image of the mast head for Famous Findlayians

Since Findlay, Ohio is my hometown, I've been interested in learning about famous people who were born and/or lived in Findlay and the surrounding Hancock County Ohio area. This page is a salute to them. Also you might learn something you didn't know before like I did as I was compiling this information.

The list is in alphabetical order with those who have photos available listed first followed by those who I don't have pictures for yet. I have also included a tribute to the Congressional Medal of Honor winners from Hancock county followed by a listing of members of the US Congress from the area. Where I've confirmed people were born in Findlay I note that in their listing. "Famous" is a subjective term here. I decided to include those who are or were known in their field of work if not to the public at large and to be featured with a photo the person would also need to have accomplished something in their field.

This list is a work in progress as I don't know everything. If you have a suggestion about someone, who was born and/or lived in Findlay or Hancock county, please let me know on the submission form. If you can, please provide some kind of on-line means for me to verify your suggestion.

Image of a sig

image of Willard Harrison Bennett

Willard Harrison Bennett (b.1903 d.1987: Physicist and inventor)- Invented the radio frequency mass spectrometer, in 1955, a device that measures the mass of ions. In the 1930's Bennett pioneered studies in plasma physics - the study of gases ionized by high-voltage electricity. Born in Findlay.

image of Peggy Kirk Bell

Peggy Kirk Bell (b. 1921: Professional golfer & instructor) an early member of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and renowned golf instructor. Won winning three Ohio Amateurs and the 1949 Titleholders Championship and North and South Women's Amateur. She was also a member of the 1950 U.S. Curtis Cup team before turning professional. Born in Findlay.



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Ralph Dayton Cole (b. 1873 - d. 1932: politician) U.S. Representative from Ohio (1905-1911) One of the founders of the American Legion at Paris February 16, 1919. Lived and worked in Findlay.



image of Gavin Creel

Gavin Creel (Broadway actor and recording artist) His first big part was the male lead, Jimmy Smith, in "Thoroughly Modern Millie", which led to a Tony nomination for Best Actor (Musical). He got another Tony nomination for his role in the revial of "Hair" in 2009. Creel has released the albums "Goodtimenation" and "Get Out". His official website is at gavincreel.com



image of Russel Crouse

Russel Crouse (b. 1893 d. 1966: actor, writer, and producer) wrote, along with partner Howard Lindsay, "Life with Father" and "Sound of Music" for Broadway. He won a Tony for 'Sound of Music' in 1960. Born in Findlay. He is the father of actress Lindsay Crouse and grandfather of actress Zosia Mamet.



image of David Cryer

David Cryer (b. 1936: stage actor) graduated from Findlay High School in 1954. Best known for rolls in 'Phantom of the Opera', 'Evita', and '1776' on Broadway as well as many roles off-Broadway and in touring companies. Has also appeared in movies and as a guest on various TV shows like "Law and Order" and 'Wonder Woman'. Father of actor Jon Cryer from CBS' "Two and Half Men"



image of Jo Ann Davidson

Jo Ann Davidson (b. 1927: politician) selected as the first woman speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives in 1995. Served 20 years in the Ohio House and is active in the National Republican Party. Born in Findlay.



image of Delos Daniel Drake

Delos Daniel Drake (b. 1886 d. 1965) was a Major League Baseball player who played 83 games in the Detroit Tigers outfield in 1911 beside Ty Cobb. Grew up in Findlay. His father was manager of the Findlay Sluggers in the 1890's. With the Tigers, he hit for a .279 average in 315 at bats, had 9 triples and 20 stolen bases. Worked for 30 years for Marathon Oil.



image of Marie Dressler

Marie Dressler (b. 1868 - d. 1934) was an actress during the golden age of Hollywood. She also appeared on Broadway and in vaudeville. She won a Best Actress Oscar in 1931 for the movie "Min and Bill" Lived in Findlay as a child through her teen years.



image of Matt Fox

Matt Fox (TV Host) co-host, along with Shari Hiller, of the long running HGTV show "room by room" and currently "Around The House with Matt and Shari" on PBS. Born and grew up in Findlay.



