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Historical Photos


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Thursday, May 29, 1980


PIX #1 - Former band members under Wainwright posed with some family members for this photo. Left to right, front row: Mitch Lieberman, Betty Wainwright Palmer, Dr. William L. Wainwright, and John A. Wainwright Sr. Back row: Robert Crain, George Gray, Park Richards, Dr. James Carter, James Guernsey and Ernie Duffield.


The only disappointment to mar the dedication of the Wainwright Memorial Amphitheater last sunday was the absence of Mrs. J.W. "Jack" Wainwright. She had planned to be present from the time it was decided that the new Meadowlark Park facility would be named in honor of Jack. I telephoned her a week ago to tell her the whole town was awaiting the event, and was informed that her health would not permit the trip to Fostoria.

Mrs. Wainwright had, however, made extensive plans to have the whole Wainwright family present at the dedication ceremonies and come they did. 25 of them to see the new facility dedicated and named in Jack's honor, and to witness Fostoria's continued interest in music, sparked so many years ago when Jack and his wife arrived in town to start a music program at Fostoria High School, which spread to schools throughout the nation.

In my series of Potluck articles that appeared in the RT in 1979, I reported that Jack Wainwright's family, who came to this country from Derbyshire, England in 1182, were all musical - all 11 of them - but Jack was the only one that pursued music as a career.

The Wainwright interest in music, however, has not diminished - on the contrary, it has expanded, as the following list of those who attended the dedication ceremonies, and what they are now doing, will reveal.


Some readers will recall that Betty Wainwright Palmer, the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wainwright was always involved in music, even at an early age. She became a talented harpist and for many years played with symphony orchestras. She also taught at the University of Seattle, where she and her husband, Dr. R.A. Palmer, have resided for many years. In more recent years she has been devoting her time to composition, although she continues to play the harp.

Palmer, Betty's husband, was not a newcomer to Fostoria when he arrived Sunday. Mrs. Wainwright had told me in advance that he was born in Fostoria, and is the son of Dr. Palmer, who was a physician here years ago. In fact, his father was mentioned in a recent Potluck story on Dr. Leonard's Fostoria Hospital.

The Wainwright's oldest son, John A. Sr., lives in LaGrange, Ind. He works for the Indiana Highway Department and is also involved in music, having a band. He was a little weary when I met him lat Sunday at the dedication, having played for a dance program the night before, prior to driving to Fostoria. His son, John A. Jr., is a bandmaster, like his noted grandfather. John Jr. and his wife were also at the dedication.

Dr. William L. Wainwright of Boulder Col., youngest son of the Wainwrights, is an engineering graduate of Purdue. He follows that profession, but is involved in music in various ways in his community.

Janna Wainwright Reinking, a granddaughter, was also present for the dedication with her husband, Harold. She teaches music in the Fort Wayne, Ind., school system.


Readers will be interested to learn that Ernest Wainwright, of Caledonia, Mich., Jack's brother, the only member of the immediate family still living, was present at the dedication. He was the 11th and last child in the family, and was born and reared at Lisbon, Ohio.

Other members of the Wainwright clan present for the Sunday dedication program were: Jay Wainwright, Wolcottville, Ind., a grandson; Mrs. Paul Wainwright, Elyria, Ohio, a sister-in-law; Mrs. Elmer Schmidt and Frances Lindesmith, nieces from Elyria; Mr. and Mrs. Dick Wainwright, Elyria, a nephew; Donald Caldwell and wife Nancy (Wainwright), a niece from Lakeside, Ohio; and Mrs. Stanley Rex, Clearence and Jean Monhart, Miss Marian Davis, Paul Davis, all from the Cleveland area, nieces and nephews.


Vic Markovich, who researched Jack Wainwright's musical career and accomplishments more thoroughly than any other person, presenting his findings in his college thesis, did an excellent job of providing the audience at the Sunday dedication ceremonies a complete but digested account of Jack. Markovich directs the Warren, Ohio, High School Band.

A highlight of the Toledo Symphony concert on Sunday was their last number... "Stars and Stripes Forever" of Jack Wainwright's special numbers, which never failed to bring an audience to their feet with resounding applause. Symphony's rendition must have stirred memories of Jack among the listeners because they received great applause and a standing ovation.

Lack of advance publicity to out-of-towners, who were associated with the Wainwright's musical work in the schools years ago diminished their attendence. The accompanying photo shows some of those "old" musicians who were present, photographed with some of the visiting Wainwrights. A few more present failed to "show" for the photo.


Asked about her evaluation of the new Wainwright Memorial Amphitheater, Betty Wainwright Palmer expressed her praise and appreciation for the new facility. She said she wouldn't have missed the dedication for anything.

The wind plagued the musicians and their directors as it continually "flipped" the music scores or blew them from the racks. The condition prompted Betty to suggest considering some type of curtain for the two sides of the stage, which could be lowered on windy days.

The acoustics of the new facility seemed to be excellent.

Omar Blackman, Director, Ohio State Fair Band, and Daniel Baker, President Ohio Music Educators Association, were both present for Sunday's dedication. They must have felt a deep appreciation for Jack Wainwright's efforts in forming those two still functioning organizations back in the 1920's.

Sunday's dedication program must have been especially important to Vivian Pearson, Fostorian, who served as Wainwright's secretary from the time he came to Fostoria. Markovich's story of Jack's musical career was surely a playback for her, since she was deeply involved in those events. Vivian sat on the stage as a dignitary with others.

I'm sure Jack Wainwright's spirit pronounced "Amen" on the new Amphitheater and for the ceremonies with a wish that music will continue in Fostoria as a means of entertainment and glory to God, and that youth, especially be reached and benefitted by it.

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