Champion of the Month

Don Stodghill Share

May 1, 2017  |  Layla Price-Bodkin

Don Stodghill may not have lived in Mar­i­on all of his life, but he has made a huge foot­print. Stodghill moved to Mar­i­on when he was 22 years old in the ear­ly 1950s. Hail­ing from Vin­cennes, he had grad­u­at­ed from Lin­coln High School, and served near­ly 4 years in the Marines on the east coast dur­ing the Kore­an War. 

Stodghill owned and oper­at­ed E & K Steel Erec­tors, based in Mar­i­on for about 30 years. 

Through a per­son­al inter­est in rivers and city parks, he met his wife, Shirley, around 1955.

They became involved in the Mis­sissinewa Riv­er Boat and Ski Club in the mid-1950s. He and club mem­bers includ­ing Ken and Mary Pah­meier and oth­ers, built the first ski jump and ini­ti­at­ed the Riv­er Regat­ta in Mar­i­on. You could come down on week­ends and find 1,5002,000 peo­ple watch­ing the club per­form,” recalled Stodghill.

As his pro­fes­sion­al work career slowed down, he want­ed to get more involved in the com­mu­ni­ty. They helped me so much when I was younger, so I want­ed to give back.” He became involved with Com­mu­ni­ty Rehab, help­ing low-income fam­i­lies obtain housing. 

Stodghill was a dri­ving force behind the estab­lish­ment of the Mis­sissinewa River­way around 1980, the city-owned River­walk which, to this day, is enjoyed by the pub­lic, and serves as a con­nec­tor in Marion. 

Dur­ing the 80s, Stodghill was one of the ini­tia­tors and orga­niz­ers of River­fest, which became a wide­ly known and excit­ing tra­di­tion in Mar­i­on. Dur­ing the River­fest, they per­formed ski shows, held com­mu­ni­ty par­ties, and even start­ed the first Rub­ber Duck­ie Race to raise mon­ey for the club and the city.

After the years went by, Stodghill start­ed vol­un­teer­ing reg­u­lar­ly for the Gar­dens of Mat­ter Park, and still serves in that capac­i­ty. He assists Doug Dar­ga and Julia Gless­ner with dai­ly tasks, and says he offers his opin­ion whether they want to hear it or not. I enjoy design­ing, plant­i­ng, and main­tain­ing the Gar­dens, and I appre­ci­ate that such a great park is locat­ed here in Mar­i­on. I want to give back to what Mar­i­on has giv­en me and my fam­i­ly. I invite any­one to come to the Gar­dens to see how beau­ti­ful it is, and I’ll give you a tour.”

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