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2014 class of Great Ohioans chosen

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Jan 27, 2014 at 12:07 PM

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB) and the Capitol Square Foundation have announced the 2014 Great Ohioans.

The 2014 honorees were presented by the Capitol Square Foundation and unanimously approved by the twelve-member CSRAB. The two honorees were selected from nominations submitted by individuals and organizations throughout Ohio.

The 2014 Great Ohioans are: Annie Oakley, superstar sharpshooter and educator, and Jerri Mock, first woman to fly around the world.

“This year we honor two individuals who were pioneers in their fields. Both honorees gained international recognition for their extraordinary accomplishments. These two women have inspired, and continue to inspire, future generations of Ohioans with their skill and drive; they have set themselves apart as true global trailblazers,” said CSRAB Executive Director William Carleton.

The Great Ohioan Award commemorates Ohioans who have played a significant role in an event or series of events of lasting significance in World, American or Ohio history. To be selected for the Great Ohioan Award, the nominee must have resided in Ohio for a minimum of five years. In addition, at least 25 years must have passed since the event in which the nominee participated is being commemorated.

Here are biographies of the latest honorees:


Annie Oakley was born August 13, 1860, in Darke County, Ohio. Her birth name was Phoebe Anne Mozee. Oakley received a limited formal education, but she became an expert markswoman at a young age. She assisted her parents in paying off the mortgage on the family farm by selling wild game that she killed in Cincinnati.

By the mid-1870s, Oakley had earned a name for herself thanks to her shooting skills. In 1875, she won a contest against Frank Butler, a marksman who earned a living by performing in circuses. Butler convinced Oakley to travel with him across the country, demonstrating her skills. The two performers eventually married.

In 1885, the couple joined "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West Show. Oakley became known as "Miss Annie Oakley, the Peerless Lady Wing-Shot." In her act, Oakley routinely split a card in two edge-wise with a single shot from thirty paces. She shot cigarettes out of her husband's mouth and, on a tour of Europe, even performed this same act with Crown Prince Wilhelm, who eventually became Kaiser Wilhelm II, the leader of Germany. Oakley also shot dimes thrown into the air.

Oakley remained with the Wild West Show until 1901, when she became partially paralyzed in a train accident. She eventually recovered and returned to show business. She died on November 3, 1926. The Broadway musical "Annie Get Your Gun" is a fictitious account of Oakley's life.


Geraldine Fredritz Mock was born on November 22, 1925, in Newark, Ohio. Mock, better known as "Jerrie," was the first woman to fly around the world. On March 9, 1964, Mock took off from Columbus in her plane, the "Spirit of Columbus, The "Spirit of Columbus" was a Cessna 180. Mock's trip around the world took twenty-nine days, eleven hours, and fifty-nine minutes, with the pilot returning to Columbus on April 17, 1964.

She had flown 23,103 miles. On this flight, Mock had set the round-the-world speed record for planes smaller than 3,858 pounds. As a result of her flight, President Lyndon Baines Johnson awarded Mock the Federal Aviation Administration's Exceptional Service Decoration. In 1975, Mock's Cessna was donated to the National Air and Space Museum. For her contributions to flight, the Federation Aeronautique Internationale honored Mock with its Louis Bleriot Medal, the organization's highest honor. Mock was the first woman and also the first U.S. citizen to receive the medal.

Mock leads an active life beyond flying. She served as producer of Youth Has Its Say, the first television program dedicated to allowing children to voice their opinions. She authored several magazine articles and a book, and Mock also wrote and directed a radio program, Opera Preludea. Mock resides in Quincy, Florida.

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Since 2003, 30 other Great Ohioans have been recognized with the award for the special roles they played in history. The Great Ohioans include:

2003 Class: Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors of powered flight; John Glenn, first American to orbit the earth; and Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon;

2008 Class: Jesse Owens, Olympic track and field star; Thomas Edison, inventor; Harriet Beecher Stowe, author; James Thurber, journalist and author; Colonel Charles Young, military leader; Dr. George Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic;

2009 Class: Catherine Nelson Black, health care humanitarian; Salmon P. Chase, Ohio Governor, Secretary of the Treasury and Supreme Court Chief Justice; Paul Laurence Dunbar, poet and author; Charles F. Kettering, inventor; Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I fighter ace; Denton T. “Cy” Young, baseball legend;

2010 Class: James M. Cox, journalist, member of the United States House of Representatives, Ohio Governor; Florence Ellinwood Allen, first woman Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Bob Feller, baseball legend; and Bill Willis, National Football League hall of famer;

2011 Class: Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War General and U.S. President; William Moore McCulloch, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman and civil rights advocate; William Howard Taft, U.S. President and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice; and Harriet Taylor Upton, women’s rights advocate and author;

2012 Class: Gordon Battelle, philanthropist and researcher; Dominic Salavtore “Don” Gentile, World War II fighter pilot; Washington Gladden, clergyman and social reformer; Albert Belmont Graham, founder of the 4-H program; Albert Sabin, medical researcher best known for the oral polio vaccine; and William T. Sherman, Civil War general;

2013 Class: Paul Brown, legendary football player and coach; James Garfield, U.S. President and Governor of Ohio; and Granville T. Woods, inventor.

“Through their accomplishment, each Great Ohioan has changed the trajectory of the United State and the world. We hope that every Statehouse visitor is inspired by the narrative of each one of the men and women who we have recognized with this honor,” said Capitol Square Foundation Chairman Charles Moses.

Great Ohioan honorees and their achievements are archived in a permanent Great Ohioan exhibit, which is part of the Ohio Statehouse Museum. While countless Ohioans have performed great actions for their community and beyond, only a select few have been named a “Great Ohioan.” This exhibit allows visitors to have a greater understanding of the recipients of the Great Ohioan award and discover how they affected local, national and world history. The exhibit uses videos, photos, facts and web based technology to explore the life and legacy of each Great Ohioan.

Opened in 2009, the Ohio Statehouse Museum features high-tech, interactive exhibits that make learning about all three branches of state government immersive. The museum is packed with historical artifacts and images that detail how government works and who has come to serve their fellow citizens.

The Museum includes 5,000 square feet of exhibit space on the ground floor of the Ohio Statehouse that enriches the experience of school children and visitors. The Museum offers exhibits that encourage visitors to participate in the government process by making choices, expressing their opinions, comparing viewpoints and even becoming a part of an exhibit by giving a State of the State address. The museum’s “deep dive” approach to education enables visitors to better relate to the governing process.

All citizens, especially teachers and students, are encouraged to participate in the nomination process to select the 2015 class of honorees. A complete explanation of the nomination process and nomination forms can be found online at www.capitolsquarefoundation.org.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board is responsible for maintaining the historic character of the Statehouse and Capitol Square while providing for the health, safety and convenience of those who work in or visit the complex.  The Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center coordinates tours of Capitol Square and provides information about the buildings, their history and Ohio's government.

The Ohio Statehouse shines a light on the history of this great edifice, its symbolic meaning and its vital historic and ongoing connections to the daily lives of all Ohioans.

The Capitol Square Foundation was established in 1987 to increase public awareness of and to involve citizens in the history of the Ohio Statehouse. Its purpose is to raise funds to obtain, restore and maintain artifacts and other items related to the history and enhancement of the grand monument and its adjoining grounds, so that the seat of Ohio's government may reflect the dignity of the state and its citizens.

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