Martin leads pack at weekend
Several other nonathletes with Ohio Valley roots are being honored.
EAST LIVERPOOL -- Steubenville-born Dean Martin, best known as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack and former comedy partner to Jerry Lewis, is one of eight individuals with Tri-State ties being inducted into the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame at 1:30 p.m. today at the downtown facility.
Inductees are selected basd on individual achievements and contributions to their respective fields and communities.
Also in the 2001 class are the first joint induction of a couple, James A. and Margaret H. Locke of East Liverpool; Henry J. "Hank" Kuzma of Steubenville; and Wellsville native John A. Venesile, Ph. D., now of North Royalton, Ohio. In addition to Martin, three other inductees -- PFC Melvin E. Newlin, C.A. Smith and William Van Horne -- will be honored posthumously.
From humble beginnings in his hometown of Steubenville, Martin rose to international stardom in film, television and the recording industry.
Born June 7, 1917, as Dino Crocetti to an Italian immigrant and an American seamstress, his whole life revolved around family, school and church.
In a gambling establishment in August 1934, some of Martin's friends pushed him onto the stage to sing and he found his niche. This one appearance would lead to stints on Las Vegas stages, movie screens, weekly television series and even the infamous Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.
Martin was the first performer to open the MGM Grand; his attendance record still has not been broken at Bally's.
Although most famous for his decade-long comedic partnership with Jerry Lewis, his biggest contributions came with his Rat Pack association with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. Martin starred in a series of hit films and also helped transform Las Vegas into one of the world's biggest entertainment meccas.
For more than 45 years, the name James Locke Jeweler has been synonymous with quality jewelry far beyond the tri-state area's borders. At the heart of that business are Jim and Margaret Locke.
They wed in 1940, and after Jim's stint in the U.S. Air Force in World War II, the Lockes returned to East Liverpool, where he began working in the jewelry business at Morton Jewelers.
In 1955, the Lockes went into business for themselves with the opening of James Locke Jeweler. From their store on East Fifth Street has stemmed a history of community and philanthropic involvement unknown to most people. Jim Locke has filled leadership roles in several community organizations, but his most notable contribution is the founding of the youth baseball program in East Liverpool.
Margaret Locke's most visible contribution can be seen when looking at the former Diamond area, which was formed when she served on former Mayor John Payne's Task Force for its creation; Santaland and the downtown Christmas lighting. She also began the Plate Turners' Society, originated the Pudlian Dictionary and contributed writings to the Pottery Festival book and the Potters Handbook.
Over the course of his life, Kuzma has worn a number of hats -- athlete, coach, athletic director, educator, administrator and fund-raiser.
To most of his friends, however, he is still just "Coach."
Kuzma may best be known throughout the Valley as a successful coach of basketball programs at both the college and high school level. He coached for the former College of Steubenville Barons, where he was recognized as Coach of the Year in 1958, and his team was named by the United Press Board of Coaches No. 1 in the nation.
A few years later, Kuzma made headlines as coach at Midland High School in Pennsylvania. His teams won 141 games and lost only 15, while winning the state Class AAA championship in 1965.
After stints as a coach, teacher and principal at Midland and a brief administrative stint in Hershey, Pa., he worked as the director of development for St. John Medical Center (now Trinity Medical Center) before retiring to Steubenville.
He worked as a coach and athletic director at the University of Steubenville until officials dropped its intercollegiate athletic program. Then he worked in university development, raising funds for all of the newest buildings on campus.
A lifelong love affair with music has proved to be a life's work of love for Wellsville native son John A. Venesile.
A 1954 graduate of Wellsville High School, Venesile was a member of the Wellsville Tiger Marching Band, serving as drum major.
Upon graduation, he earned a bachelor's degree in musical studies from Ohio University, and master's and doctorate degrees from Case Western Reserve University.
Venesile chaired the music departments at Independence City School District and Rocky River City Schools. He retired earlier this year after serving as an adjunct professor at John Carroll University, an elementary school teacher and a professor of music and education at Cuyahoga Community College.
Now semi-retired, Venesile serves as director of the Music Fine Arts Association of the Western Reserve. Over the course of his career, Venesile has received numerous excellence in teaching awards, including the 1989 National Teaching Excellence Award.
As America celebrated its independence July 4, 1967, Pfc. Melvin E. Newlin was one of thousands of American GI's who laid down their lives in Vietnam. The Wellsville native was 18 when he defended his comrades under attack by the Viet Cong.
Born in 1948, the fifth of eight children of Joseph L. and Ruth J. Newlin, he was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.
While serving as a machine gunner, Newlin was seriously wounded during a Viet Cong mortar and infantry assault. His four comrades were killed. Propping himself against his machine gun, Pfc. Newlin poured a deadly accurate stream of fire into the charging ranks of the enemy. Though repeatedly hit by small-arms fire, he twice repelled enemy attempts to overrun his position. During the third attempt, a grenade explosion wounded him again and knocked him to the ground unconscious. The Viet Cong, believing him dead, bypassed him and continued their assault on the main force.
His attack continued through two more enemy assaults until he was mortally wounded. Single-handedly, Pfc. Newlin broke up and delayed the enemy forces long enough for his fellow Marines to organize a defense and repel a secondary attack. Pfc. Newlin received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously March 18, 1969, from President Nixon.
Currently, awaiting passage by the Ohio House of Representatives is Senate Bill 21, sponsored by Sen. Greg DiDonato (D-30th District), which would designate a 5.3-mile section of state Route 7 as the Melvin E. Newlin Memorial Highway.
One of the Upper Ohio Valley's most successful and colorful sons, Charles A. "C.A." Smith was born in 1867 in Wellsville, the youngest of eight children of Alexander and Margaret Smith.
Smith seemed to have been blessed with something of a Midas touch, and launched a colorful and varied career that spanned more than a half-century. He ventured into the oil and gas fields with Ohio Valley Gas Co., which he sold in 1898; development of what is now Chester, W.Va., in 1899; amusement with Rock Springs Park; bridge building; pottery (Taylor, Smith & amp; Taylor Co. and Edwin M. Knowles); transportation (Steubenville, East Liverpool & amp; Beaver Valley Traction Co.); electricity (later acquired by Ohio Power Co.) and farming (Hillcrest Farms).
In 1919, Smith went into the Hereford cattle business and began producing champion stock. At the time of his death, Smith's herd numbered about 700 head and was considered one of the best in the United States. Smith died in October 1953.
For 54 years, William Van Horne chronicled Ohio Valley sports with a passion, love and knowledge of sports that is respected and remembered six years after his death.
A 1939 graduate of Martins Ferry High School, Van Horne got a crash course in sports journalism after the Martins Ferry Times Leader's sports editor was called to war in 1941 and Van Horne, a graduate of a six-week course at Northwestern University for outstanding high school journalism students, was hired as his replacement.
Van Horne retained the sports editor position at the Times Leader for 25 years before moving on to hold the same position at the Wheeling News Register for 29 years.
Over the course of his career, Van Horne received numerous awards for his sports journalism. He was named West Virginia Sportswriter of the Year, 1972. He was awarded West Virginia Wrestling Sportswriter of the Year honors three times, and in '93, he received the West Virginia Press Association's award for Best Sports Columnist.
Known for his truth and fairness in reporting, Van Horne also was admired, because he considered no sporting event too large or small to chronicle. In 1989, many sports greats attended a testimonial dinner honoring Van Horne, which drew 850 people.
He was named the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Man of the Year in 1992.