Martins Ferry Hall of Honor adds four

MARTINS FERRY – There are now 32 members in the illustrious Martins Ferry Hall of Honor after four well-deserving individuals were inducted Sunday afternoon.

“We are here today to honor four individuals for their accomplishments in the business field, jet propulsion, firefighting training and the medical field,” said Master of Ceremonies and Hall of Honor President Warren Hood. “This is a great class of individuals.”

James W. Everson, Anthony “Tony” Spear, C. Willis “Bill” Troy and Dr. Simon Brown West are now members of the Class of 2013, which is the sixth such class.

Everson was the first to be enshrined. He was presented by Hall of Honor Vice President Richard Hord and HofH Treasurer Vicky Capuano.

“It is a honor and privilege for me to present James Everson for induction,” Hord told the huge crowd which gathered in the Martins Ferry High School cafetorium. “I grew up next to the Everson family on Virginia Street. They were the model family and wonderful people.”

Hord told a story about his longtime neighbor when he was a young lad.

“Someone asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up, and he replied, ‘I want to be a banker one day,'” Hord relayed.

Everson said his induction probably wasn’t an easy decision for the committee.

“I know your deliberations had to be long and drawn-out,” he told the committee. “Good grief. Let’s be honest about this now. I was a banker working over 50 years in the community. Let’s be honest with one another. This is not an easy guy to like.

“As I slid down the banister of living in those many years, I collected my share of splinters in my career,” he added. “Having to collect past-due loans. Having to say no to risky ventures. Having to terminate an employee.

“Today is a perfect day for me to make a public apology to all those I’ve offended during those years,” he said jokingly. “Look around, I know some of you out there. I’m sorry. I was doing my job.”

Everson also said his honor had the fingerprints of many people on it. He publicly thanked numerous people that were members of The Citizens Bank back in those days.

Everson was born in Martins Ferry in 1939. He graduated from Martins Ferry High School in 1957 and The Ohio State University four years later with a bachelor of science degree in commercial banking. He started working as a teller at Citizens Bank in 1959 and became bank president/CEO in 1973.

During his tenure, bank assets increased from $17 million to more than $445 million. He also added 20 bank branches and a banking branch center. He received many accolades for his community service to the Purple City.

He retired as bank president in 2004. His family includes his wife, Marlene, children Dana, James Jr., Scott and Todd and 11 grandchildren.

Spear, who was presented by HofH committee member and Councilman Chris Cleary, was born in Martins Ferry in 1936. He attended St. Mary’s School and graduated from St. John Central High School in Bellaire in 1954. He went into the United States Air Force where he served for four years before attending Carnegie Tech, which is now Carnegie Mellon University, where he received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. He then started working at the Jet Propulsion Lab.

He continued his education part-time, earning a master’s degree in electrical engineering from USC at Los Angeles in 1969 and a master’s degree in engineeringe from UCLA in 1972.

In 1969, Spear designed the Viking Mission Lander, and in 2012 worked in World Wide Consulting. He also served as project manager with the Mars Pathfinder Lander.

“I’ve got plaques from NASA and the President,” said Spear, who came from California for the ceremony. “I’ve even got a Christmas card from the President, but this means more than any of those things when it comes down to meaning.”

Spear has two daughters, Maria and Kristen, and four grandchildren

Troy, who was presented by Les Douglas, was born in 1931 in Martins Ferry. He joined the Martins Ferry Volunteer Fire Department in 1956 and then worked on the state level with his career spanning 41 years in firefighting, rescue and emergency medical services education. In 1970, he joined the Ohio Department of Education as a specialist in emergency care and rescue training. In 1985, his responsibilities grew to include fire, EMS and police training.

He oversaw the successful transfer of this section into the Ohio Department of Public Safety in 1991 and coordinated special projects in the department’s Division of Emergency Medical Services. During 26 years of service, he presented hundreds of instructor training courses in emergency victim care and rescue instruction at the Ohio State Fire School and helped to develop the first state emergency medical services resource manual for disaster incidents.

“I really appreciate this honor,” Troy said.

Troy’s family includes his wife, Ruth Marie, and children, Bradley and Kathy, and two grandchildren.

John Applegarth, HofH secretary, told about West, who was Martins Ferry’s first physician. West was born in Jefferson County in 1812. He was graduated from medical college in Cincinnati, having earlier studied medicine with his brother, Dr. Henry West.

He returned to Martins Ferry where his medical practice led him up and down the Ohio Valley on horseback for nearly 50 years. He was active in community affairs and was very enterprising. He was always willing to aid in social and civic projects to improve the Purple City.

The doctor served as director of the Ohio Nail City Factory,

West married Mary Zane Martin, daughter of the founder of Martins Ferry, Ebenezer Martin. They had eight children, with only one still surviving. He served in the Civil War as a Union surgeon and is buried in Walnut Grove Cemetery.

Accepting the plaque for West was the Rev. Tom Thomas, former HofH president. Richard Finney of Harrisville, who is a relative of West, was recognized during the program.

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