This year’s John D. Hamilton Community Service Award recipient, Helen G. Ebersole, demonstrates community spirit through her enduring commitment to the many organizations she has been involved in through the years and her extensive research and written history of our region. Through her involvement and leadership with a score of community organizations, she teaches the value of community service. She is considered a community’s teacher for having, consciously, transmitted her accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another through the institution of books on topics that encompass what made this county what it is today.
Through her dedication to preserving the past through her various books and articles, she offers future generations tools to learn about their rich local history. And, just like any skillful teacher, she has captured and educated the Chautauqua community with tales of the past to forever be enjoyed.
Her contributions to our region, through her diligent research, writing, and charming ways, have left a documented legacy for our community that is immeasurable. Helen has published several newspaper and magazine articles, as well as books, highlighting local topics. Book titles include: Trolleys of Jamestown and Chautauqua Lake, Electricity and Politics in Jamestown 1891-1931, Chautauqua Lake Hotels and the very recently published An ImPRESSive Record: Jamestown Journal-1826 to 1941. Her in-depth and perceptive style has brought to our community a lasting gift of history to our region.
Although she states that her “career has been that of wife, mother and homemaker,” teacher and historian need to be added to the list. She is a natural teacher through her various writings. She brings history to life for both young and old with her poignant descriptions and enthusiasm for the topics presented.
Born and raised in Ohio, she eventually found her way to Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA, where she earned her teaching certificate and a degree in English. Having lived in various locations in Ohio, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Helen and her husband, Dr. Glen, settled in Lakewood with their children, David, Mark, Kathleen and Daniel, in 1963.
Among her various volunteer activities; Helen has been Lakewood’s Village Historian since 1993. With her interest in writing and history, it is not a coincidence that she played an indispensable role in the Capital Campaign by directing the recent $800,000 Lakewood Memorial Library renovation.
Also included in her list of community involvement is: Fenton Historical Society, Southwestern Central School Board, Jamestown Community Concert Board, Chautauqua County Arts Council, Creche, Chautauqua County Planning Board, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua, and Lakewood Memorial Library Board of Trustees.
Helen G. Ebersole emulates the love and support John D. Hamilton had for our community. It is indeed an honor to present the John D. Hamilton Community Service Award to Helen G. Ebersole in gratitude and respect for years of guidance as a local historian and as a community’s teacher.