Historic Reflection: Old Time Stryker Homecoming Celebrations

From 1921 to 1958, Stryker hosted an annual homecoming celebration over Labor Day weekend. The 1953 homecoming event commemorated Ohio’s 150th anniversary and Stryker’s 100th birthday. On Labor Day 1953, couples married for 50 years or more were honored during a special ceremony. The Stryker Advance newspaper reported:

“Stryker has 19 couples who have been married for 50 years or more. Most of them were able to participate in the centennial celebration on Monday, by first being part of the float entered by the American Legion Auxiliary. Following the parade, they were escorted to the speaker’s platform, where they were given due honor by talks by Wendell Grisier, Don Wolfe of the Toledo Blade, and Frank Kniffin. The response was very ably given by one of the group, Mr. B. E. Woodard, who forcibly gave the community a three-point program of good advice to carry home with them: First—Agree to disagree; second—Unite for service; third—Rejoice in love.

“Those from this community were the bride and groom who appeared on the float, Mr. and Mrs. George Wieland, married 63 years; Mr. and Mrs. Enos Harris, 60 years; Mr. and Mrs. O. L. Yackee, 58 years; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Clark, married 57 years (not able to be present); two couples married 54 years, Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Sloan and Dr. and Mrs. A.G. Goll (Mr. and Mrs. Sloan were attendants on the float); Mr. and Mrs. George Planson and Mr. and Mrs. T. F. Oberlin, both couples married 52 years; four couples married 51 years, Mr. and Mrs. B. E. Woodward, Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Bolles, Mr. and Mrs. Amandus Short, and Mr. an Mrs. Joseph Tretter (Mr. and Mrs. Short not present). In the 50-year group were Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Wiederkehr, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Stuckey, Mr. and Mrs. C. Z. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Manning and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Daft. Two other couples from Stryker were found to be Mr. and Mrs. Menno Beck and Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Stephens.

“Other golden wedding anniversary couples from out of town were Mr. and Mrs. Fred Henning of Columbus, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyers of Edon, Mr. and Mrs. Guy Mignin of Archbold, Mr. and Mrs. Sol Andres of Ney and Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Starr of Bryan.

“The total number of married years represented by the golden wedding anniversary couples from Stryker and vicinity is 1,008, over ten centennials.”

This September 7, 1953, photograph showing the 50+ year married couples during the Labor Day homecoming event at the intersection of Defiance and Lynn streets in Stryker is from the 1978 Williams County history book published by the Williams County Historical Society.


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