Although he was born and came to prominence prior to the centennial celebrations in 1917, much of his life’s work was carried out afterward, well into the twentieth century. From the dawn of the twentieth century up until his passing in 1956, Dr. Chamberlin aided townsfolk and friends with whatever ailed them. During more than fifty years practicing medicine, he gave tirelessly of his time, participating in a number of area organizations. In 1915, the doctor served as president of the Library Board. After many years filled with many long days, Dr. R. B. Chamberlin passed away on April 24, 1956. In honor and recognition of his dedication, the new high school was named for him the year following his death.
Category Archives: Local Celebrities
Alling Croquet Club
One of Twinsburg’s more unique sports fads in the middle of the twentieth century was croquet.
The elite of Twinsburg met and played often at the Alling Croquet Club. Led by Dr. R.B. Chamberlin the club was state of the art for its time and even featured a lighted scoreboard. The matches continued after Dr. Chamberlin’s passing in 1955, the only difference being they were conducted with a bronze plaque honoring Dr. Chamberlin present in the southeast corner of the club.
The sport gained such popularity in Twinsburg that the Bulletin printed tournament scores on the front page of the newspaper in the mid 1950s.
Possibly the most unique sports story in the annals of Twinsburg history involved one of the more successful athletes to ever reside in the region, Jim Mathis. Amazingly, his many athletic achievements occurred after injuring his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, at the age of 16. His rehabilitation took almost three years, but it wasn’t too long before he started the Cleveland Comets, who became a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. With that he found himself competing against teams from New York City to St. Louis, but basketball was not to be his most successful sport.
He was in New York City in 1957 when the first Wheelchair Track and Field Games were held in the United States, and decided as somewhat of a lark that he might as well compete in some of the events. Incredibly he won an archery competition, repeating his victory in 1958 and 1959. And while he finished second in 1960 it qualified him for the 1960 Wheelchair Games held in Rome. It was the first time the Wheelchair Games were held following the Summer Olympics in the same city. Mathis won the silver medal in Archery at the Rome Olympics, and considers it the most exciting athletic achievement in his career, according to an article he wrote for the Twinsburg Bulletin in 1972.
During the 1964 games in Tokyo, Mathias won both a gold and silver medal in the archery competition. Mathis, who was living in Twinsburg at the time, finished 3rd in the 1972 National Competition and qualified for the U.S. Wheelchair Olympic Team for a 3rd time. Mathis, who at the time was also giving archery exhibitions in Twinsburg, had the region clearly in his corner when he left for the Olympics. He found himself on the front page of the Bulletin a few times that summer.
Mathis traveled to Heidelberg, Germany to compete in the Wheelchair Olympics, which occurred few weeks before the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. For the first time he didn’t medal. It was his last Olympics, although by that time he had won three Olympics Medals as well as being a national archery champion four times, having competed in all 16 competitions up to that point.
Twinsburg High School Girls Basketball Mini-Dynasty
The pride of Twinsburg High School athletics is the girls’ basketball program. From 2011 to 2013 the Lady Tigers parlayed hard work, determination, and great skill into a mini-dynasty, reaching the Division I state finals, three years in a row, and winning the championship on their first two trips.
It was a total team effort that carried the Lady Tigers to three straight finals, but there were two stars who shined brighter than the rest. Malina Howard, who had been receiving national attention since junior high for her hardwood prowess, was the undisputed leader of those championship squads. The six-foot-four basketball dynamo dominated the post in two straight state tourneys, rendering opposing post players defenseless, and sometimes offense-less. In 2012, the same year she led the Tigers to their second consecutive state title, Howard was named Plain Dealer Girls Basketball Player, also for the second straight season. Howard went on to become an Academic All-American at the University of Maryland.
The other star was guard, Ashley Morrissette, who fully blossomed in her senior year, when she was named Ohio’s Ms. Basketball while leading the Lady Tigers to their third straight state final. After graduating from Twinsburg High School, Morissette moved on to Purdue University. In her senior season as a Purdue Boilermaker, she leads the team with over fifteen points per game.
