Toledo resident John MacDonald, one of this year’s distinguished Sylvania Schools alumni to be inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame, can trace his roots back to the first English settlers.
“I can trace my roots all the way to the Mayflower,” Mr. MacDonald said.
The 83-year-old had just returned from an Ohio Genealogical Society seminar held Friday in Sandusky, before attending a luncheon in Sylvania where the honorees were celebrated. His interest in genealogy was sparked by his wife, Patricia, 82.
“Her family had a family reunion, and they started a genealogy tree of sorts and didn’t do a very good job. I thought if you’re gonna do this, do it right,” he said.
Mr. MacDonald’s life resume is storied. He began in the Naval Reserve training for active duty in 1948, retiring as captain in 1983. He was commissioned as an ensign in 1952 during his two years of active duty. He serves on many veteran advocacy posts, including Toledo Post 335 American Legion. Each year he adorns veteran graves with American flags on Memorial Day.
He has an MBA in accounting from the University of Toledo. As a business professional, he served as Owens Corning Fiberglas payroll manager. He left the position in 1959 to join his father-in-law in successfully managing Oaks Feed & Pet Supply Co. He served as company president and board chairman until his retirement in 1998.
Mr. MacDonald, who graduated from Burnham High School in 1948, is one of four Sylvania alumni who were inducted Friday night into the Academic Excellence Foundation’s Distinguished Hall of Fame during ceremonies held at the Sylvania Country Club.
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Honored individuals include Linda Gale Horist, Sylvania High School, Class of 1974, second-grade teacher at Nohl Canyon Elementary School in Anaheim, Calif., and California State Teacher of the Year; David Walker, Northview High School, Class of 1977, financial adviser, partner in Hedge & Walker of Toledo, and Mark Greenblatt, Southview High School, Class of 1991, investment coach and adviser in the Toledo area. With this year’s group, 100 individuals have been honored for their civic and leadership qualities, serving community and country, or serving individuals who need assistance in areas of finance and health, as this year’s honorees.
Sylvania resident Mr. Greenblatt, 40, shows “compassion” in his work, assisting charitable organizations and individuals with their wealth management.
Mr. Greenblatt contributes his expertise and time to special children through the Autism Model School in Toledo and Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council in Columbus.
Mr. Walker, 55, also uses his financial expertise for good, specializing in financial planning for widows and divorcees, or families dealing with long-term care and life-changing issues. He gives back to the Toledo community through his civic endeavors at Westgate Toastmasters and Rotary Club, and mentorship roles.
Before the induction ceremonies, Mrs. Horist, 58, brought her classroom motto “you can do, be, dream and become anything you want to,” to students studying early education. She spoke to classes at Northview High School about her career and becoming a second-grade teacher.
Mr. Walker also spoke to Northview business students about overcoming obstacles and finding your strengths, while also imparting knowledge about the financial field.