RACINE — The Southern Local School District Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2017 earlier this week at the boys basketball game.
Established in January 2013, the purpose of the Southern Local School District Hall of Fame is to recognize Southern Local School District graduates, employees, and major contributors who have distinguished themselves by their individual contributions in scholarship, athletics, career, community service, and or society as a whole.
Individuals can be nominated by anyone, but must be approved by the selection committee. The committee voted on and confirmed two candidates for this year.
The Class of 2017 inductees were John T. “Tom” Wolfe and the late Hubert Miller Price.
Hubert Miller Price
Price was born in Portland in 1912. He was a very accomplished athlete in high school and lettered in five sports at Marietta College; wrestling, football, basketball, track and field, and baseball. He also served as President of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
According to information provided by Southern Local Schools, Price began his coaching and teaching career at Paw Paw, West Virginia. In 1939, he came home to Portland and became a pillar in the community and region until his death. He spent most of his career as principal of Portland Elementary where he became a leader in not only the school, but in the community. He held annual Labor Day ceremonies at Buffington Island Park and people came from all over the region to join in the celebration.
He used the school to build pride in the community by entertaining folks with travel shows, musicals, and school plays, such as Tom Thumb Weddings, where elementary students had the opportunity to act out parts and entertain parents, teachers and local residents.
His most famous event was the annual Portland Invitational Tournament (PIT). People of his era looked forward to visiting the packed house of Portland Elementary School. The tournament was revived in the early eighties and in 1982, The Southern Local Board of Education passed a resolution naming the Portland gym after him.
He was an initiator of the student-athlete, encouraging students and adults to achieve success through education while adding a wonderful blend of athletics to make life more enjoyable. He touched many lives and was very proud of the Purple Tornadoes and the people of the Southern Local School District.
Accepting on behalf of Price were his sons, Larry Price and Sam Price and grandson Robbie Price.
John T. “Tom” Wolfe
Wolfe was born and raised in the community of East Letart, Ohio. He was a member of the 1944-48 basketball teams at Racine and graduated in 1948. In 1951, he enlisted in the United States Air Force for four years and served at Travis Air Force base in finance.
He began his professional career at the Racine Home National Bank and was able to impact his community through his 52 year affiliation with the bank. During his time as president of the bank, he served as chairman of the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital Board, Ohio Bankers Association Group Seven Board, Rio Grande Community College Board, The Community Investment Corporation, Dave Diles Celebrity Charity Golf Finance Committee, Master of the Racine Masonic Lodge, Chairman of the Board of Home National Bank and was a Sunday school teacher for 35 years.
His vision of the bank actively supporting youth in the community led to the Racine Home National Bank being one of the top buyers at the Meigs County Junior Livestock sale. In addition to the fair, his vision of the development of Star Mill Park, to include playground equipment, lighted ball fields, and a future museum, benefited the entire community.
Through his work with the Dave Diles Golf Tournament, many non profit entities benefited from the proceeds that were allocated by the finance committee. His love of Southern basketball inspired the creation of “Home National Bank Night.” Home National Bank Night offers the community free admission to the game and the popular scramble for cash. This practice continues to this day and has expanded to neighboring districts.
He realized the growing community of Syracuse was in need of a banking facility and the Syracuse branch of the Racine Home National Bank was built. He was honored by the Ohio Senate, 123rd General Assembly of Ohio, for 50 years of dedicated service to the banking industry in Racine.
One of the greatest impacts that he has had on the community was his assistance in locating three doctors to the Racine community, Dr. Margie Lawson, Dr. Doug Hunter, and Dr. Melanie Weese — a dentist, medical doctor, and optometrist respectively.
The community of Racine has prospered because the leadership of the bank chose to keep the bank a locally-owned banking institution. That leader, for the 28 years he was president and later chairman of the board, was Wolfe.
Wolfe was joined at the ceremony by his wife, Joan; daughter and son-in-law, Mickey and Dave Kucsma; son and daughter-in-law Fred and Jeanie Wolfe; grandchildren, John and wife Jennifer Hoback, Aaron and wife Missy Hoback, Troy Hoback, and Travis Grate, along with great-grandchildren, Jacob and Jonah Hoback.