August 22, 2014

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This and That — Women in History Part III PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, April 27, 2014 8:00 PM

Time magazine puts its Person of the Year on the front cover of the January issue and The Delphos Herald picks the man and woman of the year. Many celebrities and famous people are chosen to be remembered for their achievements. That’s why I wanted to pay tribute to the women in history from our area. There are many more but these are the ones who touched my life and the lives of many others. In Chapter I, I featured Rita Turnwald from Ottoville and in Part II, I featured Verena Brinkman from Ottoville and Fort Jennings and Imogene Elwer from Fort Jennings and Delphos. This list could go on and on.

For Women in History Part III, I have chosen Marie Uhrich. Marie was born in 1902 in Fort Loramie to Ferdinand and Adella (Willman) Uhrich. She spent most of her life in Fort Jennings and passed away 28 January 1990. Marie was a teacher and principal at Fort Jennings High School. In school, she taught English, Latin, typing, bookkeeping and much, much more.

She wanted her students to be made aware of the outside world. In those days, there were many people who didn’t venture out of the state of Ohio, except for those young men who were called into service during World War II. That isn’t the best way to see the world. Miss Uhrich helped us to expand our lives. She sponsored a trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana, for those who wanted to go. This writer was among that group. We boarded the Pennsylvania passenger train in Van Wert for our trip to the big city of Fort Wayne. While there, we visited a beautiful large movie theatre to see “Singing in the Rain.” We made our return trip to Ohio by Greyhound Bus to Van Wert. She wanted us to have those experiences.

Marie was the teacher in charge of the National Honor Society. One evening she took us to supper at one of the big restaurants in Lima. We had to dress up……girls in a suit or nice dress with a hat, white gloves and a purse.

Miss Uhrich also introduced me to genealogy and family history. Way back then I made my first pedigree chart and still have it. She also encouraged and helped us find foreign pen pals. Mine were from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Australia.

She encouraged reading the Readers Digest but I’ll bet she’d be disappointed in it now.

I must admit that I was one of the students who had to write: “I may not chew gum in Miss Uhrich’s classes” 500 times.

She made students memorize “In Flanders Fields” and the last verse of “Thanatopsis”. She said it was to train our memory. Only now, at the age of 82, do I realize why she chose “Thanatopsis” by William Cullen Bryant.

It goes like this:

So live, that when the summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious real, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave

Like one who wraps the drapery to his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Marie Uhrich taught at Fort Jennings High School until 1976. As we are making plans to celebrate the 65th reunion of the class of 1949, we look back and recall that we had some of the best teachers to walk the halls of any high school.


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