By Ellen Simmons
Ruth Lohbauer was crowned senior queen of the Huron County Fair and James Hamons was chosen king on Senior Day in a two-hour pageant that featured queens and kings from five Huron County nursing centers.Queen Lohbauer, a resident of Twilight Gardens in Norwalk, was the oldest contestant at the age of 94, and she told the audience about some of her experiences going through World War II. Her favorite food is "anything chocolate," and she reminisced about an indoor snowball fight she, her dad and her six siblings had in the house one Thanksgiving. "Mom was not too happy and I couldn't blame her," she said. She concluded, "There is no better country than the US, and we ought to honor it every opportunity we get." King Hamons lives at Hillside Acres in Willard and is a World War II veteran, where he served in France, Germany, England and Japan. He recalled being in a foxhole when a grenade came sailing in, and he was able to get out before it exploded. He said, "I am proud of what I accomplished." He never heard what happened to the other guy in the foxhole, but recently learned he too survived. He said he loved riding the roller coasters at Cedar Point when he was a kid, and his favorite patriotic song is "God Bless America." Dorothy Murphy from Bellevue Care Center was named duchess to the queen, and princesses were Jean Snelling from Norwalk Memorial Home, Violet Wagner from Gaymont Nursing Center, Virginia Barrison from Hillside Acres and Helen Rinker from Willows of Willard. John Souslin from Willows of Willard was chosen duke to the king, and the princes were Donald Collum from Twilight Gardens, Harold Stradtman from Bellevue Care Center, Don Worcester from Norwalk Memorial Home and Fred Stanford from Gaymont Nursing Center. Linda Walton, recreation director at Hillside Acres, welcomed everyone to the pageant and noted the Veteran's Pavilion has grown too small for this event and it might be time to move to a different location. The master of ceremonies was Dan Donoghues, a retired Plymouth music teacher, who chatted with the contestants and asked each a fishbowl question to test their quick thinking. The judges for the event were Lisa Marks, Ohio Association Regional Long-Term Care ombudsman; Brian Humphries, Willard City manager; and Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard. One of the highlights of the pageant was when 2-1/2-year old Isla Derr from Shenandoah sang the National Anthem. Also, the residents of Hillside Acres presented musical selections in memory of Jeff Ellis and Walt Patten, former senior kings.