Millcreek-West Unity Area Foundation

Founded in 1994, the West Unity Area Foundation exists to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of West Unity, now and for generations to come, by building community endowment, addressing needs through grant making and serving as a leader, catalyst and resource for charitable giving.

Front row: Carol Heer, Patsy Miller, Bonnie Stuckey. Back Row: Harold Carder, Larry Long, Ted Maneval, Lew Hilkert, and Tom Cromwell.


  • Bart Westfall, President
  • Scott Maneval, Vice President
  • Chris Richer, Secretary
  • Kathy Stipe, Treasurer


  • Harold Carder
  • Carol Heer
  • Lewis Hilkert
  • Chris Richer
  • Kathy Stipe
  • Bonnie Stuckey
  • Bart Westfall
  • Jim Wyse


  • Peg Bernath
  • Janice Cox
  • Barb Crisenbery
  • Tom Cromwell
  • Denise Dean
  • Kathy Detwiler
  • Andrew Heisey
  • Paul Heisey
  • James Hutchinson
  • Duane King
  • Jason King
  • Charles Klinger
  • Del Kuney
  • Denise Leu
  • Rod Loetz
  • Ted Maneval
  • Steve Nofziger
  • Connie Richer
  • Lance Schaffner
  • Bob Short
  • Abbie Smith

The West Unity Area Foundation currently has the following Named Funds:

WUAF Community Funds

Charles W. Cotter Family Fund

This fund honors our family and our altruistic spirit.

Charles W. Cotter was born on a farm near West Unity on August 19, 1913. He graduated from West Unity High School in 1931. He began farming with his father Carl, who hauled milk to the Pet Milk Company in Bryan. He also rented a farm for himself.

Farming was his career, his passion. It was his joy, his hobby and his first love. He was a good steward of the land, a hard worker and a good manager. As a young farmer he joined Farm Bureau. He remained a member for the rest of his life. During the years, Charles was a member of every farm organization in the county; he was a chairman of several.

Charles’s ancestors came to Williams County in the 1800’s. His great grandfather fought in the Civil War. Charles died in January 1999.

Mildred B. Cotter was born on a farm near Waldron, Michigan, on September 7, 1915. She graduated from Waldron High School in 1932. She attended Ypsilanti State Normal College, (now EMU) 1932-33. She taught in one-room country schools, also attending summer school from 1933-1939. Mildred married Charles W. Cotter, a farmer near West Unity on May 20, 1939. Together, they had two children: Jack B. of Oxford, who worked with Shell Chemical, then Dupont, and is now retired; and Jill A. Blocker of Patterson, Georgia, who had a career in civil service as a paralegal with Judge Advocate General of Army, and is now retired. In 1956, Mildred returned to teaching, completing one year at Elmira School, followed by nineteen years in the Millcreek-West Unity Schools (18 years at Alvordton). During these years, she attended summer school at Defiance College, graduating in 1964.

Clark McLaughlin Community Fund

Clark McLaughlin was born near West Unity and attended Hilltop High School. He served 3 years and 9 months in the Army during World War II. For over two years he was stationed in India.

Clark married Dorothy McCloe, of Waldron, Michigan, in 1941. Dorothy enjoyed helping people and calling on Church shut-ins. Clark was employed at the Winzeler Stamping Company before moving to Arizona in 1955. There he was employed at Motorola Electronic Division in Scottsdale, Arizona for 26 years, retiring in 1982.

Dorothy and Clark moved back to West Unity in 1993 where his family had lived for generations. In April, 1995, Dorothy passed away. Clark died in April 2014.

Hubert (Pete) and Breva McLaughlin Community Fund

No biography available.

Maynard P. Short Community Fund

Maynard P. Short was born November 24, 1905 to Mary (Klopfenstein) and Samuel B. Short in rural West Unity and he resided in West Unity ninety-nine years before moving to Bryan. He graduated from West Unity High School in 1923, and was a member of the 1923 basketball team that participated at the state tournament. Maynard attended Defiance College for two years and participated in basketball and tennis.

He withdrew from Defiance College in 1925 to join a partnership with his father and brother, Harold, to found the West Unity Woolen Mills. The Woolen Mills operated from 1926 until 1942 when World War II caused it to be closed.

