A new senior citizen king and queen were crowned Aug. 23 in front of friends and family at the Lorain County Fair.
Wilma Zech, a local 4-H adviser for 65 years, and Tennessee native L.D. Daugherty took home the top spots and shared experiences as longtime fair attendees.
Daugherty, 82, is a Korean War veteran with four children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He called the coronation a “nice honor” as he was joined onstage by his granddaughter, Amber Phillips of Elyria.
“I’m so proud of him and so happy,” said Phillips. “This is the main man in my life and I love him to pieces. It’s so nice to have him recognized and he always looks forward to Senior Day at the fair.”
Zech, 83, of Wellington, began attending the fair as a child with her father, who was a beekeeper. In 1999 and 2000, she served as president of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary of Ohio and is set to receive an award for her lifetime of 4-H service from Ohio State University next year.
Her husband of 63 years, Conrad, was registered to compete for the title of king was unable to attend the fair due to a broken leg.
Wilma suffered a back injury in a recent accident but said that wasn’t going to keep her away from the fairgrounds.
“My aunt was the 4-H advisor in Henrietta Township and I took her place in 1960,” she said. “This is my first time taking part in the king and queen contest. It’s pretty neat to get recognized like this after helping so many others be recognized over the years. You never know when it’s going to be your last year and this is so special for me.”
“There’s only two people in the state of Ohio who are above me in terms of years in 4-H,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s kind of nice to get a pat on your back every once in a while and to know people are thankful for what you’ve done. This is a real exclamation point for me.”
Daugherty ran unopposed for king and Zech faced off against two other queen candidates: Penny Case and Phyllis Haynes, both of Wellington.
Case, 73, is a home health care provider and writes a column for the Enterprise, “Penny’s Pantry,” where she shares some of her favorite recipes. She is a lifelong Lorain County resident and plans to try for the crown again next year.
Haynes, 85, is a resident of Wellington’s St. Patrick Manor and a graduate of Kent State University and the D.T. Watson School of Physical Therapy. She is the mother of three children and has participated in productions of musicals including the “Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma,” and “The Music Man.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.