Mary Lee Minor and her love for gardening


Mary Fox
| Guest columnist

Mary Lee Minor is the daughter of Carl, who worked in construction, and Betty Russell. Mary Lee grew up in Vermilion and one of her highlights was Lake Erie. She would sit in the dock dreaming and ask God what his next promise would be. She had a penchant for “girl scouting” when she was 7 and it really opened her life to the world. She learned boating and life saving skills in her Mariner Girl Scout Troop. She also went to Colorado Springs for the National Girl Scout Round Up in 1959, where thousands of girls camped. When she tried cheerleading in eighth grade, the experience changed her life. She had the honor of being elected every four years of high school. The family moved to Cleveland in 1965, where Mom worked for American Greetings.

Mary Lee had found the Lord in her life and was very happy knowing who she belonged to. In her senior year, she was called to the post office because of a registered letter. Inside was a check for $ 1,000. That pretty much says it all. It was anonymous and a visit to the bank didn’t reveal the person, but someone knew their dream of getting an apprenticeship. She applied for college in Kent State and also in Heidelberg. “Youth leaders” advised Heidelberg to keep working to pay the tuition fees.

After college life

Mary Lee was just finishing her last 12 hours in Heidelberg when she was hired as a fifth grade student by New Reigel. She was scared to death but desperate for income. She had known Bill Minor since sophomore year, but that fall they started talking on the dorm porch and learned it was their birthday. They began dating and were married the next year 1965. Bill is a son of Fred and Virginia Minor. Fred was the president of the Canton Real Estate Council – a very respectable man. Mary Lee said they had golf in common from the start, but Bill went his own way hunting and fishing while she opted for lessons and gardening.

The minors lived in Tiffin from 1965 to 1978, where their children David, Danielle and Anne Marie were born. Mary Lee has served in the church, scouting, and gardening. Bill said, “You have to do something with adults,” and she joined the Welcome Wagon Garden Club. The club brought her to the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, which presented “a great size” about gardening and a state-level structure club was great for her creativity, she enjoyed it so much.

Bill was employed by Ohio Power and they were transferred many times, which took them to North Canton from 1978 to 1980. There Mary Lee founded the Poet’s Corner Garden Club, which was named after the streets. She had a brownie troop that met at her home. She taught Sunday school classes at Trinity United Church of Christ, where they were married. They also lived near the grandparents. Mary Lee taught two kindergarten classes in North Canton with a total of 64 children. The principal said, “I need you,” and Mary Lee finished the year as a kindergarten teacher.

A new garden club is born

Bill was transferred to Newark as Ohio Power manager from April 1980 to 1985. They moved to a house near an 11 acre lake. She was in dire need of water after growing up on Lake Erie so it was perfect. Mary Lee said she visited the nearby Dawes Arboretum as often as she could. She started a garden club by inviting the whole neighborhood. Seventeen people came and named their club the Rural Roots for the area they lived in. The women all worked in the garden and loved the arboretum too. The club served as hostesses at Dennison University when they were less than six months old. In five years they also had four flower displays with horticulture and artistic arrangements in the Dawes Firelight Room. Mary Lee’s children were still with Boy Scouts – they joined the Church there – and she taught church school. The minister was a Heidelberg graduate. It was a “god moment” for Mary Lee.

In 1980, Mary Lee became editor of The Garden Path, a quarterly publication for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs. She worked as an editor for 8½ years.

Moving to Crawford County

Bill became manager of Bucyrus’ Ohio Power Company in February 1985. The family moved to a new home here on a freezing cold day. Suddenly the children were all in three different Wynford buildings. She couldn’t believe it! In the late summer of 1986, Mary Lee called a meeting to start a gardening club. Bill made her promise that she would not become their president. Mary Ann Basinger became the first woman president. At that time the Earth, Wind and Flowers club was founded and another of their dreams came true.

More about Mary Lee Minor and her community involvement will follow next week.

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