While in operation, the Woolen Mills had customers nationwide. In 1940 one blanket was recognized by “Consumers Review” as a best buy. Products and memorabilia of the Woolen Mills are displayed at the Williams County Historical Society Museum.

Maynard was an exceptional athlete. He was a member of the semi-pro West Unity Speed Demons basketball team. He also participated in numerous tennis tournaments in Northwest Ohio. He loved all sports and was an avid supporter of West Unity and Hilltop High School athletics. Maynard is included in the Williams County Sports Hall of Fame at the Williams County Historical Society Museum.

He was in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, and served in the European Theater. After the war, Maynard partnered with his brother in the West Unity Ayrshire Farm (Shirecrest Farm) and bred registered Ayrshire cattle. They participated at state, national and international cattle shows and won national and international recognition.

Maynard always supported the West Unity community. He served on the village council in the 1930’s. For the West Unity Community Centennial Homecoming in 1934, he was the chairman of the tennis tournament committee. In his later years, he was a willing mentor for the neighborhood youngsters in both academic and athletic activities. Maynard died on January 3, 2007 at the age of 101 years.

Lois Smith Memorial Community Fund

Lois Clare Smith was born in Springfield Township, Williams County, Ohio on September 14, 1915, the fifth child of John W. Smith and Ida E. (Fisher) Smith. Lois attended country school at the Hickory Grove School and then completed her education at Stryker High School, graduating in 1933.

In August of 1937, Lois purchased a home in West Unity, moving there with her father and mother when they retired from the farm in Springfield Township.

Lois worked for the West Unity Woolen Mill, along with her sister, Cleo Finch, until the mill closed. She then worked for A.A. Poultry Farms, Inc. until she retired in 1982. After retirement, she continued to do janitorial work for A.A. Poultry to supplement her retirement. Lois was a member of the Brady Grange and the Archbold United Church of Christ.

Lois never married, but she spent much of her free time with her sisters and nieces and nephews. She enjoyed traveling, both with her siblings and in later years on chartered bus tours. In her later years, she answered the phone and stayed at the Hollingshead Funeral Home whenever Bill and Mary wanted to get away. Lois died at Evergreen Manor in Montpelier on November 20, 2003. She was buried at Floral Grove Cemetery, West Unity.

Millcreek-West Unity Area Foundation Community Fund

Gifts to the unrestricted endowment fund provide the most broad-based support to our community. Unrestricted Funds also provide the most flexibility in grant making. Tomorrow will present our community with new opportunities and challenges. Unrestricted funds position the advisory committee to meet those new challenges and capitalize on those new opportunities. Gifts to the unrestricted endowment fund may be made by anyone in any amount. Donors may establish an unrestricted named fund with a gift of $5,000.

Designated Agency Funds

James A. and Jane A. Hutchinson Fund

James and Jane Hutchinson have designated the German M.E. Church and the Millcreek-West Unity Schools (custodians of the Mary Gares Suter Scholarship) as recipients of the James A. and Jane A. Hutchinson Fund.

James, son of William and Lottie Hutchinson was born September 18, 1942. He attended elementary through ninth grade at the former Kunkle School and graduated from North Central High School in Pioneer, Ohio in 1960. He furthered his education by receiving his Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Defiance College and a Masters in Administration from the University of Toledo. Jim spent 41 years in the field of education serving the Millcreek-West Unity, Montpelier, Williams County, Stryker and Woodmore School Districts and four years as Vice-President of Finance at Northwest State Community College.

During his tenure as Superintendent of the Millcreek-West Unity Schools from 1979-1994 Jim saw a great need for scholarships for Hilltop graduates. In 1994, he spearheaded the formation of the Millcreek-West Unity Area Foundation. Through this foundation, Jim and Jane will continue to support the Mary Gares Suter Scholarship. This scholarship was originally established in 1985 by family and friends in memory of the former Millcreek-West Unity teacher. Mary Gares, the only child of Ed and Myrta Gares, was born near West Unity August 15, 1914. She graduated from West Unity High School, and continued her education at Bowling Green State University. Returning to West Unity, she taught first grade prior to her marriage to G. Richard Suter in 1938. They were the parents of three children, Jack, Jane and Barbara. With all their children attending school, “Mrs. Sutter” returned to the classroom teaching fifth grade and later kindergarten. After twenty seven years of dedicated service, she retired in 1977.

