A Canfield native dedicated to preserving the past | News, Sports, Jobs

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CANFIELD — Suzie McCabe knew early on that she had a passion for history.

This passion led her to the Canfield Historical Society where she is president, spends time preserving the past and has the honor of recognizing those who give of themselves to these causes.

McCabe grew up in Canfield and graduated from Canfield High School in the class of 1976. It was a special year with a special look for these graduates.

“Because it was the bicentennial, our tassels were red, white and blue,” she said.

McCabe then attended Kent State University to study fine art and later graphic design. There, she got a job at the university as a model maker, which helped fund her bachelor’s degree. She practiced this profession for six years and then turned to artistic education.

“I had to quit my job in Kent to complete my arts education degree,” McCabe said. “I taught my student at Garrettsville.”

McCabe married Ken at age 26 while teaching and became pregnant with his daughter, Staci. Two years later, she gave birth to her son, Patrick. McCabe became a stay-at-home mom for the next eight years as she devoted herself to raising her children. As he got older, McCabe served as a substitute teacher at Canfield Schools for five years.

McCabe eventually returned to full-time work and secured a position as a high school art teacher for the Southeast School District in Portage County. After spending 25 years in the Southeast, McCabe retired in May.

As an empty nest, it didn’t take long for her to occupy her free time. She was appointed session clerk at First Presbyterian Church in Mineral Ridge, where she was an elder.

Thanks to an invitation 17 years ago, McCabe found her niche that would see her retire with a mission.

“A friend invited me to attend a meeting of the Canfield Historical Society,” she said. “The rest is history.”

Always a history buff, McCabe said she knows this is where she wants to be. After being involved for four years, McCabe was elected president of the Canfield Historical Society – a role she has held for the past 13 years.

She said it was nice to open the Bond House Museum and the Mahoning Dispatch to showcase early life in Canfield. The society also organizes a series of lectures and presents events such as city walks to introduce famous Canfield personalities and events. She also looks forward to honoring Canfield residents who have contributed to historic preservation.

The first major honor McCabe was able to present was in 2020. She presented a preservation award in memory of Norm Anderson, who was the longtime caretaker of the Mahoning Dispatch Building.

The second major honor she had to present came a few weeks ago when she presented local business owner Sam Boak with the society’s Outstanding Philanthropist Award.

“The award was for everything Sam Boak did overall for the community,” she said. “He gave us a new home. He renovated the War Vet Museum. He even paid for the annual 4th of July fireworks display. He constantly gives back and our directors wanted to recognize that. The honor given to Sam by our group is a small measure of the gratitude we feel for his continued good work for his hometown. I had the honor of presenting the award to Sam and Donna Boak.

The Boaks’ most recent financial donation was to the society. McCabe said it will be used to purchase much-needed archival shelving to properly store the company’s collection. McCabe said the collection continues to grow.

“We’re continually collecting history, and it’s not just from the 1800s,” she said.

The most recent donation came after a Nov. 10 lecture by Dr. Ray Duffett on the Canfield High School Athletic Hall of Fame. After the conference, McCabe said that Tammy Hood-Merando had said she could add to the company’s collection. The next day she brought a pillow made from the athletic letters her father, Vernon Hood, won at Canfield High School in the late 1930s and 1940s. One of those letters was from the 1940 state runner-up basketball team.

“It’s very exciting to get a piece like this,” McCabe said. “It’s our mission, to keep the people who donate Canfield history.”

McCabe added that the company is currently working on the main room on the first floor of the Bond House. With the large public library meeting room opposite the Bond House available, the company is now able to convert the former Bond House meeting room into a large exhibition group, allowing a more large part of the collection.

“We will have new exhibits ready by next spring,” McCabe said.



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