Helen Good Summer Holcomb, educator and community leader
Helen Good Summer Holcomb, 94, of Tiffin, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 9, 2010, at Mercy Tiffin Hospital.
Mrs. Holcomb was born June 18, 1915, in Tiffin to Lester B. and Ida Eleanor (Good) Summer. She married Robert E. Holcomb on Oct. 20, 1945.
Survivors include a sister, Lois (Summer) Ludwig of Bloomington, Ind.; three daughters, Helen Ruth Holcomb (Michael Nahas) of Boston, Mass., Vanessa Jane Thomas (Steven) of Findlay and Lisa Ann Woodland (Timothy) of Tiffin; five granddaughters, Hilary, Carley, Gretchen, Summer and Emily; four grandsons, Kevin, Jared, Ryan and Robert (Bo); eight great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Holcomb was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Robert W. Summer; three sons, Robert Keith (1976), Douglas Summer (1995) and Lester Grant (1958); and her husband, Nov. 16, 1990.
Mrs. Holcomb wass a 1936 Heidelberg College graduate where she majored in French and English. She began her 55-year career as an educator in Plymouth, Ohio, and then taught Latin, French and English at Southeastern High School in Ross County, Ohio. She returned to teaching in 1967, teaching grade school, language arts, the gifted program and serving as librarian and enrichment teacher at Tiffin St. Mary School, including volunteer story-telling, until her retirement in 2007 at the age of 91.
Long active in children's and women's work, Mrs. Holcomb served as elder, Sunday school teacher and church council member, and was active in Women's Fellowship in her church, Union United Church of Christ, Bascom. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma sorority and the Well-Don Farm Bureau Council. She was active in Pleasant Grove Grange and in the 4-H club as a leader, and managed the Junior Seneca County Fair Dairy Bar for many years.
Mrs. Holcomb is a past president of the Bascom Garden Club, the Hopewell Farm Women's Club, the Seneca County Farm Women's Federation and the Northwest Farm Bureau Women. She was a stringer for the Fostoria Review Times and wrote a weekly column, "Seneca Sidelights," for The Advertiser-Tribune. Mrs. Holcomb, a published poet, received awards for her poetry. She was inducted into the Heidelberg Medallion Club on June 22, 2001. She was awarded Outstanding Educator of the Year at St. Mary in 1979 and was acknowledged for excellence as a distinguished educator in Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 1998.
She was active in numerous community and local school fundraisers and events throughout her entire life. She supported many charities, including Special Olympics, American Veterans, Humane Society, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Society, to mention a few, and was a volunteer at local soup kitchens. Perhaps her greatest professional joy and pride came from her role as the leader of the Power of the Pen for St. Mary School, where she mentored young student writers and led them in writing competitions on the state and regional level; several of her students won awards for their writing. In 1995, Mrs. Holcomb received an award from the State Interscholastic Power of the Pen Tournament, recognizing her for dedication to the pursuit of excellence in written expression.
Because of her reputation as a writer and teacher, Mrs. Holcomb, then in her 80s, was asked by the Archdiocese of Toledo to critique the level of student-writing skills within the Archdiocese schools. Over the course of several summers, she drove back and forth daily to Toledo to fulfill her assignment.
Mrs. Holcomb was an accomplished cook and was known locally for her original recipes, including her German potato salad, which she prepared for the Bascom Volunteer Firemen's Lawn Fete every summer up until a few years before her death. In the mid 1960s, she was featured in Ohio Farmer's Magazine where many of her original recipes were published. Her extensive collection of cookbooks found their way home with family members over the years and are cherished.
Mrs. Holcomb met the love of her life, Robert E. (Bob) Holcomb, a Ross Countian, when she moved to Londonderry, Ohio, in the late 1930s. She was immediately enveloped into Mr. Holcomb's big, loving family with whom she remained very close over the years. Helen and Bob were married in a beautiful autumn ceremony in the Bascom Methodist Church two weeks after Bob returned from 40 months of duty in the South Pacific as a member of the U.S. Army 737th Ordnance Co. of Ohio's 37th Division. Their wedding was the last service in the old church at Beech and Oak Streets. Bob and Helen cherished each other and their family and loved life. In later years, they especially enjoyed their summer sojourns to Maine, where Bob fished and Helen read by the fire and listened for the lovely cry of the loons on Lake Sebago.
Mrs. Holcomb loved reading, cooking, crossword puzzles, collecting cookbooks, unicorns, cardinals and loons. She will be missed by her family and her many friends, former students and colleagues. Although, she would want all of us to go on with our lives, giving all we can to those who need it most and to always go forward. She said it best in one of her most memorable "Seneca Sidelights" columns, titled "You Can't Ever Go Back" ... "Tuck away your special memories, take them out occasionally to warm your heart, but live for today and tomorrow. You can't ever go back. You can't ever recapture a rapture."
A private family graveside service will be at Sandridge Cemetery in Bascom, and there will be a public memorial service at a later date. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, at Engle-Shook Funeral Home in Tiffin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Seneca County Humane Society, Tiffin-Seneca Public Library or to a charity of the donor's choice. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.engleshookfuneralhome.com.