Possibly the greatest, or at least the most successful, athlete to ever emerge from Twinsburg is James Posey. He attended Twinsburg Chamberlin High School and was named the Division II high school basketball player of the year as a senior, in 1995. Aptly capable of playing all five positions, the versatile six-foot-eight senior averaged 24.5 points and 12 rebounds per game. After graduating from Chamberlin, he went on to star at Xavier University. He ranks sixteenth in scoring and tenth in rebounding in the history of Xavier Musketeers basketball. His collegiate success lead to the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association selecting him with the eighteenth pick of the NBA draft. In the NBA, he excelled as a defensive stopper and clutch shooter for numerous teams over the course of his twelve-year career. Twice he was a crucial member of championship winning teams, first with the Miami Heat in 2006 and two years later with the Boston Celtics. Today, he is an assistant coach for the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Inger Marie Halverson
AFS-USA has been the leading, nonprofit organization in intercultural learning and international exchange programs for over 70 years. As of the early 1960s though, when the program was barely 20 years old, Twinsburg had never been one of the communities to participate in the program. This changed on August 14, 1963 when Inger Marie Halverson arrived from Torga, Norway and stole the collective hearts of the region. Her year in Twinsburg was spent at the home of her hosts, the Don Gilbert family.
Inger Marie fever quickly spread across the community. Mayor Richard Lippet proclaimed her day of arrival as “Inger Marie Day”, and gave her a key to the city during a ceremony at the Village Hall. Open houses were held at the high school for the region to meet her. There was a the showing of a Norwegian film, a rare occurrence in a small Midwestern village in the 1960s. Inger Marie’s mother sent Norwegian holiday cookies and holiday decorations for all to enjoy, and Twinsburg celebrated Norwegian holidays so Inger Marie wouldn’t feel homesick. She was voted sweetheart of her class at the sweethearts dance in February of 1964, but as soon as the fervor had started it was over. At least to some extent.
During the following years letters from and news about Inger was often found in the Bulletin, including her graduation in 1966 and marriage to Bjorn Bakken in June of 1971. As the years went by though they became more and more sporadic, ending in the mid 1970s.
The Gilbert’s eventually lost touch with her, but for a time in the early 1960s Inger Marie Halverson was the most popular girl in Twinsburg.
Marble Champion, Johnny Florek
In the early summer of 1947 everyone in Twinsburg had marbles on their mind, especially marbles as played by Twinsburg resident Johnny Florek,
Sponsored by VFW 4929, Florek finished second to David Glenny of Cuyahoga Falls at the District Marble Shooting Tournament held on June 14 . However, a second place finish entitled Florek a spot in the State Tournament where he again faced his rival Glenny. This time though, Florek prevailed in what was described as even a closer match than their initial clash by local media.
The State Tournament, held in Glenny’s own Cuyahoga Falls, included a parade through the town. The highlights of the procession were two motorcycle policeman with sirens, a white police cruiser driven by their Police Chief, various State VFW Officials, as well as the Mayor of Cuyahoga Falls, Joseph Harding. Florek and Glenny rode in a convertible with what was described as a beaming Harding, obviously proud of the Marble Tournament his town had hosted.
Florek’s successful run ended at the National Tournament held at Father Flanagan’s Boy’s Town in Nebraska. The VFW paid for all expenses for Florek and his mother to attend the National Tournament.
Jocko, the Safety Clown
One of the most endearing characters in the history of the three communities is the beloved safety clown Jocko. For years, Police Officer Joe Jasany reprised the role of Jocko every spring, teaching schoolchildren and toddlers all the intricacies of bicycle safety.
Jasany first decided to don the clown outfit while his son was recuperating in the Lorain Community Hospital’s intensive care unit in 1971. Dressed in clown regalia he entertained and cheered all the sick children in the intensive care unit. Initially, the moniker for Jasany’s alter ego was “Jo Jo,” but it was former Twinsburg police chief Donald Prange who finally dubbed him “Jocko.”
Over the years, Jocko performed on numerous occasions at the WKYC Blue CrossBlue Shield Health Fair and won a statewide Governor’s Award for Juvenile Programs in 1978.
National Spelling Bee, 1933
Little Alma Roach, of Twinsburg, not only participated in the 1933 National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., but won it. George Meltzer of Hoboken, New Jersey, failed to spell “propitiatory”. Alma corrected him and clinched the win by spelling “torsion”. The event was radio broadcast.
Alma later became a teacher for Solon Middle School.