Walk through history


Rick Elwell reads a letter during his presentation of Gale Shriner during the Cemetery Walk Sunday afternoon at Fairview Cemetery.

Six actors portraying notable Galion residents shared their stories Sunday afternoon during the cemetery walk which was held at Fairview Cemetery.

The fourth annual event was presented by Galion Historical Society and the cemetery.

An estimated 200 people attended the event, where actors stood by the gravestones of the deceased residents who made an impact in the area.

“We will definitely be doing it again next year,” Galion Historical Society Director Andee Wildenthaler. “All of the actors did a phenomenal job! The Veterans Memorial was very touching, especially when they played taps.”

Galion resident Rick Elwell played the role of Gale Shriner, who died in Okinawa during World War II while serving in the United States Marine Corps. The area native was 21 when he was killed.

Elwell, who served in both Iraq wars and is a retired veteran of the United States Navy, said he enjoyed the assignment,

“I’m trying to portray him the best that I know him,” he said. “It helped to know military life and what he went through.”

During his presentation, Elwell shared a letter Shriner wrote shortly before his death.

In another part of the cemetery, Nancy Green said she was honored to play the role of her former theater director Miriam Sayre, who was a long-time Galion High School teacher and also served as a church organist.

“She spurred my love for the theater,” Green said. “Doing this gave us a better sense of what they did.”

Other actors there included Melinda Nicholls, who portrayed Hazel Chase; Fred Smith, who portrayed Frank S. Wisterman; Cathy Moneysmith, who portrayed Bertha Coyle and Rich Henry, who portrayed Charles Wisler. In addition, a special presentation was held at the cemetery’s mausoleum.

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