Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series on the five local woman who will be inducted into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame at the annual recognition dinner on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The event starts at 6 p.m. at the Southern State Community College Atrium in Hillsboro. Tickets are $16 each and can be purchased at The Times-Gazette. This story features Mary Ann Sommers Larkin with the information taken from the form nominating her for the honor.
There are persons who quietly do for others wherever they see a need. Mary Ann Summers Larkin is one of these. She seems to do this because “it is the thing to do,” drawing no attention to what she is doing.
Roberta Riley wrote: I have known Mary Ann since high school when her family moved to our community from Cincinnati. She soon joined the youth at the Greenfield Presbyterian Church and has continued her active participation with this church throughout the past 60-plus years.
My personal church-connected experience with Mary Ann came about when I was organizing a before and after school child care program. I was seeking a location and approached the minister, the Rev. John Quist, about the possibility of sharing space in the church with its preschool. Rev. Quist referred me to Mary Ann as one who could, and would, help me. She was already a member of the preschool board and he requested that she serve as a member of the supervising board of my program. From that point until the before and after school program moved to the school and came under the board of education three years later, Mary Ann enthusiastically worked with me, always ready to do whatever was needed. This notably included filling in when we were short of staff and making necessary trips to Cincinnati to the district office of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which was our certifying agency.
Years earlier, I was her supervisor at the Greenfield Elementary School where I was able to observe first hand her caring expertise with her third grade students.
As a fellow officer in the area branch of the American Association of University Women, Mary Ann stepped forward to help me with a successful booth introducing AAUW at a graduation fair at Southern State Community College at a time when our fellow members felt we had been given too short a notice.
Ruth Anna Duff, a church co-worker with Larkin, wrote: Mary Ann has served, at one time or another, at every level in our local church – as elder, deacon, moderator of the Presbyterian Women, as well as a leader of numerous small groups. She has also served as secretary of the district. Mary Ann and I originated the annual tasting luncheon, a fundraiser popular with both men and women of the church as well as the community. We continued as co-chairmen for several years before handing it over to others.
Donna Tolle, Edgewood Manor activities director, ended her comments about Larkin with “We loved her!” She also said: Mary Ann’s sister and brother-in-law were residents of Edgewood Manor, a nursing and assisted living facility, for 10 and eight years, respectively, until their deaths. During this time, Mary Ann spent hundreds of hours volunteering at the Manor. Once a month she prepared and brought in lunch for any residents who desired to come to eat. Another week she provided a cake for residents celebrating birthdays. Mary Ann is a talented storyteller and regularly shared stories and poems, and snacks.
Mary Ann organized a Red Hat Society for residents. The men did not want to wear red hats, so a Cowboy Hats Society was organized. Both groups continue today.
Mary Ann Larkin is deserving of consideration for induction into the Highland County Women’s Hall of Fame. For her contributions as a woman, church and community leader, child advocate, and teacher, I hereby nominate her.
Glenna Barr, who nominated Larkin for the award, said she is “someone you should know.” She also wrote: Mary Ann Larkin, Cope Road, Greenfield, Highland County is a retired teacher of 20 years and a public librarian for 15 years. After retirement, Mary Ann continued to work as a volunteer on the boards of the Basic Child Care Unit at the Greenfield schools, the First Presbyterian Church Preschool, and the Greenhills Retirement Village. She is an active member of Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Chi Chapter, History Club, Social Civic Club of New Petersburg, The Highland County American Association of University Women, and is presently the recording secretary of the Highland County Retired Teachers Association, and the Red Hat Society. She was chairman of the 2006 essay contest sponsored by the AAUW, co-chairman of the First Presbyterian Church Women’s fundraising events, a tasting luncheon and previous Christmas Cookie Walk.
She is a member of the Presbyterian Women’s Association and Session and received the Faith Award from the Presbyterian Women Association of Scioto Valley Presbytery. Most notably, Mary Ann received a certificate from the Ohio Retired Teachers Association for accumulating 475 volunteer hours in 2005.
Mary Ann visits the residents and her sister several times a week at Greenfield Edgewood Manor. She cooks and serves a monthly luncheon to any resident who wishes to attend and organized a Red Hat Society for the women residents. Needless to say, everyone looks forward to her visitations at the Manor.
She is also very dedicated to her family: husband, John; son, Jay, and his wife, Teresa; and her two granddaughters, Taylor and Rachel. John and she live on a farm that has been in his family since 1828 and is recognized as a Century Farm. She gives presentations about the farm’s history as well as telling many humorous stories and displays memorabilia about the family farm.
She is an animal lover. It is well known that if you drop off any animal at the farm, it is sure to be cared for and loved.
As you can understand from all of her activities, Mary Ann is a very energetic and enthused person, a cancer survivor, and is someone to know.