Galion mourns passing
of her grand dame

 
By PAMELA HENNEY
Inquirer Editor

"What she's given to Galion can never ever begin to be measured," Marcia Burkhart, organist at First United Church of Christ, said of Galion's grand lady -Miss Miriam Sayre.

The legendary English teacher, dramatist, historian and organist died yesterday morning and will be burled in Fairview Cemetery on Friday morning. In her wake, Miss Sayre leaves Galionites with a wealth of fond memories.

Miss Sayre read for the Bishop "Anytime I needed to know something I could ask her," a former student and now Galion Historical Society President Craig Clinger explained. "She knew far more about Galion than what could be found in books. She knew the people and their personalities

Having known Bishop William Montgomery Brown and having worked for him as a reader for so many years,

Clinger said Miss Sayre's contribution to the Galion Historical Society has been invaluable. He explained that so much information could have been lost without her assistance. "We're going to miss her," Clinger added.

Her impact on Galionites far exceeds her work with the historical society. A teacher for 40 years, Miss Sayre had directed over 120 plays at Galion High School. Clinger surmised she may have taught three generations of students from some families.

"She was an icon," Galion English teacher Dave Spraw declared. "She touched the lives of hundreds -- even thousands -- and inspired their creativity.

Miss Sayre in the '50's

Spraw, a rookie teacher when Miss Sayre was preparing to retire, explained that anyone who attended GHS prior to the early 1980s is aware of Miss Sayre's work with the students and "even then knew her impact on the district." "She could tell" those students who were destined for the stage, former GHS choir director Herb Krichbaum recalled of his days working with Miss Sayre on the school musicals. And, she had great confidence in her students' abilities, Krichbaum said as he relayed a story of one student Miss Sayre was positive could handle a lead role, but who could not sing at the outset of rehearsals. The student mastered the role -- song and all.

"She inspired so many students and is the most recognized of all the teachers at the school and has meant so much to her students," said Elaine Hottenroth, a former theatre student of Miss Sayre's. "Everyone invited her to the alumni reunions" which she attended as recently as last year.

"We've lost another piece of our heritage," Miss Sayre applying makeup -from the '69 SPY

Hottenroth added while recalling Miss Sayre's family's historic impact on the city's retail industry in Klopp's, the department store the family owned.

According to Burkhart, Miss Sayre's successor at the organ keyboard, her mentor, "always enjoyed her students" and never failed in her support of the church and most especially the youth. "She loved watching them on youth Sundays," Burkhart said, adding that the veteran organist of 64 years had a healthy respect and understanding of the evolution in church music -- though it may not have meshed with her own taste in church music.

She has a sense of humor that was unique, Burkhart continued. "You never knew what was coming. And it didn't matter if she was teaching or socializing, a knowledge and wealth of stories came out.

"She was one of the last of the grand ladies of Galion -- of that fading age."

Text from a front page story in the Galion Inquirer - Wednesday, Sept 24, 2003

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