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Mayor Andrew J. Ginther
City Hall 2nd Floor
90 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
Office : 614-645-7671
Email : Click to Send Email

The City of Columbus Hall of Fame honors outstanding individuals who, through exemplary accomplishments, have gained national recognition for themselves and have brought credit to this City.  

Fran Ryan

Fran Ryan Fran Ryan has a unique ability to mobilize support to realize a community vision, working tirelessly for decades to make Columbus the best possible place to work, live and raise a family. Since she came onto the Columbus scene in the early 1970s, she has jumping into each and every cause with both feet. - learn more

John T. “Jack” Ryan

John T. “Jack” Ryan Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, John T. Ryan forever changed the lives of thousands of students during his fifty years of teaching and coaching at Saint Charles Preparatory and Bishop Hartley High Schools. Known to most as Mr. or “Coach” Ryan, he dedicated his career to high school coaching and teaching. Mr. Ryan began his career at Saint Charles Preparatory School in 1936 where he taught health and science and coached baseball, basketball, and football. In 1942, during World War II John T. Ryan enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard, upon his return from his tour of duty in 1945, Mr. Ryan resumed his teaching and coaching career at Saint Charles until 1964. It was then when John T. Ryan began his twenty-five career at Bishop Hartley where he retired from in 1989. John T. Ryan is the only coach inducted into the Ohio Coaches Hall of Fame three times (baseball 1974, football 1988 and basketball 1992). In 1989, Bishop Hartley named their football stadium in his honor. In 1999, Saint Charles named their fitness and training facility in the coach’s honor. Both schools also have a memorial scholarship named in his honor. In 2000, John T. Ryan was named the Coach of the Century (Columbus Dispatch This Week). It is said that the only thing that John T. Ryan loved more than teaching and coaching was his wife Elaine of 51 years, his five children Kathleen, Patty, Jackie, Jimmy, Joe, and his grandchildren. - learn more

James Edward “Eddie” Saunders

James Edward “Eddie” Saunders James Edward “Eddie” Saunders made Columbus his home in 1937. In 1944, he produced the radio program “Swanee Hour” for the sick and shut-ins; he then continued to serve the community with her “Sermons and Songs” radio program. “Sermons and Songs,” the longest running religious program in the country started in 1948, when Saunders became the first black disc jockey in Columbus, Ohio.  - learn more

Laurel Lea Schaefer

Laurel Lea Schaefer Laurel Lea Schaefer, Miss America of 1972, has brought honor to herself and to her community through exemplary conduct and high regard for mankind. - learn more

George F. Schmidt

George F. Schmidt Geo. F. Schmidt, Founder of Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus, Civic and Community leader, Devoted Family man. - learn more

M.E. Sensenbrenner

M.E. Sensenbrenner Maynard Edward “Jack” Sensenbrenner served as Mayor of Columbus for an unprecedented fourteen years. During his tenure, Jack Sensenbrenner brought fame to Columbus as the definitive “All American City.” Undoubtedly, it was the aggressive annexation policy pursued under his leadership that has afforded Columbus Mayor Sensenbrenner’s most valuable legacy: Columbus unhampered by suburban land strangulation, has emerged as a premiere city in America, enjoying dramatic growth and diversity in its economy, its culture, and the arts. As Jack Sensenbrenner would say, Columbus still has “spizzerinctum.” - learn more

Lucas Sullivant

Lucas Sullivant Lucas Sullivant was a surveyor, soldier and settler in central Ohio in the years after the American Revolution. During the late 1790s, Sullivant was a surveyor in the Virginia Military District. He took his pay in some of the land he surveyed. In 1797, he laid out a town on the western bank of the Scioto River, near the place where the Whetstone River emptied into the Scioto. Today, the Whetstone River is called the Olentangy River. - learn more

R. David Thomas

R. David Thomas Founder of Wendy’s International restaurant chain, Mr. Thomas credits his childhood as an orphan with instilling his success drive. From a single restaurant in Columbus, the Wendy’s empire has grown to over 3800 worldwide. A strong supporter and active participant in charity work, he has given time and funding to Children’s Hospital in Columbus, St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, Recreation Unlimited for handicapped children, the Ohio State University Cancer Clinic and the Children’s Home Society of Florida. President George H.W. Bush named Dave Thomas as the spokesperson for an adoption initiative. His autobiography “Dave’s Way” funds national adoption awareness campaigns. Dave Thomas is a man who equates giving with living. - learn more

James Thurber

James Thurber An internationally famed writer, artist and cartoonist, James Thurber gave laughter to a world so often burdened with crisis and tragedy. Born in Columbus in 1894, Thurber’s writings included many stories about his native city and the college he attended, Ohio State University. Thurber wrote for the Columbus Dispatch and New Yorker magazine, among other publications. E.B. White described Thurber best he said, “His thoughts have always been a tangle of baseball scores, Civil War Tactical problems, Henry James, personal maladjustment, terrier puppies, literary rip tides, ancient myths and modern apprehensions. Through this jungle stalk the unpredictable ghosts of his relations in Columbus, Ohio.” - learn more

