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Aurora Historical Society honors Mary Clark Ormond

The Aurora Historical Society honored one of its former board members with an award few have ever received.

The group’s board of directors chose to present former board chair Mary Clark Ormond with the Aurora Historical Society Lifetime Achievement Award; This is only the third time this award has been given.

Ormond, 77, was presented with the award during a members-only preview of Tanner House and room decorations that were displayed to the public in December.

A press release from the Aurora Historical Society stated that Ormond “joins past recipients Fred B. Graham Jr. and Richard A. Haussmann.”

“Graham, the first recipient, received the award in 1992 after having been active in the Association for more than 30 years, serving as a volunteer, board member and officer, including president,” according to the statement.

In the statement, it was stated that Haussmann “received his award in 2001, just before his death, after serving in the association for nearly 30 years, serving on the board of directors and serving as both treasurer and president.”

After Ormond left the board in August after 13 years, board members immediately began discussing giving the award, Aurora Historical Society Executive Director John Jaros said.

“We talked among ourselves in our monthly meetings and decided to address this issue because it was a really important thing we needed to do,” Jaros said. “Mary has done so much for our organization and we thought this was an appropriate type of recognition to give a lifetime award. “This is something we don’t do very often.”

Ormond joined the team in 2010 and described his time at the Aurora Historical Society as “an era unto itself,” Jaros said.

“He was always a leader from the moment he came on board,” he said. “He became vice president of the board his sophomore year and became president in 2012.”

Jaros described Ormond as always optimistic and someone who “had a lot of good ideas and imagination.”

“Mary had great ideas, but she also knew how to execute them,” he said. “When he said, ‘Let’s do this,’ it meant let’s do this together.”

Jaros also praised Ormond’s marketing skills, noting that the former board member “made sure the word got out about what the Historical Society was doing.”

“He was such a good worker that most of the time when things were going on, he wasn’t afraid to put in his own hours plus his own money to make sure things got done. He would say, ‘I’ll get the treats,’ and make sure everything was done right,” Jaros said.

Ormond was modest when asked about the award.

“I understand how special this is because the award has only been given three times,” he said. “Looking back, (being on the Historical Society board) was a very important part of my life.”

Ormond said he found himself “so dedicated” to working for the Aurora Historical Society that it basically became a full-time job.

“I worked on everything from raising money to fixing the downstairs toilet,” he laughed. “It went from ridiculous to sublime, and after 13 years, I’m not sorry I’m over it. I retired in August and enjoy traveling, reading, and being with my grandchild. “I think it’s a good thing to not have deadlines or someone to report to.”

Ormond said he believes he is leaving the group in good hands and that the group has many good volunteers.

“I don’t think I let them down in any way,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent out there and they’ll move on without me.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News

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