image of Donald Arthur Gary

Donald Arthur Gary (b. 1901 - d. 1977: US Navy, World War II Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient) When his ship was hit in battle Commander Gary risked his life to save many fellow crew members. Born in Findlay. Other Medal of Honor winners are listed further down.



image of Harry Gonso

Harry Gonso (college football QB, lawyer) led Indiana University to their first and so far only Rose Bowl in 1968. He holds many records for the quarter back position at IU and is still a legend to IU fans. Born in Findlay and graduated from Findlay High.



image of Ray Harroun

Ray Harroun (b. 1879 - d. 1968: race driver) Won the first Indy 500 in 1911 with the #32 Marmon "Wasp" that included the world's first rear view mirror. Lived in Findlay as a youth. His parents are burried in Findlay.



image of C.J. 'Pappy' Hart

C.J. "Pappy" Hart (b. 1911 - d. 2004: Drag Racing) Opened first comercial drag strip in Southern California (the Santa Ana Dragstrip) in 1950 to give hot rods a place to race legally. Developed the first rules for drag racing and established the 'quarter-mile' as a standard race distance. Born in Findlay.



image of William 'Dummy' Hoy

William "Dummy" Hoy (b. 1862 - d. 1961: baseball player) born in Houcktown. His claim to fame was he is the first deaf mute major league baseball player to play the game. Legend has it that it was because of Hoy that umpires use hand signals for balls and strikes today. Some even say that all the various hand signs are the result of his playing days. There is no documented proof of that but it sounds interesting. Hoy was active from 1888 to 1903 and played in 1796 games with an average of .287 that included 2004 hits, 1426 runs, 40 homers and 726 runs batted in. His career included stops with the Washington Senators, Chicago White Sox, and the Cincinnati Reds from 1888 to 1902.



image of Grant 'Homerun' Johnson

Grant "Homerun" Johnson (b. 1874 - d. 1963: baseball player) Played in the Negro Leagues from 1894 to 1932. First played for the Findlay Sluggers in 1894 and hit a reported 60 homeruns. Also made stops with Cuban X-Giants, Philadelphia Giants, and Brooklyn Royal Giants. Born in Findlay. http://coe.ksu.edu/nlbemuseum/history/players/johnsong.html



image of John Kidd

John Kidd (b. 1961: NFL Punter) Star punter for Northwestern University. Active in the NFL from 1984-1998. The highest-selected punter in Buffalo Bills history. Kidd also played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, and New York Jets. Graduated from Findlay High School - Class of 1980. Was a star punter, quarterback, and basketball player for FHS.



image of Dr. Harold Koontz

Dr. Harold Koontz (b. 1908 d. 1984: Business Consultant) Leading mid-twenth centry writer on business management theory and a consultant for US's largest business organizations. His seminal book was "Principles of Management" (1955) with Cyril J. O'Donnell sold around two million copies and has been translated into 15 languages. Born in Findlay.



image of Rowland V. Lee

Rowland V. Lee (b. 1891 - d. 1975: actor, director, writer, producer) Known for directing low budget horror movies like Son of Frankenstein (1939) and Captain Kidd (1945). Lee received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Rowland V. Lee's IMDB page. Born in Findlay.



image of Bernie Little

Bernie Little (b. 1926 - d. 2003) owned the most successful Unlimited Hydroplane boat in history "Miss Budweiser". The team won 134 of the 354 hydroplane races they entered. They won the high points championship 22 years in 40 years of competition, and the Gold Cup 14 times. Grew up in McComb, Ohio.

image of Mark Metcalf

Mark Metcalf (b. 1946: actor, producer) Played "Doug Neidermeyer" in the classic film Animal House (1978) "The Master" in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1996-1998 and 2002) and "Maestro" on a couple of episodes of "Seinfeld" (1996) among others. Born in Findlay.



image of Mark Metcalf

J. Robin Miller (b. 1972: actress) Guest starred on many TV shows such as NCIS, CSI, JAG, That 70's Show, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Played Lydia Karenin Cassadine #2 on General Hospital in 2003. Born in Findlay. Miller's IMDB page



image of Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller (student) Resigned from West Point in 2010 in protest of the military's "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy. She resigned rather than lie to continue her military career. She was ranked 17th in her class at the time. Her story made national news which included being a guest of singer Lady Gaga at the MTV video music awards on September 12th 2010. Graduated from Findlay High School - class of 2008.