Howard Thurston

Howard Thurston Often called “The World’s Greatest Magician,” Howard Thurston fooled kings and commons and became their friend. Born in Columbus in 1869, Thurston’s interest in magic was stirred while attending a performance by Hermann the Great at the Ohio Theatre. Reportedly the famed magician walked through the audience and produced a large brass button from under Thurston’s chin. From that moment on, Thurston was enchanted by the ancient art. He traveled the world performing great magical feats to the delight of thousands. But be never forgot the people in his native city, returning annually for twenty-nine years to entertain his friends in Columbus. - learn more

Mary Catherine Campbell Townley

Mary Catherine Campbell Townley Mary Catherine Campbell Townley was crowned Miss America in 1922 and again in 1923, becoming the only two-time winner in the pageant’s history. Her picture was submitted to the famed contest by her boyfriend while she was a student at East High School. She later attended Ohio State University and Ohio Wesleyan Universities. Always shy and embarrassed about her reign as Miss America, she rarely discussed it and many of her friends in adult life never knew she wore the coveted crown. - learn more

Reverend Leon Troy Sr.

Reverend Leon Troy Sr. Reverend Leon L. Troy was born in Cleveland, Ohio and attended schools in Toledo, graduating from Scott High School.  He received his B.A. degree from the University of Toledo, his B.D. from Oberlin Graduate School of Theology and his M.D. from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.  He has done studies at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Francisco, California. - learn more

James R. Trueman

James R. Trueman Trueman climbed to the pinnacles of success as a businessman and sportsman. He founded the Columbus-based Red Roof Inns, Inc. in 1972, which became the largest privately owned and operated motel chain in the country. A skilled race car driver, Trueman bought and revitalized the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 1981, transforming it into a world-famous racing facility.  - learn more

Tuskegee Airmen The "Tuskegee Airmen" are the participants in an Army Air Corps program that was administered through the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. The program trained African-Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft before and during World War II. - learn more

Ann B. Walker

Ann B. Walker Ann B. Walker was the first female and African-American journalist to cover Columbus City Hall and the State of Ohio.  Ann B. Walker worked as a radio host, journalist, editor and columnist in Columbus for decades. She is a woman of many firsts: the first woman in broadcast management at WLWC-TV - learn more

Bill Willis

Bill Willis A leader in the area of athletics, recreation and youth activities, Bill Willis is a credit to his profession and native city. Willis began his athletic career as a football star at East High School and later became an All American tackle at Ohio State University in 1944. A standout professional player for the Cleveland Browns from 1946-1953, Willis has been enshrined in the Football Hall of Fame. Willis was the third member appointed in 1963 to the Ohio Youth Commission. He later was appointed Commission director. - learn more

Catherine Willis

Catherine Willis A dedicated community activist for many years, Catherine supported education, the arts, and family advocacy. She has been involved in The United Negro College Fund, a founding member of Friends of Art for Community Enrichment, The Ohio Wesleyan University Upward Bound program. She was a member of the SOUL committee which helped promote art from the National Afro American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce University - learn more

Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson Multi-talented recording star and actress Nancy Wilson is a favorite of millions of Americans. While a student at West High School, Miss Wilson spent much of her time developing her singing talent and poise. And after attending Wilberforce College, she decided on a singing career, touring the Midwest and Canada. She hosted her own Columbus television series, then signed with Capitol Records and produced 14 albums in her first six years. Miss Wilson’s dramatic acting debut came in 1966 in NBC’s “I Spy” series. Always anxious to help the less fortunate, she conducts her own campaign to combat the school dropout problem by performing free concerts in ghetto schools, followed by a talk on the advantages of education. - learn more

Harry Preston Wolfe

Harry Preston Wolfe H.P. Wolfe, humanist and entrepreneur and brother, Robert Frederick Wolfe, were long involved in the development of Columbus in character and economic growth. - learn more

Robert Frederick Wolfe

Robert Frederick Wolfe "I was born to circumstances which I refused to accept. I changed them." - R.F. Wolfe.
  R.F. Wolfe, a man of vision and spirit, and brother, Harry Preston Wolfe, were long involved in the development of Columbus in character and economic growth. As co-founder of the Wolfe Bros. Shoe Company in 1895, and as Publisher of the Ohio State Journal (1903) and The Columbus Dispatch (1905), the Wolfe brothers battled for the civic welfare of Columbus citizens, exposing graft and corruption without regard to personal strife.   In 1907, in a move to save a failing banking establishment, the Wolfe brothers diverted their private funds into the Ohio Trust Company, which ultimately led to the formation of the BancOhio Corporation - an organization of affiliated banks in Central Ohio.   His unconquerable spirit is still remembered as well as his respect for his fellow man. - learn more

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