DAYTON, Ohio—Wright Dunbar, Inc., the sponsor of the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame and the memorial stones on West Third Street in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District, has announced the 2015 inductees.The honorees are: Keith D. Harrison, Zoe Dell Nutter, Robert (Bob) Keyser Schul, Gerald (Jerry) Sharkey, and Eugene Edward (“Snooky”) Young, Jr.Wright-Dunbar will celebrate the honorees at a luncheon on Thursday, September 24 at Sinclair Community College.
Since 1996, 150 outstanding individuals and groups and their contributions to the Miami Valley have been memorialized at this annual event and with granite stones on West Third Street.
Madeline Iseli, chair of the Judges Committee, will attend a City of Dayton Commission meeting as a courtesy to brief the Commission on the selections.
Here are biographical sketches of the 2015 honorees.
Keith D. Harrison (1952- ), songwriter, keyboardist and vocalist, is a native Daytonian and lifelong resident of the Miami Valley. After high school graduation and military service, he was associated with numerous bands including Faze-0, Ohio Players, Heatwave, and Dazz Band. While with Dazz Band, he wrote Let It All Blow, a chart-topping recording that was used by the National Football League as its game intro. During this period, Dazz Band was awarded a prestigious Grammy. Harrison founded a recording and production studio and wrote music for syndicated specials and commercials. He also founded the first Public Housing Choir in 1994 for the Dayton Metropolitan Housing Authority. The choir was invited to sing at President’s Park in Washington, DC and was recognized in 1997 for its outstanding work by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
Zoe Dell Nutter (1915- ) was born in Oregon and moved to Dayton 5O years ago when she married Ervin Nutter, owner of Elano Corporation. Mrs. Nutter gave up a career in ballet when she accepted a position to promote the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939. Later, she was California’s representative at the World’s Fair in Brussels, which led to her becoming the “Flying Ambassador” to the Century 21 Exposition at Seattle and the New York World’s Fair. She earned a pilot’s license and worked in marketing for Piper Aviation to improve pilot safety, increase the number of private pilots and encourage women in the profession. At Elano, her experience in marketing complemented her husband’s technical aviation expertise. There, she headed the Small Aircraft Division and became one of the company’s pilots. The development of the Elano manifold came when she urged more plane power over mountains. In Dayton, Mrs. Nutter was a primary force in leading the effort for the National Aviation Hall of Fame, enlisting her Congressional friends to enact legislation to create it. She has served on local, state and national boards of trustees and received numerous awards.
Robert (Bob) Keyser Schul (1937- ) is the only American to date to win the Olympic Gold Medal in the 5000-meter race. He was a member of the United States Olympic Track Team in 1964 during the 18th Summer Olympiad in Tokyo. Raised on his family farm in West Milton, Ohio, Schul was diagnosed with asthma at a young age, which makes his athletic accomplishments all the more remarkable. In addition to the Olympic Gold Medal, his competitive career included setting four different American race records and a world record in the 2-mile race. In 1973, he started the cross-country team at Wright State University where he remained the track coach for over 30 years. He taught in the Dayton Public School system, coached cross-country at Brookville, Centerville and Wayne, and ran the Bob Schul Racing team. Gerald (Jerry) Sharkey (1942-2014) is often called “The Father of the National Park in Dayton.” At an economic development conference in the 1980’s, he suggested that Dayton support a National Park honoring the Wright brothers. He contacted the Wright family, the National Park Service, community aviation historians, and community leaders, to push for legislation, and also for finding an investor for one of the Wrights’ early bicycle shops to save it from demolition. After legislation was enacted to create the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park in Dayton, Sharkey became the first president of the Dayton Aviation Heritage Commission. An unlikely aviation enthusiast who was afraid of flying, Sharkey was in the thick of planning with Aviation Trail, Inc., the first organization founded in Dayton to recognize Dayton’s role in aviation, and the 2003 Committee to celebrate the Centennial of Powered Flight In addition to his careers with the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, he was a teacher at Carroll High School and was named Teacher of the Year for his outstanding work.
Eugene Edward “Snooky” Young, Jr. (1919-2011) was born into a musical family in Dayton. He played first trumpet with the Dunbar High School Band and with the Wilberforce Collegiate Band at the same time. He left school to play with the Chick Carter Band and later became lead trumpeter for the Jimmie Lunceford Band. In the 1940’s, he worked with Les Hite, Benny Carter and Gerald Wilson, as well as the Count Basie Band. For ten years, he had his own band and a weekly local TV show while continuing to perform periodically with Lionel Hampton and Count Basie. In 1962, he moved to New York and began his longest engagement as trumpeter for the Doc Severinsen Band on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He moved to Los Angeles to continue the Tonight Show and was with the show for 30 years. In 2009, Young was named a National Endowment for the Arts jazz Master.
About Wright-Dunbar Inc.
Wright Dunbar, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the revitalization of the historically-significant commercial corridor west of downtown Dayton, Ohio, known as the Wright-Dunbar Business District. The district is the center of the neighborhood where Wilbur and Orville Wright invented the airplane, and African-American poet Paul Laurence Dunbar began his career. Its vision is to create a vibrant, urban, walkable community of innovation, creativity and collaboration where diverse families, businesses, neighbors and visitors, live, work, recreate and learn together as a testimony to the historic legacy of the Wright brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Sinclair Community College, Dayton OH