image of Marilyn Miller

Marilyn Miller (b. 1898 - d. 1936: dancer, singer and actress) was one of the most popular Broadway musical stars of the 1920s and early 1930s. She was an accomplished tap dancer, singer and actress, but it was the combination of these talents that endeared her to audiences. She worked for famed Broadway producers Lee Shubert and Florenz Ziegfeld who made her a star after she performed in his Ziegfeld Follies. She also danced with Fred Astaire in 1930. Miller, in her youth, lived for many years in Findlay while with her family's vaudeville act the "Five Columbians".



image of Steve Morehead

Steve Morehead (motorcross) aka the "Findlay Flyer," was one of the leading dirt-track racers from the mid-1970s through the 1990s. In all, No. 42 won a total of 23 AMA Nationals during his 26-year professional racing career. He finished ranked in the top-10 a remarkable 17 times. Morehead became a fan favorite and was one of the oldest riders on the professional dirt-track circuit when he retired. Born in Findlay.



image of Michael Garver 'Mike' Oxley

Michael Garver "Mike" Oxley (b. 1944: politician) Republican member of the U.S. Congress from the 4th congressional district of Ohio (1981-2007). He served as the chairman of the Committee on Financial Services, and was House sponsor of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which provided for oversight of public companies to prevent fraud. Also worked as an FBI agent before going into politics. Other members of Congress who were born or lived in Findlay



image of Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker (basketball coach) Assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets (2006-2007) and Dallas Mavericks (1995-2005). He was head coach of the USC Trojans (1995-1996), Wayne State (1982-1988) and a long time assistant at various colleges including Bowling Green and his alma mater, University of Findlay where he had also played as part of the Class of 1972.

image of James D. Parriott

James D. Parriott (b. 1950: writer, producer, director) Lived for a time in Findlay as a youth. Has worked as executive producer and writer of the show "Grey's Anatomy" (2005) on ABC and Covert Affairs on USA. He also created, wrote, and/or produced classic TV shows such as "Forever Knight" (1992-1996), "Voyagers!" (1982), "The Bionic Woman" (1976-1978) and the "The Incredible Hulk" (1978-1982). Wow! His IMDB page

image of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (b. 1898 - d. 1993: clergyman) Minister and author of the book "The Power of Positive Thinking". Lived in Findlay when his father was pastor of the First Methodist Church from 1916 to 1919, and later superintendent of the old Findlay District of the denomination. Dr. Peale worked as a reporter for the Findlay Morning Republican newspaper, in 1920, before going into the ministry.



image of Forest Charles 'Tot' Pressnell

Forest Charles "Tot" Pressnell (b. 1906 - d. 2001: baseball player) Was a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Chicago Cubs from 1938 to 1942. Born and buried in Findlay.



image of Howard Taylor Ricketts

Howard Taylor Ricketts (b. 1871 - d. 1910: pathologist) He discovered the bacterium that causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever and was one of the researchers who found the same bacterium led to epidemic typhus. He died from typhus during his research in Mexico. The science community named a taxonomic family (Rickettsiaceae) and an order (Rickettsiales) after him. Born in Findlay.



image of Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger (b. 1982: football QB) Led Pittsburgh Steelers to 15-1 regular season record as a rookie in 2004. Helped Steelers win Super Bowl XL after the 2005 season and Super Bowl XLIII in 2009. First played quarterback as a senior in high school at Findlay High and finished 2nd in the 1999 Ohio Mr. Football award with over 4,000 yards and 54 touchdowns as a senior. Because he is 6 feet 5" tall his nickname is "Big Ben". In 2011, he had the Steelers change his hometown in their media guide to "Corey Rawson", Ohio - a place that doesn't exist. Some believe he did this after Findlay residents criticized him during his personal off the field issues in 2010.



