ST. MARYS — George Neargarder, Thomas Anderson and Larry Shelby joined a list of distinguished St. Marys residents Saturday night, as the three were honored as the 2012 inductees to the St. Marys Memorial High School Hall of Fame.
The St. Marys Memorial High School Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony was held on Saturday night at the St. Marys American Legion Post 323, honoring Neargarder with the Academic/Professional Award, Anderson with the Athletic Achievement Award and Shelby with the Service to St. Marys City Schools Award.
A 1945 graduate of Memorial High School, Neargarder, has served the St. Marys area for more than 50 years, dedicating much of his time to preserving the history of the area. Neargarder was a founding member of the Auglaize County Historical Society, founded in 1963, and served on the St. Marys Sesquicentennial Committee, the Centennial Celebration Committee of the Auglaize County Courthouse and the Auglaize County Sesquicentennial Committee, among others.
Neargarder also published three hardbound works on the history of the area, titled “The Combine Atlases of 1880, 1898, 1917 of Auglaize County, Ohio,” “Auglaize County Postcard Images” and “History of Holy Rosary Church.” A self-proclaimed local history nut, Neargarder said he has always had an interest in pictures.
“I am a local history nut and am always hunting for old photos to copy for my computer of the lake, canal and business places, and I’m always willing to share my pictures, books and history with others,” Neargarder said after accepting his award.
Neagarder recalled forming the Old Canal Town Historical Committee in 1947.
“In 1947, along with Larry Shelby, we formed the Old Canal Town Historical Committee in the St. Marys library, where all the members shared history of St. Marys,” he said, noting a notebook one of the committee members brought to a meeting.
“This book had pages of valuable history of the merchants of St. Marys. He donated this book to the local library in St. Marys.”
He thanked the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation for the honor.
“I thank the committee for this award,” he said.
A three-sport athlete, Anderson played football, basketball and baseball while attending Memorial High School.
He earned two varsity letters in football and was a member of the 1944 and 1945 Buckeye League Championship teams.
In the first Ohio North South All Star Football game in 1946, Anderson was selected to be a member of the North team by the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association. Anderson was also a varsity letterman in basketball and baseball.
After graduating in 1946, Anderson continued to play sports in college, playing football for The Ohio State University and Ohio University. Anderson continued to play sports throughout his 20-year military career, playing and coaching the 14th Infantry’s Dragons football team and coaching for the All Star Military Service Teams. Anderson passed away in 1983 and is survived by his wife, Carol, who accepted the award.
“All of Tom’s athletic and professional achievements can directly be attributed to his years at Memorial High School,” Carol said.
She thanked the Memorial High School athletic department for giving Anderson a solid sports foundation.
“We thank Memorial High School for being a catalyst that gave Tom the desire to excel not only athletically, but professionally,” she said. “He was always very proud of his Ohio roots and never hesitated to tell people he was from St. Marys, Ohio.”
Anderson would have been proud to be honored with the award, she added.
“Tom would be humbled by all of this attention tonight,” she said. “Tom would have been very proud to be recognized for his achievements at Memorial High School in his hometown that he loved so very much.”
A 1960 graduate of Memorial High School, Shelby began giving back to his alma mater by serving as president of the Parent/Teacher Association at East and West schools and the district’s Parent/Teacher Association.
He moved on to serve on the St. Marys Board of Education for 12 years, during which time he saw the addition of the Denning’s Vocational Building and the Cook Addition to McBroom Junior High School.
In 1974, Shelby was a founding member of the St. Marys Community Foundation, which began with $8,000 in assets that has grown to more than $2.5 million.
Outside of the school, Shelby was also involved in the St. Marys Kiwanis Club, the St. Marys Area Chamber of Commerce, the St. Marys Community Improvement Corporation and the Auglaize County Council on Aging, among many others.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush recognized Shelby as one of his 1,000 Points of Light Award recipients. Shelby passed away in 2009 and is survived by his wife, Ronda, who accepted the award. Shelby’s brother, Jerry, noted his brother’s love for St. Marys.
“Larry loved St. Marys Memorial High School and poured his heart and soul into making home a better place to live and raise a family,” Jerry said.
One of Shelby’s favorite sayings, he said, was, “I wondered why someone didn’t do something, then I realized I was that someone.” Shelby dedicated much of his time to making St. Marys a better place to live.
“When Larry saw something that needed done, he got involved and got it done,” Jerry said, again noting his brother’s favorite saying. “Larry Shelby’s professional and volunteer community service activities and his example made a powerful difference in St. Marys.”
Jerry thanked the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation for honoring his brother.
“Thank you Memorial High School Alumni for establishing this important award and presenting it to Larry,” he said.
“Thank you Larry Shelby for inspirational leadership, outstanding service and dedication to the St. Marys area and Memorial High School. The example you set for us will never be forgotten because you are a hall of famer.”
For more information about the St. Marys Memorial High School Hall of Fame, visit MHSAF.com.