The lives of some of Tipp City’s most esteemed citizens were remembered at this years ‘If Tombstones Could Talk’ at Maple Hill Cemetery. The annual event is sponsored by the Tippecanoe Historical Society. This year the featured ‘guests’ were Roger Haas, Ralph Rodenberg, L.T. Ball, the American Legion Post 586 and Danza and Erma Mast.
Though they never met the Mast sisters, Susan Furlong and Marilee Lake portrayed the siblings as if they had been close friend. Dressed in garb from another era and equipped with jars of ‘The Recipe, a non-alcohol version of a drink from ‘The Waltons.’ The Mast sisters were never very far apart from each other, never married, they shared a bedroom their entire lives, including their final years at Dorothy Love in Sidney.
The Mast sisters were well liked and had a good reputation throughout town. “Their faces were known for being always on the verge of a grin,” said Furlong.
‘If Tombstones Could Talk’ not only provides the opportunity to learn about those involved in the history of Tipp City, but also brings back memories for those who knew the departed. While all the presenters did a lot of research on their subject, some visitors provided even more insight. “There are people who come that knew the Mast sisters and have stories of a personal connection with them,” said Lake.
L.T. (Leonard Terry) Ball, a long time superintendent of Tipp City Schools, and who the intermediate school is named after was portrayed by Gordon Honeyman. Ball came to Tipp in 1946 from Utica. He was against the move at first, but quickly became enamored with Tipp City and its determination to have a strong school system. The districts motto was, ‘Good schools don’t just happen.’
Among Ball’s proudest achievements was inviting 11 men who had dropped out to serve in World War II to return to school and earn their diplomas. All the men were employed, but Ball encouraged them to still be paid while attending school.
In 1964 at the age of 70, Ball retired and later moved to Florida where he became a realtor and earned more money in one year than he did in three as an educator.
It was an honor for Bill Rodenberg to share about his father, Ralph Rodenberg, who owned the ‘Decorator Store,’ which opened in 1962. It’s where several locals bought their wallpaper and other accessories to decorate their home. “He was 51 when he left one career to start a new one with the store, and at the time I didn’t appreciate all of that ambition that took, especially for retail,” said Bill.
The history of the American Legion Post 586 and all of its accomplishments was narrated by Bob Bartley. The Legion raised the funds for Tipp City’s first ambulance in 1975.
The life of Roger Haas was presented by David Glaser, Jean Glaser Ware, and Reed Haas.