MINSTER — The Oktoberfest Board has chosen Rita Hoying, of Minster, as the 2015 grand marshal of the Oktoberfest parade. The Oktoberfest will be held Oct. 2-4.
Hoying has exhibited a lifetime of community service to Minster residents and greatly deserves this honor, festival organizers said. She turned 90 years old in August and is still very active in community projects.
Hoying compiled a display called, “A Walk Through History,” for the first Oktoberfest 40 years ago. At first, the display was in a tent on the grounds of the park; it was later moved to the elementary school gymnasium as more room was needed. The display began with 16 posters, each telling a part of the town’s history, such as the earliest settlers, the building of the Miami-Erie Canal, and the cholera epidemic of 1849, and continues today with 52 posters on easels that tell the history of the town, from Stallostown to Minster. As the town grew, additional posters were added to the display.
Hoying hosts the display each year and answers questions from visitors, as several hundred people walk through on Saturday and Sunday of each year’s Oktoberfest. During the year, Hoying works on the posters, adding pieces of historical information as she finds them in her research, and adding photos to make the display more interesting. She sometimes talks to groups and uses several of her posters to explain and inform about history. With all the information she has on the history of the town, Hoying could be known as the town’s “wikipedia,” organizers said.
Hoying raised a family of seven children with her husband, Louis A. Hoying, who passed away in 1982, shortly before the couple’s history book, “Pilgrims All,” was publisehd. Louis also was a Minster native, a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and Notre Dame University, and a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Their oldest son, the Rev. David Hoying, assisted in the research and publication of the book.
David currently is stationed at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Bryant, Indiana. Daughter Ruth (James) Fullenkamp lives in Minster. The Fullenkamps have three children, Rachel (Richard) Faircloth, and Louis and Jack Fullenkamp. Two sons live at home, Louis Hoying and Theodore Hoying. Daughter Therese (Steve) Fledderjohn lives in West Chester and their children are Joshua, Alex, and Alyssa (Christopher) Wade; Rita’s first great-grandchild is Ezekiel Wade. Daughter Regine (William Forst) Elliott and children Margaret, Caroline, Rebecca and William Elliott live in Kettering. Daughter Margaret (Michael) Delaney and children Grace and Liam live in Euclid. At one time, there were 11 people living in the Hanover Street home: Rita and Louis with five children, as well as parents Anton and Mary Fortman and two bachelor uncles, Joseph and Henry Duwel.
Rita Hoying joined the Minster Historical Society in 1982 and assisted through the years with the baked-goods booth at the early Oktoberfests and with various programs each year for the public, including the most recent, “Stepping Among the Stones,” for which she researches several areas of the cemetery each year. David Hoying then takes a tour group through those areas of the cemetery. She still is a “go-to” person for information for the historical group.
Hoying has visited many towns in Germany where area residents’ ancestors lived and gives genealogical and historical information to anyone who asks. She also spends much time researching at various libraries in the area, reading census records, and finding the earliest residents of Minster. She has shared all of her work with others who needed help in finding an ancestor, and has given talks to beginning genealogists and programs to group and school classes, Kiwanis and Village Council, among others. She has shared photographs and information with other authors and with area newspapers. For many years she has been the church archivist, giving group tours through St. Augustine Church.
During the years her children were in school, Hoying served in many organizations. She was vice president of the band parents group, and was active in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, sewed uniforms for junior high cheerleaders, and helped with 4-H projects by transporting animals and poultry to the Darke County Fair and FFA projects to the Ohio State Fair.
Hoying has been an active member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the American Legion Post for 60 years. She has worked on many of the group’s projects over the years. She served as secretary, treasurer, and currently is auditor of the group. She also was an officer with the Catholic Ladies of Columbia, when it was active.
Along with David, who compiled the oldest cemetery records, Rita has kept records and maps for the cemetery from the earliest burials in the 1830s to the present. She compiled the book, “Cemetery Records,” which was published in 2005 by the Cemetery Board, and she had just finished revising it through 2013 with 3,622 burials. Married women are listed with their maiden names; all have the section and lot marked so they can be easily located. She has devoted countless hours to this project.
Hoying and her family have never accepted compensation of any kind for what they did for the community, Oktoberfest officials said. All the proceeds from “Pilgrims All” go to the church.
Hoying has spent her adult life helping others, dedicated to the community of Minster and helping residents, officials said. Her daughter Ruth Fullenkamp commented that “her life has been intertwined with her love for heritage, genealogy and history. She has been a strong, knowledgeable, quiet force behind the scenes, never seeking commendation or praise.” She has touched most of Minster’s residents with her contributions, officials said.
Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News