HUBBARD TOWNSHIP - Margaret Gillmer Kroehle Dennison of Hubbard Township died peacefully at home with her family by her side Friday, Sept. 17, 2010.
She was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Ralph and Marion Kroehle, June 14, 1920.
She attended Warren City Schools and was awarded her high school diploma from Branksome Hall, Toronto, Canada. Margaret received her A.B. in 1942 from Bryn Mawr College, where she studied American and modern European history. Mrs. Dennison then served in the American Red Cross in England and at the end of the war, in Germany, where she was stationed at the Dachau concentration camp, which had been converted to a center for displaced persons and German prisoners of war after liberation.
She worked for United Press International as a reporter for the Nuremburg trials but returned home for a brief leave before returning to Germany to begin her assignment. She ended up staying in Ohio and marrying her lifelong best friend, David Short Dennison, in 1946.
She worked with her husband on his successful bid for the 11th District Congressional seat in 1954, and subsequent campaigns. She worked as an editor for The Rotary, the in-house paper of her family's business, the Peerless Electric Company.
Margaret was elected to the Ohio Legislature in 1962. She held this post with great distinction until 1968 when she decided against running for a fourth term. She had more bills passed in her freshman year than any other freshman representative in the history of the state. She was recognized for her contributions to Ohio's public education system. While in the Ohio House, Mrs. Dennison sponsored the bill that built Kent State University's Trumbull Campus and co-sponsored the legislation which gave Youngstown College state university status and support. As a result of her work for the public schools, she was made an honorary member of the local and state chapters of Delta Kappa Gamma, a teacher's professional association. She was awarded the Ohio Education Association's Golden Apple.
Among her many professional accomplishments, Mrs. Dennison helped to design and fund the Children Services Board in Trumbull County.
In 1970 Margaret ran unsuccessfully for the congressional seat long held by Mike Kirwan. Following the congressional race, Margaret renovated a complex of century barns in Hubbard Township into distinctive homes.
Margaret bought the Austintown Leader, which became successful under her care. In due course, she sold the paper to the Niles Times and she worked for the Niles Times as editor of the editorial pages for the Niles Times weeklies.
In 1978 Dennison was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Trumbull County Commissioner vacated by Lyle Williams. She won successive terms at the polls until 1984. Margaret served the County faithfully and, again, with great distinction. As commissioner, Margaret focused on improving the county's water and sewer systems and worked to establish an orderly departmental budget process, improvements in the county administrative procedures and other benefits.
In the course of her career, Margaret served on the board of the Kent State Trumbull Campus, the Warren Trumbull Urban League, the Trumbull Memorial Hospital Board of Governors, the National Society of State Legislators and the board of the Youngstown Symphony Society. She served on the board of the Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens and was a member of the Tourist Club. Margaret was a member and past president of The Garden Club of Youngstown.
Margaret shared the directorship of the Ralph and Marion Gillmer Kroehle Foundation with her brothers Hugh and David, continuing the legacy left to her by her parents to support education, health services and other philanthropic programs. She worked with her mother, Marion Kroehle and her brothers, to make a gift of the Gillmer House, the home of Margaret's grandparents, Elmer and Jennie Gillmer, to the Trumbull Art Guild. Gillmer House served as the permanent home of TAG for many years.
Mrs. Dennison was a Republican committeewoman and active in the party most of her career. She served as a docent at the Butler Institute of American Art until 1998. She taught the ''Great Books'' program to gifted children in the Niles City Schools and worked with the mentoring program at St. John's Episcopal Church, where she was a member of the vestry and a proud recipient of the 2000 Community Service Award.
She was a supporter of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Nature Conservancy. She was an amateur landscape architect. Margaret designed and built a number of distinguished gardens throughout her adult life.
Margaret is survived by her daughter, Jennie Dennison-Budak (Anthony Budak); her beloved granddaughter, Cordelia; stepgrandson, Anthony Budak of Olmstead Falls; her sister-in-law, Lida Kroehle; three nieces; three nephews and their children. She was preceded in death by her brothers, David (Pete) and Hugh Kroehle, and her son, David Whitman Dennison, who died in October 2009.
In keeping with Margaret's firm request, there will be no calling hours or funeral. A private interment service will be held at Oakwood Cemetery. Gifts in her memory may be made to the Trumbull Art Gallery, 196 E. Market St., Warren, OH 44481 or The Jeanette Jackson Memorial Scholarship, care of Kent State Trumbull Campus, 4314 Mahoning Ave. N.W., Warren, OH 44483.
The family extends special thanks to Celtic Health Care Hospice for its devoted care and support of Margaret and her immediate family. The family thanks Margaret's extended family and friends for their appreciation of the remarkable woman she was and her legacy of public service, compassion and intellectual curiosity.
Arrangements are entrusted to McFarland & Son Funeral Services Co. 271 N. Park Ave., Warren, OH 44481. Please visit www.mcfarlandfuneral.com to view this obituary and send condolences.