Service to St. John’s
Oliver (Ollie) Sever 1914-2010 Class of 1932
For more than 50 years Ollie Sever lived less than a block from the school and parish he served so selflessly. And that was how it had to be because while his wife and seven children are all Blue Jays, everyone at St. John’s was Ollie’s family. “His first passion was clearly Delphos St. John Parish and school,” said Ollie’s son, Joe Sever. “And it was an intimate part of his life for 45 years.” The 1932 graduate started working for St. John’s in 1937, earning just $50/month. He was on the job when most of the buildings on the grounds were built, his son said. As the school and parish grew and changed, Ollie was there. As head maintenance engineer, he helped convert the heating system in the school from coal to gas. He was there to change the pipe organ and church bells over to electric. He was there for countless renovations, church festivals, and sporting events. He designed and built the church nativity scene. Ollie was also a keeper of knowledge about the maintenance and history of buildings at St. John’s. That knowledge often proved vital when repairs were needed. And from the very beginning he was there for emergencies.
In late December 1941, just days before he was to marry Rita (Kill) Sever, the heating went out at the St. John’s convent. Rita said Ollie worked night and day to get the heat back on so he could make it to his own wedding. Characteristically, he got the job done. Ollie wasn’t one to complain either, Rita said. She credits his mother, for instilling his commitment to family and church. Ollie’s father died when he was just eight years old. So he helped take care of his mother and five siblings. After high school, while the country struggled with the Depression, Ollie worked for 25 cents a day. He picked cherries and beat rugs. “He did say at one time, everything he made he gave to his mother.” Rita said. She also said her husband always saw it as a blessing to be able to extend that kind of service
to the whole St. John’s family. “He answered anything you could ask,” Rita said. She also said that he would have loved knowing he’s being inducted in the Hall of Fame for Service to St. John. “He’d be so proud.”
Service to Mankind
Ronnie Grothouse Class of 1961
Ronnie Grothouse is more amazed by what he sees around him than by his own actions. While he hesitates to take credit for his efforts, Ronnie constantly sees people in the community giving back. “Delphos is so fortunate to have so many volunteers to work tirelessly and accomplish so many things,” he said. It’s his accomplishments though which distinguish him as he’s inducted into the Hall of Fame for Service to Mankind. Ronnie is involved in the Delphos Kiwanis and the Stadium Club, which continue to improve the parks. He’s dedicated to helping the schools too. He drives countless miles transporting equipment and scouting tapes for high school sports. For more than 17 years he’s taken equipment to Camp Wilson and Camp High Hope for children going on retreats. He supports soccer teams, Little League, midget football, middle school basketball, boy and girl scouts and he’s sponsored eight young people during their Confirmation. And he does it all for the kids. “If people ask me to do something, I feel there has to be a direct benefit to the kids,” he said.
In 2003 Ronnie was named Tri-County Man of the Year. In 2008 he was honored with a Jefferson Award for Public Service. Ronnie was shocked to find out he was to be inducted in the St. John’s Hall of Fame. “It came as a total surprise, mainly because of the young man who nominated me,” he said. Fourteen-year-old Ryan Koester, put together a 7-page submission with scores of letters and signatures. But Ronnie doesn’t volunteer for recognition. “Here I am, you see me on the street, this is who I am.” And he doesn’t take credit because for him, volunteering isn’t work. He’s just doing what he loves. He gets more out of it than he could ever give. And that’s just what his parents taught him. “Mom always told us it’s far better to give than to receive. And Dad said we should all leave this world far better than when we arrived.” And the 1961 graduate said Delphos St. John teaches students the same thing. As a result, the work he does flows throughout the whole community and
beyond. Ronnie insists that when he takes a step back he continues to find his community unbelievable. He thinks volunteerism really defines Delphos. "This is not about me, it’s about all of us and what we can do together,” he says. “There might be a long title behind my name but it
belongs to everyone.”
Mary (Scherger) Bonhomme Class of 1970
No field has seen more growth since 1970 than technology. And Mary (Scherger) Bonhomme, the Delphos St. John Hall of Fame inductee for Professional Achievement, has been at the forefront. From her days as editor of the high school year book to her role at Associate Provost and Dean of Online Learning at the Florida Institute of Technology, advancing technology is part of life. “Technology from mainframes to laptops, from ditto machines to email, from mailing letters to the internet has certainly changed how life is from the workplace, to the home, to society,” Bonhomme said. “I’ve enjoyed the experience of learning about, using and implementing these new technologies. I think the important thing is to not overlook that there still needs to be a human aspect to make these technologies of service to humanity.”
Bonhomme graduated cum laude from Miami University, earning a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She earned an MLS and MBA from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in instructional design from Purdue University. Bonhomme worked as a director in the Purdue Continuing
Engineering Education department. She was the Director of the virtual graduate center at Florida Institute of Technology. Later she worked at the University of Florida as the director of EDGE, the university’s electronic delivery of graduate engineering. Bonhomme is the recipient of the Joan Bixby Award from Florida Institute of Technology, which recognizes contributions in the advancement of women. She was the first woman chair of the board directors for the Association of Media Based Continuing Education. She was also a member of the board for the National Technological University. The American Society for Engineering Education awarded her a series of awards including the Joseph Biedenbach Award. The National University of Continuing Education Association recognized her as a Region IV Continuing Education Professional. She is a Cabot Volunteer award winner and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kappa Delta Pi, Sigma Iota Epsilon and Phi Kappa Phi.
Mary said her education at St. John’s allowed her to learn good study habits, find research for papers and make informed decisions. She carried these things into college and her career. Bonhomme also said she enjoyed growing up in a community where everybody knows your name. “It gave me a feeling of safety and connection,” she said. It’s not technology, but that connection to people and life that sustains Bonhomme. In the 1970 Crest she wrote about the mosaic of life: Life is truly a wonderful experience, and each student's life is a unique pattern influenced by his home, his faith, his school, and his interests.” “Even after all these years, these words still ring true!” she said.
She is married to Raymond F. Bonhomme, who also works in higher education. They live in Satellite Beach, Fla., where, from their patio, they enjoy watching space shuttle launches.