Author: Beth Barnes
Mary E. Banks was honored as the first honorary lifetime member of the Champion Historical Society on November 4th at the Champion Presbyterian Church. The banquet was a smorgasbord of delicious covered casseroles and a touching tribute to a lovely lady that has made countless contributions to Champion township. Rhonda Fonce, the historical society president, welcomed everyone to the dinner and Shirley Vesey gave a beautiful blessing. Guests enjoyed many family favorite recipes that members brought to share. It was a feast fit for a queen, Champion’s own Queen Mary.
Edith Sampson an original member and friend, and Jeff Hovanic, Champion trustee and member, led us all down memory lane highlighting many of the Banks’ family contributions and the accomplishments of Mary. Mary was instrumental in founding the original historical society in 1976, working on the renovation of the Shafer Road Schoolhouse Number 3, and seeing that little Caroline Rudefill, the first person buried in the township cemetery in 1842, has a marker.
Mary was presented with a beautiful flower arrangement in a mug of the Shafer Road Schoolhouse and a framed proclamation highlighting her accomplishments. Many touching tributes were given by both family and friends of this fine lady. Mary gave a very heartfelt thanks to everyone there. The evening ended with a standing ovation to show everyone’s’ thanks and gratitude for all she has done. It was a most memorable night to everyone who was there. Thanks again Mary, we are very honored to welcome you as the “First Honorary Lifetime Member of the Champion Historical Society.”