ST. CLAIRSVILLE - "She's a classic," said Polly Loy, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator at the Ohio State University Extension office. Indeed, Nancy Gillogly, this month's "Neighbor," is known as a gracious hostess and hard worker who says helping others has been a guiding force throughout her life. Gillogly has received various awards for service to the community.
Born and raised on a local farm, Gillogly attended Kinsman School (closed in 1955) near St. Clairsville. She graduated from St. Clairsville High School in 1950, and, while attending a St. C. alumni picnic in 1997, she and several other Kinsman classmates decided to have a reunion, too. They formed a committee which tracked down 400 alumni and have held 10 reunions since then with a current mailing list of 160.
"It's been a big hit," Gillogly said. "People keep coming back. I think it means more from that era than to later generations."
Nancy Gillogly of St. Clairsville was nominated to be March’s “Hey!?That’s My Neighbor” honoree by friends John and Mary Donna Wodarcyk. Nancy and her husband, Gene, have been married for 62 years and are still active with community projects.
T-L?File Photo/ Boyd Nelson
In 1972, Gillogly received a baton passed in mid-air during a parachute jump by the U.S. Army Parachute Team, the Golden Knights at the Belmont County Fair. Sgt. Donald Ward of the Knights presented the baton in recognition of her work on the Fair and the 4-H program.
Gillogly, center, receives a plaque from the Ohio Fair Managers Association for 40 years of outstanding service. Presenting are, left, Fred Dailey, Ohio Agricultural Director and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Hollister.
Kinsman School reunions have become regular events after Nancy and classmates decided to host the first one in 1998. Here, the reunion committee relaxes after the 2009 picnic, from left front, Mike Maroney (deceased,) Kathryn Zavacky, Don Henderson and John Wodarcyk; from left rear, Frances Gilli, John Kafka (deceased,) Vickie Dombroski, Jim Bruno and Nancy Gillogly.
The next reunion is in the works for Sunday afternoon, July 27, 2014, thanks to Nancy's organizing abilities, according to friend and schoolmate John Wodarcyk, who with his wife nominated Gillogly for "Hey! That's my Neighbor."
She has also been active in her high school alumni association since its formation in 1992 and now serves on the committee for the combined class reunions. She was on the Alumni Association board from 1996 to 2003, has coordinated their newsletter and been editor of "The Scan." In 2011, the association's board of directors presented Gillogly with a plaque for her "Devoted Service to the St. Clairsville High School Alumni Association and Outstanding Community Service to the city of St. Clairsville."
Nancy met her husband, Gene (a 1945 St. Clairsville graduate and World War II Navy veteran), while dating his brother. Gene's family owned a dairy farm in St. Clairsville, and, while Nancy and Gene had plans to marry, her family encouraged her to go away for a year to see other places and meet other people ("I'm really glad my parents did that.") She attended Grove City College in Pennsylvania for a year.
Upon her return, she took a summer job with the (then) Belmont County Extension Office judging 4-H project books. One day office workers found a note from the secretary saying she was a "war bride" and wouldn't be back to work. Gillogly got the job, and she retired from it 30 years later.
"I feel very blessed the way things happened. It wasn't just a secretarial job," Gillogly explained. "At the extension office, you did everything."
"Everything" included serving as a 4-H camp counselor who wrote a daily newsletter for Camp Piedmont campers, providing support to the Junior Fair in the way of keeping records, assisting with animal weigh-ins, preparing sales orders, printing exhibit cards, getting judging results to the media and decorating for the 4-H Style Revue, not to mention cleaning the Junior Fair building.
In fact, one of her favorite stories is about the time the Fair was about to open, and a grounds keeper walked off the job. Gillogly says she got a group of kids together from the Junior Fair Board and they cleaned up the entire fairgrounds.
"And in those days, people dressed up for the Fair," she chuckled. "We were in our Sunday clothes."
Though Gillogly is quick to say the words "team effort" when discussing her experiences, Loy, who called her "the driving force of the extension office," and friend Mary Donna Wodarcyk say her dedication and sincerity are what makes projects and events successful.
"All her work made for a lot of happy people reaping the rewards of a picnic, reunion or charity work that Nancy has put together," wrote Wodarcyk. "She takes the time to write a personal thank you note listing what you have done to help her. She is always thinking of others and what she can do for them. I don't know when she sleeps!"
At her retirement from the extension office, Gillogly was given a plaque "in recognition and appreciation for 30 years of devoted service to the citizens of Belmont County" with a lifetime pass to the Belmont County Fair. In addition, St. Clairsville Mayor Edgar White presented her with another plaque for "outstanding service to the youth of our community."
She was elected as a director for the Belmont County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) in 1982 and served more than nine years as a director and secretary until 2000. She became an Honorary Member in 2001, again recognized for her "outstanding service."
During this time, Gillogly and friends initiated an "Arts and Crafts Festival" during the Fair for three consecutive years with money from an Ohio Arts Council grant. In addition to spearheading main gate and grounds improvements paid for with a grant, she wrote the "Belmont County Fair History" published in "The History of Ohio Fairs" by the Ohio Fair Managers Association.
In 1998, the OFMA and Fred L. Daily, Ohio Agriculture Director, presented her with an award for 40 years of outstanding service, one of only nine district awards given.
While she and Gene have done some traveling here and abroad, Gillogly says they've "slowed down a bit," but stay involved with the Alumni Association, the Kinsman School reunions and volunteer for the Food Pantry when it is at their church, East Richland Evangelical Friends Church. They still hear from some of the 4-H campers from Camp Piedmont. At Christmas, they secure donations of blankets, towels and pillows for local families in need through the Food Pantry ("We feel so thankful that we're able to give.")
Gillogly believes that being a good neighbor equals friendship, people who will pitch in to help when there's a need and mentions often how "blessed" they feel for the "really nice people" that they've met along the way.
On her desk, Gillogly keeps three "messages," one of which reads, "Don't count the days. Make each day count."