Life’s Reflections: Ansonia Methodist members celebrate 150th anniversary

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Mike Henderson offered lots of information about the Ansonia United Methodist Church, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. (Linda Moody photo)

ANSONIA—Happiness for me is to write about something I love, and one of those things is my hometown, which is Ansonia.

The subject of a recent interview was the 150th anniversary of the Ansonia United Methodist Church. My interview with Mike Henderson, the chairman of the church’s finances and a retired engineer known county-wide, was so informative and brought back a lot of nostalgia when familiar names and activities were discussed.

He even brought three different publications focusing on the history of the church along with him to help me with the article I penned for My County Link a couple of days ago.

Mike had some help with the historical information for this year’s celebration that was compiled by his wife, Debbie.

A lot of that work had already been in play when the late Mamie Warrick, a member and historian of the church, published her information in several booklets. By the way, Mamie was not only involved in Boy Scouting in the area but was also secretary of the Ansonia High School Alumni Association for 49 years. What a woman she was!

I had so much information to go on with the church’s celebratory article so I will try and add some of it here. They include the names of pastors who served at the Ansonia church over the years, and some special dedications that have taken place at the church named in memory of its members.

For example, when the outdoor bulletin board was given to the church by Henrietta Winbigler in memory of her son Goddard.

In 1985, a Wurlitzer piano and organ were purchased from Dan and Joanne Neiswonger in memory of their son, Dan who was the choir director.

Hand chimes were added to the music department in 1989 in memory of Jeff Warrick, and Ron Hetzler family donated funds to pay for the new parking lot that became a reality in 2004.
Then, in 2022, funds for flooring of a flooded carpet came as a gift from the Marlin and Shirley Thompson estate.
Things such as these will always keep these people’s legacies thriving in Ansonia.

Now, as I name the pastors who served the church, I will begin with the year 1957 since there were so many before them. Those early names were unrecognizable to me, and I’m sure they are listed for people who visit the celebrations this year to see.

Here is my list and they include the pastor’s name and the year they started: Robert Robinson in 1957; James BonDurant in 1959; Starling Morrow in 1963; Albert Kuntzman in 1966; various ministers until Michael Sims came in September 1971; James Waugh in 1975; Ralph Baker filling in for three months when Harvey Koch came in 1980; Mary Jo Yeakel in 1987; David Gehret in 1990; associate pastor John Wiltshire served five years beginning in 1993, the same year Todd Grant began his pastorate there; Ted Grotzky in 1996; Mary Sandberg in 1998; Jack Chalk from interim from August to November in 2002; Joe Royer in November 2022; Peggy Cromer from February 2009 to January 2009; Fred Herron in February 2012; Ron Hoeksema in 2012; and in 2017, Roger Emerson, who will be leaving in June this year to return
to his hometown.

Good luck in the search for a successor at this long-standing church. I’m sure it’s in good hands.

At one point in my newspaper career, I had done stories on nearly all of Darke County churches, Ansonia United Methodist included. I was familiar with most of these including James BonDurant and Starling Morrow, both of whom had children in my class, Deborah BonDurant and Jay Morrow. So that naturally brought back memories for me.

Other citizens of Ansonia probably have connections with some of these people as well.

And, I thank Mike Henderson, who would probably prefer I not use his name, for his help. He is a lifelong member of the church where his father, Bob, attended as well as his grandfather, Wilbur Henderson, who had served as a trustee at one time.

What a family tradition!

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Jamie and I extend our condolences to the families and friends of Dorothy Kanney, Vicki Wilson Hartman, Ron Rasberry Sr., Arthur Lochtefeld, Mary Jean Walls and Barry Brown.
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Please pray for these people: Albert Duncan, Chuck “C.W.” Cruze, Connie Buemi Hodson, John Riegle, Michelle Grottle Wright, Cheryl Slonaker Gilmore, Judy York, Donald Booker, Dennis Leeper, Connie Stachler, Carson Robbins, Randy Heck, Ronnie Norton, Marie Schlechty, Jeremy “Jerm” Burke, Bev Brumbaugh, Gary Eichler, David Pretzman, Clinton Randall, Abby Heck, Linda Lore, Ralph Byrd, Beverly McCabe Baker, Doug Winger, Rusty Maloy, Debbie Mayse, Sonja and Dan Coppess, Jeanie Francis, Noah Back, Mary Moran, Harvey Hinshaw, Bruce Kaiser, Angie Brown, Nikole Baldridge, Amanda Mote, Tom Moody, Gary Francis, Anthony and Theresa Grillot, Lee Everhart, Paul Gigandet, Doug Whittington, Tracy Pratt, Kinley Bernard, D’Arleen Waymire, Tish Hodson Shepherd, Zach Urbancic.
Also, Sharon Gamster, John Rimmer, Joan Keen, Carol Hemmerich, Sharon Hummel, Dave Hinshaw, Larry P. Fitzwater, Jim Thomas, Neal Gray, Michael Mowery, Kenny Edwards, Judie Hathaway, Della Burch, Ned and Brenda Wallace, Rick Marker, Randy Garrison, Steve Waymire, Warren Menchhofer, Gary Knick, Karen Hecht, Jannie Barrow, Kathy Gragorace, Danny Foster, Noella Combs, Clay Sheffer, Becky Everhart, Marie Rieman, Becky Oliver, Jayden Martin, Stefani Priest, Steve Neff, James Enicks, Joann Freeman, Cathy Collins Peters, Donna Bixler, Vanna Hannam, Linda Subler, Roger McEowen, Sally Burnett Ganger, Gloria Hodge, Jeff Baltes, Judy Hoffman and daughter Shelly, Cathy Melling, Scott Clark, and all of those who are suffering from other life-altering illnesses.
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Happy birthday:
March 22 to Cris Kammer Moody, Tom Wentworth, Elaine Hartzell Howell, Glen Best, Steve Gruber and Diana Floyd,
March 23 to Virginia O’Dell (104 years young), Paula Moody, Jeff Dohme, Brandan Heck, Carol Bowman Cox, Sylvia Garrett, and Kaya Price.
March 24 to Kim Koverman Hershey, Cindy Jenkinson Brown, Brian K. Hathway, Mike Thornhill, Jana Deeter, Joe Schmitmeyer Sr., Jeff Subler, Sally Mescher, Mike Stegall, Tina Ruble-Ullery, and Jon Shaner.
March 25 to Brandon Moody, Joan DeMange, Doris Barga, Mike Doyle, Kristin Hartrum, Linda Shuttleworth, Greg Knick, Ann Subler, Brian Dapore, Shelly King, Furman Kiser and Nancy Norton.
March 26 to Nevin Elleman, Teresa King, Connie Moody Starline, Kenny Erwin, Jenny Pitman, Sharon Hutchens and Dustin Stump.
March 27 to Sherry Zumbrun Keen, Joan Falknor, Susan Kammer, Molly Wentworth, Nathan Leeper, Travis Yohey, and Chuck Runner.
March 28 to Mike Henderson, Donna Slyder, H.B Hole Jr., Bob Berger, Eve Cusac-Seale and Virginia Metzcar.

Happy anniversary to Gene and Amy Maher on March 26.
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Think about it: “It takes me forever to say my prayers these days, but I don’t care because this time around, I want to make sure God doesn’t have to do any guesswork.”–Terry McMillan