FAIRBORN — The Fairborn Area Historical Society has named its honorees for the Legends of Fairborn award.
Over the past 70 years many Fairborn area residents have made tremendous contributions bringing honor and distinction to the City of Fairborn. FAHS received 21 nominations this year. The FAHS board met and selected the following 10 outstanding citizens. They will be honored and recognized at a formal event later in 2020.
The Legends of Fairborn program will be ongoing after 2020. Each subsequent year, other Fairborn residents will be recognized for their outstanding contributions.
George W. Armstrong (1916-2001) was born in Fairfield, grew up in Fairfield, and after graduation from Bath High School attended milling college in Kansas. During World War II George worked as an aviation wing fuel tank designer for Firestone and Goodyear. He was a charter member of the Fairborn Lions Club where he served in most offices several times, including president. George was a member of the Fairborn St. Luke United Methodist Church, and was owner/manager of the O.B. Armstrong & Sons grain elevator. George created specialty inventions such as bulk loading valves, hydraulic alarm system, electric water saving toilet, and easy-to-load bird feeder. He held nearly 40 inventions.
Orville B. Armstrong (1891-1963) was the son of Samuel Armstrong who built Clifton Mill. Orville was instrumental in civic affairs and business in Fairborn. He purchased the Fairfield Mill in 1916 and then built the grain elevator at its present site on Dayton Drive in 1925, adding a coal business with the grain business. In 1955 he expanded and constructed an additional cement bin. Orville served on the Ohio State Coal Board and many other local organizations. He had interests locally in the Girl Scouts and the YMCA. He was chairman of the Fairborn branch YMCA Board of Management from 1948 to 1951. Orville served one term on the city council when Osborn and Fairfield were merged in 1950. He was a member of the board of Public Affairs in Fairfield and a charter member and past president of the Fairborn Rotary.
Michael J. Foy — Foy’s had its beginnings in 1929 when Mike’s grandparents moved to new Osborn and opened Foy’s 5 & 10. In 1942 his father took over the business. Mike began working in the store as a young boy. Mike has lived in Fairborn his entire life and graduated from Fairborn Baker High School in 1978. Also in 1978, Mike went into partnership with his father, becoming the sole proprietor of Foy’s 5 & 10 Variety Store in 1987. Foy’s has expanded over the years and is a mainstay in downtown. Mike participates in so many Fairborn events that it is impossible to list all of them. He is also on many boards including: Fairborn Area Chamber of Commerce, Greene County YMCA, Downtown Fairborn Business Association, Fairborn Rotary, and numerous others. Foy’s has become known not only locally, but also statewide and nationally.
Edwin E. Grimes (1930-2010) graduated from Osborn Bath Consolidated Schools in 1948. F. C. Massey Hardware was moved from old Osborn to new Osborn around 1923 when the village of Osborn was relocated. In 1939 Edwin’s father purchased Massey Hardware and it was renamed Grimes Hardware Company. After serving in the Army during the Korean conflict, Edwin returned to Fairborn and worked at Grimes Hardware eventually purchasing the company in 1967. The business expanded and today Grimes Hardware is Handyman Ace Hardware. During his life Edwin served as a charter member of the Fairborn Chamber of Commerce, founding member of the Abiding Christ Lutheran Church, and Greene County United Appeal. He was also speaker and member for many national retail hardware groups.
Dr. Michael L. Horton (1946-2009) established the Fairborn Animal Hospital in 1981. After graduating from Fairborn High School in 1965, Mike attended Miami University in Oxford. Later he attended The Ohio State University where he received his doctor of veterinary medicine degree in 1972. After graduating, Dr. Horton joined the U.S. Air Force where during his enlistment he developed a protective jacket for cardiovascular probe leads for which he received a U.S. patent. During his career, Mike authored numerous newspaper articles, scholarly abstracts, and peer-reviewed scientific papers. He was extremely interested in the history of Fairfield/Osborn/Fairborn and was instrumental in beginning Fairborn’s Heritage Days Festivals.
Lt. Col. Harold C. Johnson, USAF, Retired, (1933-2004) commanded the 661st Air Force Band of Flight from 1975-1995. He also commanded various Air Force Bands around the world from 1957 to 1985. Lt. Col. Johnson served as president of the Fairborn High School Viking Guard Marching Band Parent Boosters Club. After his retirement from the Air Force, he taught music simultaneously at both Mary Help of Christians and Sinclair Community College. Johnson served on many Fairborn committees including the Fairborn Library Committee, and downtown Fairborn Veterans Memorial. He was Commissioner of Tecumseh Council Boy Scouts, served as Fairborn Rotary President, and choir director at Wright Patterson Air Force Base chapels.
Fred E. Kauffman (1902-2001) served on the Fairborn Board of Education from 1934 through 1965. He was president of the board from 1959-1965. In 1922 Fred moved from old Osborn to new Osborn. He graduated from Bath Township School in 1922 and began working with his father at the First National Bank in new Osborn. His father was one of the charter members who founded the bank in 1910. Fred’s positions during his years at the bank included bookkeeper, teller, vice president, and in 1945 he became president. He served as president until he retired in 1979. Kauffman was active in the Fairborn Rotary Club, Antioch Shrine Club, and Dayton American Automobile Association.
J. C. McMillan (1906-1997) began working for Miami Valley Publishing Company in 1928. He started as the manager of the weekly Bath Township Herald located in Fairfield. McMillan served as manager and publisher as the newspaper expanded into what is today the Fairborn Daily Herald. McMillan organized the Osborn-Fairfield Rotary Club, was elder of the First Presbyterian Church, served on the board of Greene Memorial Hospital, and served on several other boards and organizations. He actively lobbied for the merger of Fairfield and Osborn. He received the E.J. Nutter Award in 1987 in recognition for a lifelong career of professional and civic service to Greene County.
Essie Tackis’ contributions to Fairborn are many. In addition to serving as deputy mayor and mayor, she organized fundraisers for memorials, coordinated Fairborn’s 25th anniversary celebration, established the local access cable channel, and served as president of the Fairborn Citizens’ Association. Essie also served on several boards including the Fairborn and Xenia Chambers of Commerce, American Cancer Society Board, and Fairborn Lioness Club. She was voted in as the first female president of the Fairborn Rotary. As a mother of four children who attended Fairborn Public Schools she was devoted to school programs and sports.
Dr. Lynn Wolaver (1924-2018) served on Fairborn’s City Council for four years. He was deputy mayor for two years and mayor for four years. Dr. Wolaver served on the City Planning Board for six years and two years on the Fairborn Zoning Board of Appeals. Just recently Fairborn’s Government Building was dedicated as the Dr. Lynn Wolaver City Government Building in Fairborn. During World War II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps where he participated in several operations. As a scientist, Dr. Wolaver lectured all over the world, authored more than 60 technical papers in the fields of navigation, astrodynamics and nonlinear systems analysis and physiological systems modeling. He wrote a book on astrodynamics that is still used by the Air Force Institute of Technology.