Courtesy of  Ray Leisy, Club Historian
This  week we are featuring a short biography of eight more of the twenty- four founding members of Wooster Rotary in 1921.
Frank C. Gerlach (1870-1948) was born in Wooster. He attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and began his career in Wooster as a pharmacist. He also joined the Ohio National Guard and quickly achieved the rank of Captain. In 1898, the 8th Oho National Guard, based in Akron, was ordered into duty as the 8th Ohio Infantry and sent to Cuba to serve during the Spanish- American War. After his release from duty Gerlach returned to Wooster, his pharmacy career and married Florence McClarran. They had two children, Mary Frances and Harry McClarran Gerlach. From 1909 to 1913 he served as superintendent of the Ohio Boys Industrial School in Lancaster but then returned again to Wooster. In 1918, the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI) was again called up for active duty in France at the start of World War I. This time Gerlach was promoted to Colonel of Company D of the 146th U.S. Regiment of the Army Infantry. The United States Congress awarded Col. Gerlach the Distinguished Service Medal for the Ypres Offensive. He returned to Wooster again in 1920 and served as Wooster Postmaster from 1920 to 1924 when he became a Director and Treasurer of the Wayne Building and Loan Company. Gerlach died in 1948 and is buried in the Wooster Cemetery with his wife who died in 1954. Classification: Postmaster.
Charles M. Gray (1859-1929) was born in Wooster. He attended Wooster schools. In 1880 he went to work in his father’s business, Gary & Son, Coal Merchants. He continued the business after the death of his father until 1921. He married Nellie Gray, this was also her family name, in 1893. He sold the coal business in 1924 and became President of Peoples Building & Loan. He died in Wooster in 1929 of shock following surgery for appendicitis. He is buried in Wooster Cemetery. Classification: Coal Retailing.

William T. Harris (1870-1945) was born in South Wales, England. He came to the United States in 1880 with his parents and siblings who settled in the Paulding, Ohio.  He graduated in 1897 from Hiram College with a Divinity Degree and became a Minister. He then became a casher in a Paulding Bank and then furthered his career by moving to Wooster to join the staff of the newly organized Citizens National Bank. He quickly advanced from Teller to President of Citizens until his retirement in 1940. He died in 1945 and is buried in the Wooster Cemetery. Classification: Bank Cashier.

Joseph W. Hooke 1868-1953 was born in Degraff, Ohio. He attended Mt. Morris College in Illinois and began his career as a school teacher in Crawford County, Ohio where he married Bertha Morrison in 1894. In about 1905 he moved to Wooster where he went to work at Peoples Savings & Loan Association where he progressed to Manager by the time of his retirement. His wife died suddenly in 1922. He subsequently married Harriett Davidson in Wooster. He continued his career at Peoples until 1945. He died in Wooster in 1953 and is buried in Wooster Cemetery. Classification: Savings & Loan Association.

George C. Maurer (1862-1957) was born in Bolivar, Ohio. He attended the Smithville Academy and graduated from the College of Wooster 1890. Over the years he also took summer courses from the University of Chicago, New York University, Ohio Northern and Harvard University. He was Superintendent for Loundonville Schools from 1890 to 1893, He married Georgia Pocock in Wooster in 1891. They had one son, Horace “Hap” Maurer. He became superintendent of New Philadelphia Schools in 1893 until 1912 when he became Superintendent of Wooster City Schools, which he held until his retirement in 1932. He and his wife retired to Florida, but returned often to visit in Wooster. His wife died in 1947 and he died in 1950. They are buried together in Wooster Cemetery. Classification: School Superintendent.

Emile E. Paumier (1875-1936) was born in Louisville, Ohio. He attended Louisville schools and the Canton Business College. He began his career in a Canton Shoe Store until 1900 when he moved to Wooster and bought a local shoe store. He soon became well known for the manufacture of shoes also operated an overall factory at the same time. He was a charter member of the Wooster Country Club. After 1920 he became a Director of the Citizens National Bank and also became active in the oil and gas industry. He died in 1936 and is buried in the Wooster St. Mary’s Cemetery with his wife. Classification: Shoe Manufacturing.

Thomas D. Prosser (1872-1963) was born in Wheeling, West Virginia. He graduated from Mt. Union College (Ohio) and began his career in the office of the Labelle Iron Works in Wheeling as assistant to the President. He married Elanor Holtz.  in 1902. In 1905 he opened his own business as a broker in steel and iron in Wheeling. The business was known as the Thomas D. Prosser Co. In 1919, he opened a branch in Wooster and moved to Wooster to market iron and steel. In 1925 he closed his Wooster office and relocated to New York to continue as an iron and steel broker. He later moved to Putnam, Connecticut where he became an active member of the Putnam Rotary Club. He died in Woodstock, Connecticut in 1963 where is buried. Classification: Iron & Steel.

James B. Rahl (1882-1964) was born in Madisonburg, Ohio, since annexed by the City of Wooster. He attended the Ohio Northern School of Pharmacy and returned to Wooster to gain experience from other pharmacists. He married Harriett Munson in Wooster in 1909. In 1909 he opened the Rahl Pharmacy in Wooster. He continued his pharmacy career and store until 1938 when retired for a short period. He soon took on new duties as Superintendent of the Wooster Cemetery Association. He also became Secretary of the Wooster City Park Department. He died in 1964 and is buried in the Wooster Cemetery. Classification: Retail Druggist.