When Ed and Lois Wozniak moved to Pemberville in 1966, they were here to stay. The Wozniaks believed Pemberville would be a wonderful place to raise their children.
“It was mostly to get closer to my work, I think, and then the house really took. The (Eastwood) school system was definitely a factor, I think, too,” Ed said. “We like small towns.”
Since then, Ed has played a role in village politics and Lois volunteered for countless organizations.
At 8 p.m. Wednesday, after the Kiddie Parade, the Pemberville Free Fair will coronate the Wozniaks as senior king and queen. During the ceremony, long time grocery store owner Bill Beard and wife Judy will be honored as the village’s outstanding citizens. The fair runs from August 14-17.
|Ed and Lois Wozniak. (Photo courtesy
of Beth Fritz/Pemberville Fair program)
Lois’ response when she heard about the coronation is the same as Garth Algar’s reaction when he met members of the rock band Aerosmith in the movie “Wayne’s World.”
“We’re not worthy because we haven’t moved mountains. We just feel very, very honored and again, unworthy,” Lois said.
However, they have accomplished a lot in their nearly 50 years living in Pemberville. Lois just hopes the reaction is positive during the coronation ceremony.
“If they boo, we’ve got to take the crown away,” Lois joked.
After serving over 25 years on village council under numerous mayors, Ed once received a proclamation from former mayor, the late Gustava Oberhouse. It was an appointment that got Ed off to serving a quarter century on council.
“When the (Pemberville) Leader was operating (1970s) and (Jay) Parker was the mayor, something came up in the paper that the minutes weren’t right or something,” Ed said. “I went up to council a couple, three, or four times, and then a fellow passed away, and they appointed me and I took his place on council and that got me started.
“The biggest challenge was passing the income tax. There were a lot of pros and cons. Mayor Parker — he knew that we needed to do that in order to have an income to take care of everything. I’ll always remember, one of the things he said was, ‘You know, it’s not when are we going to fix the potholes,’ he says, ‘It’s down to a point as to which potholes are we going to fix?’”
“So, that was his thing. We had a little bit of opposition toward it. He made it clear that all of the council members should agree on it. We’ve all got to agree this is what we need to do or we shouldn’t pass it. He really emphasized that.
“I resigned the position because Lois had rheumatoid arthritis and a few things like that. I wanted to stay on, but I decided it was best I get off. It was just a personal thing. I’m still on the planning commission.”
Ed believes one of the biggest problems facing the village today is potential flooding, among others.
“They’ve got a lot of problems. They don’t have any money (for flooding),” Ed said.
Their involvement goes beyond politics. Their home has been featured on the village’s Christmas Tour of Homes.
The Wozniaks celebrated 50 years or marriage in 2002, and then 60 last year. When asked what their secret is to a long and happy marriage, the words ‘marry a good man” and “marry a good woman” are heard simultaneously.
Since arriving in Pemberville, the Wozniaks have raised their children and the couple are now empty-nesters. Ed Jr. lives in Buffalo, Kathy (O’Laughlin) is in Norfolk, Virginia, and David is in Massachusetts.
Ed and Lois’ personal history dates back to their original hometown, Port Clinton. Ed Sr. was discharged from the U.S. Navy in 1946 and utilized his GI Bill to further his education and become a diesel mechanic. He and Lois were married in 1952.
In addition to working in his trade, Ed worked as a salesman in his chosen field and sat on the advisory board at Owens Community College. He taught the first diesel class at Woodward High School and served on the first Otterbein-Portage Valley nursing home’s board. Today, Ed enjoys working in the bingo tent at the free fair and doing woodworking.
Lois worked many years as a nurse at St. Charles Mercy Hospital, Oregon, including the last 12 as patient education coordinator.
Lois is past president of the Friends of the Library and has been involved with the Pemberville Library Reading Group for 15 years, along with the fair’s quilt show, the Mental Culture Club, and Lakeside Federation of Women’s Clubs. She worked at the Pemberville-Freedom Historical Society’s antique shop, and belongs to the retired CCL group. She enjoys Bunco and the Wood County Hospital swim group known as “Keep Moving.”
Now that both are in their 80s, they aren’t quite as involved as they once were. But Lois says once involved, it was easy to stay involved.
“They were neat folks to work with and it was just good to be together and good to do something,” Lois said. “The library reading group — that group is fantastic. They are just a bunch of wonderful women and you just sit back with your mouth wide open and hear all those things coming out.”
(Information is taken from the Pemberville Free Fair program booklet, prepared by Beth Fritz, with permission).