Less than two months shy of her 106th birthday, June Gregg, the unofficial historian of Bainbridge and the surrounding area and an irreplaceable icon in her community, died Friday.
“She was the finest person I ever knew. She was interested in everything and it’s a great loss to Bainbridge now that she is gone,” said Eileen Hatfield, who served with Gregg on the Fall Festival of Leaves Committee and Ohio Festival and Events Association for years. “Her knowledge was impeccable. She always knew where to go to get information. She was the smartest woman I ever met. She was amazing.”
Gregg was the last original member of the Fall Festival of Leaves Committee and was still working for the festival up until her death.
A graduate of Bourneville High School, Gregg grew up in Storms Station in Ross County. She was a member of the former Bainbridge Presbyterian Church, an 81-year member of the Order of Eastern Star Chapter 419 of Chillicothe, a 58-year member of General Federation of Women’s Clubs in Ohio and Florida, a member of the Bainbridge Senior Citizens, Bainbridge Historical Society and Bainbridge Homemakers.
Gregg had two brothers that served in World War II, but Gregg stayed on the family farm until she was 30 years old, then opened a general merchandise store. She ran the store for seven years in the same town where her grandfather was the postmaster for about 35 years. She also worked for a cousin’s store and spent many years at the post office.
Hatfield said she and Gregg had worked on several projects for the Bainbridge Senior Citizens over the past year.
Hatfield said Gregg worked at the festival last October, greeting visitors and passing out buckeyes for people to put in their pocket for good luck.
“I think she would want to be remembered for all the civic things she did for the senior citizens, Bainbridge, the Bainbridge Historical Society and so much more,” Hatfield said. “We have really lost a treasure.”
Susan Johnson lived next door to Gregg and served as her caretaker in recent years. She said she had known Gregg for more than 60 years.
“My mother and June were good friends and my mother’s theory about why she lived so long and so well was that she never married and never had to put up with a man or kids,” Johnson joked.
Keith Johnson, chairman of the Fall Festival, said Gregg loved and was deeply proud of her community.
“She was just a wonderful person. It’s hard to put into words. She is really going to be missed,” Keith Johnson said. “I just think she loved what she was doing and being around people. Her health was good up until the last few weeks and I think some of that was because she stayed so active.
“She was a big part of the community. It’s quite a loss. We will miss her.”
Susan Johnson said it was Gregg’s love of life, her attitude toward living and her love of people that kept her going for so long.
Gregg had some health problems in January, Susan Johnson said, then went into a nursing home for rehabilitation. She said Gregg was doing well until three to four weeks ago when she started going downhill.
“But she had her mind right up until the very end,” Susan Johnson said.
According to Gregg’s wishes, she was cremated and there was no visitation or services.
The Smith-Moore-Ebright Funeral Home in Bainbridge is serving the family.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.
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