross Clark, accepted the award for their family.

• Dr. Gary Dilley, who learned to swim at the Huntington YMCA under Glen Hummer and went on to earn an Olympic silver medal in swimming and numerous honors while swimming at Michigan State University. Dilley, who went on to become a pediatric dentist, was in attendance to receive his honor.

• The late Dr. Robert M. Hafner, a veterinarian turned banker who worked to support local businesses, large and small. His award was accepted by his daughter, Susan Richey.

• The late Emmaline “Emmy” Purviance Henn, who was instrumental in the restoration of the Hotel LaFontaine as a senior apartment complex and in the founding of the Boys & Girls Club of Huntington County. Her award was accepted by her children, Margie Hedrick, Andy Purviance and Mary York.

• Joan Keefer, who has spent years researching and preserving the history of Huntington County and its people, as county historian, county genealogist and former director of the Indiana Room of the Huntington City-Township Public Library. She accepted her award in person.

• The late Helen Purviance, a Salvation Army officer who made and served doughnuts to World War I soldiers fighting in France. Her award was accepted by her great-niece, Linda Bryant.

• Melvin “Mel” Ring, who was actively involved in the development of a downtown pedestrian mall as well as River Forks industrial Park, Lime City Economic Development Corporation, Forks of the Wabash Historic Park, Dan Quayle Foundation, Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Club. Ring was in attendance to accept his award.

• The late Luke Scheer, whose interest in the history of the Miami people led him to purchase and preserve the home of Miami leader Jean Baptiste Richardville and work to gain federal recognition of the Miami Indians of Indiana. His award was accepted by his son, Luke Scheer Jr.

• The late H. Allen Smith, who began his writing career as a cub reporter for the Huntington Press — one of two papers that merged to become The Herald-Press — and became one of the country’s most popular authors, writing 37 books. His award was accepted by Amber Hudson, a member of the Huntington County Honors Board of Directors.

• The late Ivan “Kaiser” Wilhelm, considered one of the best all-around athletes of his time, playing basketball, football, baseball and tennis, as well as running track, at Huntington High School, and excelling in basketball at Tulane University. His award was accepted by his daughters, Jennifer Koch and Lisa Fusselman.

• The late Gerald “Jerry” Yeoman, the founder of Yeoman Engineering who also was actively involved in the United Way, Huntington County Medical Memorial Foundation, Lime City Economic Development Commission, River Forks Industrial park, Pathfinder Services, PAL, Little League and the LaFontaine Center. His award was accepted by his daughters, Dodie Neuhauser and Diana Parker.

Plaques recognizing the inductees will be on display in the Huntington County Courthouse rotunda during November and at the Huntington Branch of the Huntington City-Township Public Library beginning in January.

Expanded information about the inductees is available online at huntingtoncountyhonors.org.