Bethlehem and Harmony Cemetery Preservation Endowment

Jeannie and Myron Vanness

Under the summer sun, they pulled weeds and mowed. Each year, Myron and Jeannine Vanness remembered Jeannine’s family by caring for the cemeteries where they were buried. By caring for the cemeteries, they remembered their past and honored their ancestors.

Myron and Jeannine were together more than 51 years when she passed away November 24, 2001. To honor her and their legacy, Myron created the Harmony and Bethlehem Cemetery Endowment in the Franklin County Community Foundation.

Upon Jeannine’s death, a memorial fund was established to care for the cemeteries at The Bath State Bank. In 2002, Myron endowed the fund in the Foundation to continue their legacy of cemetery care.

Each year, income from the fund is granted to the Franklin County Cemetery Association to provide a mechanism for improving cemetery preservation within Bath Township, specifically for the Bethlehem and Harmony cemeteries. The cemetery association will be able to maintain, repair and restore monuments, headstones and grave markers; provide funds for the preservation, beautification and maintenance of abandoned or deteriorating graves and contribute to the aesthetic enjoyment of the community.

The son of Leroy and Susan Christine (Hann) Vanness, Myron Vanness was born November 29, 1929. He graduated from Reily High School in 1946. Jeannie Sayers, the daughter of Steven D. and Dessie Mae (Sizemore) Sayres was born July 11, 1928. She graduated from McGuffey High School in 1947. Myron graduated from Miami University’s School of Education with a B.S. in 1950. The same year, he married Jeannine. In 1952, Jeannine began working in the Miami University president’s business office. She took time off from work to raise their family including: Marcia Christian Watson, Myron Roy Vanness, Jr., Stephanie Lynn Galbraith and Valerie Lee Kragos. Myron received a Masters in Physical Education in 1970 and owned and operated a third generation painting business, Vanness Decorators. He also taught school for ten years, spent two in the military and was a school administrator for more than 20. Myron is a Past Worthy Patron Oxford Eastern Star, member of Oxford Masons, Past Chairman of Oxford Mason Temple Board.

Jeannine worked in the Talawanda School District Board office for nine years. She was active in the Oxford Eastern Star and was a Worthy Matron along with other offices. Both Myron and Jeannine were active in the Oxford Methodist Church. Later in life, Jeannine became very active in family genealogy, which led to high interest in the Harmony and Bethlehem cemeteries in Franklin County.

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