The Highland County Historical Society has announced its 2019 inductees who will join 61 others already in the Highland County Hall of Fame.
This year’s inductees are Jack I. Hope, Wilfred R. Konneker, Arthur Milner and Willard Ray “Will” Parr.
They will be inducted during a ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 at the Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro, followed by a reception at the society’s Highland House Museum.
Both events are open to the public and free of charge.
Following is bio, as provided by hall of fame committee chairman Nancy Wisecup, on each of this year’s inductees:
Jack Hope — Upon receiving a degree in aeronautical engineering, Hope turned his love of flying into a stellar career in the aircraft industry. He went on to develop advanced aircraft engines, nuclear aircraft engines, advanced military engines and technology support for the White House. He became part of an international joint venture to develop and produce a new commercial aircraft, the CFM56, one of the most successful commercial aircraft engines his history. It is still in production today. Returning to Highland County upon retirement, Hope has remained active in local community revitalization, genealogy and historical preservation.
Wilfred Konneker (1922-2016) — Following the death of his mother, young Wilfred Konneker was raised in Greenfield at the home of his grandmother and aunt. Upon graduation from McClain High School in 1940, he attended Ohio University, graduating in 1943 with degrees in chemistry and math. During World War II, he worked on the Manhattan Project. He was a pioneer in the nuclear medicine field, using radioisotopes for diagnosis and therapy. He founded and co-founded many companies. He and his wife, AnnLee, were major philanthropists, endowing the full, four-year Konneker Scholarship that includes an interntional educational experience, each year to a McClain graduate, many programs at Ohio University and in St. Louis, and the Greenfield Historical Society’s stone school.
Arthur Milner (1902-2004) — Milner grew up in Leesburg on a family farm which he continued to operate for many years. Following graduation from Wilmington College, Milner became a well-known educator, legislator, farmer and leader in church, civic and Masonic organizations. He served as a teacher, principal, coach and superintendent in area schools. During his eight years of service in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing Highland County, Milner served on the education subcommittee that established the Ohio State Board of Education as an elected body. He helped to reorganize the Highland County Fair and was appointed to the first Ohio Exposition Commission. He was active in the Lions Club until his late 90s. He was a member of the Masons and, along with his wife, was active in Eastern Star, serving in many capacities.
Willard Parr — Since his 1956 start at Hillsboro’s WSRW Radio, Parr has been called the Voice of Southern Ohio. Until his retirement in 2018, he informed and entertained hundreds of thousands listeners throughout Highland County and Southern Ohio with his personal broadcasting style. During 62 years on the air he was constantly seen doing remote broadcasts at local businesses, interviewing local elected officials and citizens, serving as master of ceremonies at parades and other public events, deejaying teen dances, and helping raise money for local charities.
“The Highland County Hall of Fame was created by Highland County Historical Society to recognize, honor and celebrate citizens or natives of Highland County who have made invaluable contributions to Highland County and/or the world beyond,” historical society member John Kellis previously told The Times-Gazette. “By recognizing these individuals, the hall of fame will stimulate an interest in, and an appreciation for, the value of the history of this county and its citizens. In addition, the hall of fame reinforces the message to children that they can and should strive for excellence in any endeavor they undertake. Any member of Highland County Historical Society may nominate an individual for the hall of fame by following the criteria and guidelines listed below.”
Nominees for the Highland County Hall of Fame may have made their contribution to society in any of the following categories:
• Arts & Entertainment – As a performer, musician, actor, writer, or those who work in related fields.
• Enterprise – Individuals who have made significant contributions in the fields of science, medicine, business or philanthropy.
• Sports – Superior athletes, coaches, officials or administrators.
• Leadership – Those who have excelled in education, government, military, etc.
The requirements for inductees are:
• Nominees must currently be, or have been, a legal resident of Highland County.
• Nominees must have made broad and lasting contributions to the betterment of the county or brought recognition to the county through their accomplishments.
• Nominees must be of exemplary character and reputation.
• All nominations will be considered by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee, which is comprised of members of the HCHS membership.
• All materials submitted with the nomination become the property of HCHS and none will be returned. Copies of official documents or items of personal or sentimental value will be accepted.
• Those awarded admission to the hall of fame will be announced and celebrated at the annual membership meeting.
• Nominations and any accompanying documents/ephemera must be submitted in a sealed envelope (assuming all items will fit in the envelope) and mailed or delivered to Highland House Museum.
For more information call the museum at 937-393-3392.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.