The Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame has just announced their 2018 honorees. Wright Dunbar, Inc. sponsors the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame, and the memorial stones are on West Third Street in the Wright Dunbar Historic Business District between Broadway and Shannon and along Williams Street.
The 2018 honorees are: Hannah Beachler, Major General George R. Crook, Dr. Richard A. DeWall, Robert C. Koepnick, Police Sergeant Lucius J. Rice and Policewoman Dora Burton Rice, and Julia Reichert.
HANNAH BEACHLER, (1971- ) Groundbreaking media production designer
Hannah Beachler grew up in Centerville, Ohio, majored in fashion design as an undergraduate at the University of Cincinnati and then went back to school at Wright State University in 2005 to earn a B.F.A. from WSU’s Motion Pictures Program. She began working on films as a set dresser in small movies and horror films. Her talent and attention to detail quickly brought her assignments as a production designer. She won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Film for Fruitvale Station and the Audience Award for the Best Film at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. In 2017 she was nominated for an Emmy and won the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design for a video for Beyoncé. Her most recent success came as the first-ever female black production designer for a Marvel film. That film, Black Panther, is breaking box office records and is one of the most talked about films of the season. She returns home to spend time at WSU talking to students about her career and mentoring many young filmmakers.
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE R. CROOK, (1828-1890) Leader in the U.S. military and civil rights activist
George R. Crook was born and raised near Taylorsville, now a part of Huber Heights, Ohio. He graduated from West Point in 1892. He is recognized as a major figure in U.S. military and civil rights history. He had an active career in the Civil War capped by his Division causing General Robert E. Lee to surrender at Appomattox. He was an important commander in the Indian Wars that followed the Civil War. While serving as the Commander of the Department of the Platte in 1879, Crook arranged to have himself sued on behalf of the Ponca tribe. The case resulted in a major civil rights victory when Chief Standing Bear was recognized as a person under the law and therefore Native Americans were entitled to equal protection under U.S. law. Sioux Chief Red Cloud remarked after Crook’s passing that, “He, at least, never lied to us. His works gave us hope.”
DR. RICHARD A. DEWALL, (1926-2016) Pioneer heart surgeon
Dr. Richard DeWall came to Dayton in 1966 and spent 50 years of his life here. He is credited with inventing the first workable, portable heart-lung machine. Dr. Doug Talbott recruited him to Dayton, and Mrs. Virginia Kettering invited him to initiate an open-heart surgery program at Kettering Hospital, where he performed the first successful open-heart surgery in the area. He established the general surgery residency-training program, serving as its director from 1970-1976 and also acted as a consultant to the National Institutes of Health. The winner of many national and local awards, his proudest accomplishment was his role in the founding of Wright State University School of Medicine because he wrote the original proposal for what would become the medical school. He also helped establish the Wright State School of Medicine Foundation. He said, “With the bubble oxygenator (the name of his invention), you are dealing with maybe several hundred patients a year. With a medical school, when you get it expanded, you’re dealing with thousands.”
ROBERT C. KEOPNICK (1907-1997) Nationally known sculptor, talented teacher
Robert C. Keopnick, a native Daytonian, was born in 1907 and lived virtually all of his life in the Dayton Region. He was a sculptor of national reputation and maintained a studio in Lebanon, Ohio until shortly before his death. He was a prolific, versatile sculptor who worked in wood, bronze, stone, aluminum, and terra cotta. He studied with Carl Miles, the noted Swedish sculptor. He headed the sculpture department at the Dayton Art Institute for almost 30 years, with the exception of a five-year period during World War II when he worked for the Aeromedical Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, helping to design gloves and oxygen masks that made it possible for pilots to fly at ever increasing altitudes. His works are displayed in many states, and he has exhibited in distinguished museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Design, and the Dayton Art Institute. At least 17 of his major works are displayed in Dayton. He once remarked that, to his amazement, “I really marked up this world.”
POLICE SERGEANT LUCIUS J. RICE AND POLICEWOMAN DORA BURTON RICE (1876-1939; 1882-1940) Long serving pioneer Police officer and community activist Policewoman
In 1896, when he was 20, Sgt. Lucius Rice moved from North Carolina to Dayton where he met his future wife Dora, a first cousin of the renowned poet, Paul Laurence Dunbar. He served in the Ohio National Guard, distinguishing himself at Lake Erie in 1908 and winning government marksmanship medals. After being honorably discharged from the military, he was appointed to the Dayton Police Department. He became the second African-American man to serve on the Dayton police force and was one of the longest serving Dayton Police officers of the 20th century, serving more than 30 years. He was the first African-American lawman to be appointed a plainclothes detective. He was the first African-American in Dayton to become a police supervisor when he was promoted to sergeant in 1916. During his career, he served with distinction and sacrifice, often working 12-hour days, wounded twice, and then tragically lost his life in the line of duty in 1939.
Dora Rice first played the role of homemaker until her children were older when she became a community activist in her church, serving Wesleyan Methodist Church as treasurer for 20 years and as church organist for over 22 years. Then she chose to join her husband in law enforcement. In 1929 she was appointed to the Dayton Bureau of Policewomen, becoming the first African-American policewoman in Dayton. She served for 10 years before resigning for poor health and died six months after her husband was killed. Sgt. Rice is remembered by the Dayton Police History Foundation as a local legend and his wife as a civic activist and Dayton Police Woman.
JULIA REICHERT (1946- ) Pioneering independent filmmaker and educator
Julia Reichert, a graduate of Antioch, has been called the godmother of the American independent film movement. She is a three-time Oscar nominee. Her film Growing up Female was the first feature document of the modern Women’s Movement. Recently it was chosen for inclusion in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. One of her films (with Steven Bognar) premiered at Sundance and won the Primetime Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filming. She writes, directs, and produces. She is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a member of the advisory board of the Independent Feature Project. She is the co-founder of the New Day Films, a 42-year old social issue film distribution co-op, author of Doing it Yourself, the first book on self-distribution in independent film, a professor of motion pictures at Wright State University and a grandmother.
The honorees will be celebrated at a luncheon on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at the Sinclair College Conference Center. Tickets for the luncheon are available on the Dayton Region’s Walk of Fame website, www.daytonwalkoffame.citymax.com. Also, take advantage of the opportunity to honor your favorite Walk of Fame member during the May 18th Walk the Walk event; for just $150 you will be recognized as a fan, supporter, family member, organization, or company that pays tribute to a particular Walk of Fame member. Since 1996, over 170 outstanding individuals and groups and their contributions to the Miami Valley have been memorialized at the September event and with granite stones on West Third Street in Dayton.