OMH Alumni Association
31st Annual Alumni Reunion (2014)
It has been nearly 60 years since the Ohio Masonic Home last housed a child, but many of those who grew up on the Springfield campus still consider these buildings home, despite the passage of time and changes in landscape. On September 6, 2014, these alumni gathered together to reconnect and reminisce, enjoying a luncheon together, a visit to the Alumni Garden and a slideshow of photos from their time here as children.
29th Annual Alumni Reunion (2010)
Every two years, The Ohio Masonic Home Alumni return to their “Home on the Hill”. The Alumni’s 29th Homecoming was held on the Springfield Campus July 9 and 10, 2010.
A total of 740 children, 437 boys and 303 girls, lived on the Springfield campus during a 59-year period (1897-1956). Nineteen of those children served their country in World War I and 126 served in the Armed Forces during World War II, including three women. A total of eight made the ultimate sacrifice during those two wars. And twenty–two alumni married other alumni.
Charles Shellhamer became the first alumnus in 1901 when he was discharged at the age of 14 to go to work. The first reunion was held July 4, 1901, and attended by 26 alumni.
During the two–day reunion, adventurous tales are told about being a member of The Ohio Masonic Home Band, The Ohio Masonic Home Children’s Choir, the baseball team, the football team, working on the farm, the print shop, the kitchen, playing on the tennis court or in the swimming pool, attending Saturday night movies in Rickly Auditorium, and the numerous off campus trips that were taken.
However, despite the organized activities, some kids managed to create their own events, like climbing the water tower, sneaking off grounds to get a coke or a hamburger at the Rustic Inn or climbing trees to peer into destiny.
Due to the benevolence of Ohio Master Masons, 740 children had food, shelter, clothing and love. Each child eventually left their Home to travel down life’s path. However, no matter where they travel they will always remember a prayer that was said before every meal:
“Our kind and Heavenly Father, From whom we all are fed. Thanks today for our home and friends, And thanks for our daily bread. All we eat and drink and wear, Proves our Heavenly Father’s care.”
28th Annual Alumni Reunion (2008)
Several people who lived on the The Ohio Masonic Home grounds when it served as a children’s home gathered for their 28th annual homecoming reunion July 5-6 at Springfield Masonic Community.
The group reunites biannually to spend time together, reminisce about their time here, dine and have their business meeting.
The Ohio Masonic Home had a children’s home from 1897 to 1956 in addition to its retirement home. It differed from a traditional orphanage as the children came when a parent passed away or couldn’t support them properly. The Home would take them in and gave them a good life until the parents’ situation improved or they turned 18.
Although the weekend followed the normal pattern of activities, there were a few things that stood out at this reunion. A Hollywood crew shot a documentary about the event. Rachael Harris, an actress and daughter of alumni president Cynthia Whitacre Cameron, led the crew and interviewed alumni members and Home staff. The documentary is being edited. Plans were not certain yet when the documentary will air.
Longtime alumni committee members Paul Davis and Guy Miller were honored for their many years of service to the alumni as was the late Jack Lindsay. A plaque recognizing their work was awarded and will hang near the present Apartments at Cunningham Place on the campus. The alumni met every three years in the past, but now meet every two years on the first weekend in July, with the next coming up in 2010.