image of Dave Sorenson

Dave Sorenson (b. 1948 - d. 2002: basketball) Twice named first team All-Buckeye Conference, was Ohio Player of the Year 1965-66, and was named Buckeye Conference MVP. He remains among FHS' all-time leaders in career, season and game scoring. Played for Ohio State. Led Ohio State in scoring and rebounding as a junior and as a senior. Helped the Buckeyes win the 1968 Big Ten championship and hit the game-winning basket against Kentucky that sent the Buckeyes into the 1968 NCAA Final Four. Played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA. Sorenson's NBA stats



image of Dick Strahm

Dick Strahm (b. 1934: Football coach) was head football coach at the University of Findlay (1975-1998). In 24 seasons as head coach, he posted 22 winning seasons. He won a share of 13 conference titles and made 13 NAIA playoff appearances. In 1979, 1992, 1995 and 1997 his Oilers won the national championship, with the 1978 team placing second. He coached 38 NAIA All-America players, 16 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and one NAIA Player of the Year. His career record was 183-46-5. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004.



image of Tell Taylor

Tell Taylor (b. 1876 - d. 1937: songwriter) born near Vanlue. Wrote the famous Tin Pan Alley song "Down by the Old Mill Stream" about the Blanchard River that runs through Findlay and Hancock county.



Others of note:


John E. Benington (basketball coach b. 1921 - d. 1969) was head coach at Michigan State (1966-1969). Benington died of a massive heart attack at age 47. Born in Findlay.

Richard C. "Dick" Clark (basketball player b. 1944) played for the Minnesota Muskies (1967-68) and Houston Mavericks (1968-69) in the old ABA for 58 games. Born in Findlay.

David Gamper (b. 1945 - d. 2011: composer) was a member of Deep Listening Band with Pauline Oliveros & Stuart Dempster and "See Hear Now" with his wife Gisela.

Clyde "Dizzy" Kirkendall (b.1915 - d. 1957) was a pitcher for the champion Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons softball team in the 1940's. Member, National Softball Hall of Fame. Also known as "Dizzy" Kirkendall. Born in Findlay

David "Dave" Lester Laut (b. 1956 - d. 2009) was an American shot putter. He won the bronze medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. He also won the gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games and the bronze at the 1981 IAAF World Cup. Born in Findlay.

Medal of Honor Recipients


Findlay and Hancock County is the home of six Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients.

image of Hancock County Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients marker at Maple Grove Cemetery Findlay Ohio

William Bensinger, 21st Ohio Infantry (1840-1918) buried in McComb, OH
John R. Porter, 21st Ohio Infantry (1838-1923) buried in McComb, OH
John Morehead Scott, 21st Ohio Infantry (1839-1862) (posthumous; was hanged as a spy by the Confederates) buried in The Chattanooga National Cemetery, TN

-- all were part of Andrews' Raid that occurred April 12, 1862, in northern Georgia. The mission was to steal a locomotive and do as much damage to a vital Confederate rail line between Chattanooga and Atlanta.


Wilson J Vance, 21st Ohio Infantry (Died 1911). At Stone River, Tenn., 31 December 1862.
William H Williams 82d Ohio Infantry. At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864.

The sixth Donald Arthur Gary is noted in the section above.

Members of Congress


In addition to Mike Oxley and Ralph D. Cole mentioned in the first part of this page, Findlay and Hancock County have been the home to several members of Congress over the years.

Jackson Edward Betts (b. 1904 - d. 1993) was a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio (1951 - 1973). Born in Findlay.

R. Clint Cole (b. 1870 - d. 1957) was a U.S. Representative from Ohio (1919-1925), brother of Ralph D. Cole. Lived and worked in Findlay.

Tennyson Guyer (b. 1913 - d. 1981) was a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio (1973-1981). Born in Findlay.

William Mungen (b. 1821 - d. 1887) was a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio (1867-1871). Lived and worked in Findlay from childhood. Hancock county auditor, served in the Ohio Senate, and was editor and publisher of the Findlay Democratic Courier

Richard Williams (b. 1836 - d. 1914) was an American lawyer and politician in the state of Oregon. A native of Findlay Ohio, he moved to Oregon in 1851 where he became an attorney. A Republican, he was the United States Congressman representing Oregon's at large congressional district for one term from 1877 to 1879.

Last updated 05/18/2012

2012 is Findlay's Bicentennial


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