Record Attendance Honors Reitz; Remembers Mix

September 23, 2015 at 10:15 PM

            For a second consecutive year, an attendance record was set at the DuBois Area Historical Society’s dinner. One hundred and fourteen people attended the 33rd annual dinner to pay tribute to the Paul G. and Dorothy F. Reitz Charitable Trust and recall DuBois resident and movie star Tom Mix just prior to the 75th anniversary of his death in October.

            Society President Ruth Gregori presented the organization’s Champion of History Award to the Paul G. and Dorothy F. Reitz Charitable Trust for its support of the DuBois Area Historical Society’s mission. The Reitz Charitable Trust made annual monetary donations to the Society.

nancy_micks.jpg            “This is home and always will be,” said Nancy Micks (photo at left) after accepting the award. “It is the businesses and organizations that help move DuBois forward. Our parents made it important to give back and their charitable trust was an overwhelming opportunity to pay it forward.”

             The Reitz Charitable Trust was named for the late Paul G. and Dorothy F. Reitz. Paul was a humanitarian, philanthropist, civic and business leader, who was a native of Shannondale and received his education in the Brookville School District. His father, Homer, operated a grocery store in Brookville, where Paul began his working career eventually going into partnership with his father in the 1940s.

            Paul opened the first Riverside supermarket in Brookville in 1947 and went on to form the S. V. Corporation, which expanded to 10 markets by the time it merged with Penn Traffic Company in 1962. The Penn Traffic Company grew and at one time operated 44 Riverside and 20 Quality markets, six department stores, and the Johnstown Sanitary Dairy. Paul was named president and CEO of Penn Traffic in 1975 and Chief Executive Officer in 1976. He was elected chairman of the board of directors of the company in 1978.

            He served as mayor of DuBois from 1960-64 and was also active in community affairs. He served as president of the Bucktail Council of Boy Scouts, was the motivator and first president of the United Fund of the DuBois Area. He served on the administrative board of the 1st United Methodist Church, a director of the Deposit National Bank, DuBois Hospital board of trustees, and a member of DuBois Chamber of Commerce, 219 Association, and DuBois-Jefferson County Airport Authority.

            Dorothy as born in Brockway and was a graduate of Brockway High School. She married Paul in 1936. She was a member of Lakeside Methodist Church and the DuBois Regional Medical Center Auxiliary and was a volunteer for the DuBois Regional Medical Center.

            Paul died in 1979 and Dorothy in 2004. They continued their support of the community through the trust they established operated by their children Ted L. Reitz and Nancy J. Micks.

            The Society’s Champion of History Award was established to recognize individuals, groups, or organizations that have contributed to the goals of the purpose of the DuBois Area Historical Society as described in the Society’s mission statement:  “To promote the study, preservation, and appreciation of history.”

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Todd Thompson explains Tom Mix's life.

         Society Historian Todd Thompson presented the evening’s program recalling Tom Mix. The presentation included a PowerPoint program highlighting Mix’s formative years in DuBois, his movie career, and his legacy.  A 100-year-old Mix movie “An Arizona Wooing” was shown.

           Tom Mix was born in 1880 in Mix Run in Cameron County and came to DuBois along with his family when Mix’s father, Edwin, gained employment as a teamster for John E. DuBois. Young Mix learned about horses, roping, and shooting during his time in DuBois; skills he put to good use when he became the highest paid star in Hollywood.

            Mix moved west in 1902 where he held various ranch jobs, served as a peace officer and developed his own act as a performer in the Miller Brothers’ 101 Real Wild West Show. When Selig Polyscope Company came to film some acts from the wild west show, the company discovered Mix’s showmanship and his movie career was underway. Before it was over Mix would appear in 306 films, direct 109, and write screenplays for 17 movies. Among many other activities he also toured with his own wild west show. Mix died in an Arizona car accident on Oct. 12, 1940. DuBois hosted the National Tom Mix Festival for many years.

            During a brief business meeting, two changes to the Society’s constitution were approved and elections for 2016-18 positions were held with the following results:  Ruth Gregori, president; Carol Laughlin, 1st vice president; Tom Rubritz, director of building and property; Carolyn Rhoades, director of youth; Todd Thompson, director of history; Todd Shindledecker, assistant director of museum and curator; Paul Bojalad, City of DuBois representative; Galen Kilmer, Sandy Township representative; Nancy Rosman, Winslow Township representative; and Carolyn Fridley, Union Township representative.

           The dinner and program was held at Christ Lutheran Church, DuBois. Dinner was provided by Catering by Paulette. Martin’s provided dessert. Rev. Amy Godshall-Miller, pastor Christ Lutheran Church, delivered the benediction.

           Door prizes included a $25 Chamber certificate donated by the DuBois Area Chamber of Commerce, an Autumn Basket by Carol Laughlin, Lays potato chips by Mike Solensky, centerpieces by Haag Feed Store, and several of the Society’s newly arrived 2016 calendars, and free passes to the Spirit of DuBois Lantern Walk.

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An overview of the crowd at the dinner.



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