ST. PARIS – The grand marshals during the 2016 St. Paris Pony Wagon Days festival were Howard and Rita Wibel.
The Wibels have been residents of St. Paris their entire lives and were married 50 years this past June. During those 50 years they have enjoyed raising their two children, Kellee of Troy and Jason of Indianapolis, and have three grandchildren, Amanda and Logan Wibel of St. Paris and Sister Mary Grace of Michigan.
They also enjoy their Westie dog Abby Jo.
Mr. Wibel graduated from Johnson-St. Paris School and has been involved with farming for 70 years. He recently retired from Spring Grove Cemetery as sexton. Prior to full retirement he was employed by KTH Industries, where he spent 17 years, and Val Decker Meat Packing of Piqua, where he worked 26 years.
He was a member of the Army National Guard and is a 50-year member of St. Paris K of P Lodge. He has driven the veterans shuttle for the Pony Wagon Days for the past four years and enjoys being outdoors taking care of the garden and lawn work.
The Wibels enjoy baseball and football games along with traveling. They have traveled through the country, Canada and Maritime Provinces and have been on several cruises.
They have also served as Lions Club members.
Mrs. Wibel graduated shortly after Mr. Wibel, just in time to be an official Graham graduate. Along with raising their two children, she spent 10 years as a 4-H advisor of the Dolly’s Dolittes Club.
She worked at the Ohio Honey Association before being employed full time by Drackett of Urbana and Copperweld of Piqua as Customer Service Manager.
Mrs. Wibel enjoys collecting cookbooks, canning, cooking, crocheting and knitting, as well as reading. She is a member of the Spring Grove Cemetery Board, St. Paris Antique Study Club, Order of Eastern Star Urbana Chapter 530, Phythian Sisters, Friends of the Library and St. Paris Red Rubies Red Hats.
She enjoys volunteering at her church, where she is a member of ABW and Tuesday Women’s Bible Study, serves on the Deacons Board and helps with the MOPS group. The Wibels attend the First Baptist Church, St. Paris.
Mrs. Wibel’s favorite and most memorable job was working for the St. Paris Public Library, where she spent 15 loving years assisting children, teens and adults, encouraging them to read and love their library. She loved seeing the lasting impressions of encouraging children and teens to read.
“My greatest reward is that I was able to pass something on to the children and meeting a lot of wonderful people through our great library,” Mrs. Wibel stated. “I love seeing those individuals coming back as adults and thanking me for helping and encouraging them.”
The Wibels said they are honored and grateful that the Pony Wagon Days Committee chose them as grand marshals.