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Eight older Ohioans inducted into Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Bookmark

COLUMBUS - The Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging and members of the Ohio General Assembly honored eight accomplished older Ohioans with induction into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame during a special ceremony today in Columbus.

“Older Ohioans have a lifetime of accomplishments and experiences that not only make them our elders, but also position them to be leaders and contributors in their communities,” said Stephanie M. Loucka, director of the department. “When older adults continue to grow, thrive and contribute throughout their lives, they can help their communities address key issues and stand as examples for others to emulate.”

The Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame honors Ohioans for outstanding contributions to their professions, their vocations or their communities after age 60. This year’s inductees range in age from 73-90. Their stories are compelling and represent a lifetime of dedication, ingenuity, perseverance, kindness and compassion. More than 450 individuals have been inducted into the hall since 1977.

2017 Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame Inductees:

Paul R. and Vera M. Allen, Xenia – Mr. and Mrs. Allen welcome everybody they meet with open arms and huge hearts. For 30 years, they were foster parents to more than 100 children, adopting seven of them along the way. Combined with one child of their own, their legacy is now spread across the United States, sharing the love and hope that the Allens gave them at a time when no one else could.

Dr. Lucille Garber Ford, Ashland – Dr. Ford is a trailblazer and a role model for all women, with an accomplished career as an educator, businesswoman, college administrator and community leader. She taught business and economics and had an impressive career at Ashland University. She was the first woman to run for Ohio’s lt. governor and founded the Ashland County Community Foundation.

Dr. Ardath A. Franck, Akron – To her many of her former students, Dr. Franck is a beacon of hope. Throughout her 71-year career as a speech therapist, she was one of the first to use unconventional approaches to help students find success in reading. Today, she contributes her community as a business owner and serves as a role model for all ages as she remains physically active and vital.

Dorothy Madal Hetzel, Brecksville – As a mother of five in the 1960s, Ms. Hetzel opened a dance studio in her home. She has served on the Garfield Heights Little Theatre company board for 20 years. She was also the choreographer and dance instructor of the Garfield Heights Youth Theatre. At age 67, she started competing, and winning, in ballroom dancing. She was selected as Ms. Ohio Senior America in 1995.

Samuel Joseph Jones, Glouster – For the better part of seven decades, Mr. Jones has been training young people to be champions in and out of the ring. As a three-time National Kickboxing Champion, he has competed in matches around the world. Since retiring from professional boxing, he has used his boxing experience to shape the minds and bodies of young athletes and support his local community.

Betsy Ross Koller, Malta – Mrs. Koller is a student and master of a 18th century Swiss style of painting called naïve art. She mixes memories of alpine scenery and rural Ohio scenes into unique paintings, that have been displayed around the world and used to raise funds for charity foundations, including a scholarship program at Ohio University that supports students from Appalachia. She is also the author of three children’s books.

Melvyn J. Stauffer, Esq., Sandusky – Mr. Stauffer has helped bring vital health care to underserved populations in his community. He helped secure more than $1 million to support the founding of the Stein Hospice Service, Inc. He was instrumental in the creation of the Firelands Regional Medical Center in north central Ohio and he founded the Foundation for Firelands, which has helped fund new physician practices in specialties needed to serve the community.

The honorees were officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during a special ceremony held at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. Staff from the Department of Aging and Ohio’s area agencies on aging joined state legislators in recognizing the inductees and thanking them for their contributions.

Access detailed bios and photographs of these inductees at

About ODA - The Ohio Department of Aging works to ensure that Ohio is on the leading edge of innovation in responding to the growing and changing aging population. We work with state agencies, area agencies on aging and other local partners to help integrate aging needs into local plans and ensure that aging Ohioans have access to a wide array of high-quality services and supports that are person-centered in policy and practice. Our programs include the PASSPORT Medicaid waiver, the long-term care ombudsman program, the Golden Buckeye Card and more. Visit

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