Jane was born September 24, 1941 to G. Richard and Mary Gares Suter. She was born and raised in West Unity and graduated from Hilltop High School in 1959. She went on to attend Ohio Northern University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. In 1965 she married Jim and they chose to live on the farm that was purchased from the United States government by Jane’s great great-grandfather, John Gares in 1834. To them were born three children, Matthew, Sarah (Sally) and Mary (Molly). Matt, Sally and Molly were sixth generation to live on the Gares homestead. The Hutchinson siblings are graduates of Hilltop High School and Miami University. Jim and Jane have four grandchildren: Matt and Joy King Hutchinson are the parents of James Thomas and Marie Ann; Madeline Jane and Benjamin Henry are the children of Molly and Curtis Wyrick.

To honor and pay tribute to Jane’s heritage the Hutchinson’s have chosen the German M.E. Church as the other benefactor of their fund. This church was built in 1869 as a result of a small group of German immigrants who felt the need to worship God in the wilderness. They had first met in the humble log cabin of John and Sarah Gares in 1842. Even though the church has not held weekly services for over one hundred years, it continues to be a sanctuary for weddings, funerals and special services and a memorial to the forefathers of Brady Township, Williams County.

Carter Kissel Friends of the Library Fund

No biography available.

Carter Kissel Village Park Fund

No biography available.

Scholarship Funds

Ethel Kellogg Scholarship Fund

Ethel Kellogg was born near Montpelier and was the daughter of Will and Hattie (Friend) Mehrling. She taught school for 50 years, first in Oregon and the last 27 years in West Unity, Ohio where she organized the Commercial Department in the high school.

In 1971 M. Doyle Stoner established this fund in memory of his high school teacher, Ethel Kellogg with the hope that in some small way it may help students to obtain the inspiration that he received from Mrs. Kellogg and encourage them at some time in their futures to help someone else. Ethel Kellogg died at age 87.

Carter Kissel Victor Mygant Scholarship Fund

No biography available.

Paul and Hilda Koch Family Scholarship Fund

The Paul and Hilda Koch Family Scholarship Fund honors Paul’s parents George and Eva Koch.

George and Eva Koch were the superintendent and matron of the former Williams County Home, which is presently the site of Hillside Country Living.

George succeeded his father Frank Koch in this position. Under the guidance of the Koch family, the residents of this facility raised their own crops, livestock and poultry. This venture was successful and allowed this entity to be nearly self-sustaining under their direction.

George and Eva (Beaverson) were married September 12, 1923. They were the parents of five children: Arlene, Anne, Darrell, Paul and Frank.

Although George and Eva were unable to graduate from high school, due mostly to the economics of the depressed era, they believed in education. They were patrons of the Huntington College Foundation, Huntington, Indiana. Their intent was to help needy students further their schooling.

George was a very well-read and self-educated individual. He enjoyed reading Shakespeare and philosophy. He had a tremendous interest in history and even in his nineties could remember dates of historical events that amazed his family.

Eva was an encourager and nurturer. She was a very mild mannered and gracious lady. She knew how to show love and compassion. She brought comfort to those who needed it. Eva died January 13, 1983. George died December 9, 1996. They were an exemplary couple. They are worthy of honor. Their Christian values have endured and continue to nourish those who knew them.

Clark E. and Dorothy M. McLaughlin Scholarship Fund

Clark McLaughlin was born near West Unity and attended Hilltop High School. He served 3 years and 9 months in the Army during World War II. For over two years he was stationed in India.

Clark married Dorothy McCloe, of Waldron, Michigan, in 1941. Dorothy enjoyed helping people and calling on Church shut-ins. Clark was employed at the Winzeler Stamping Company before moving to Arizona in 1955. There he was employed at Motorola Electronic Division in Scottsdale, Arizona for 26 years, retiring in 1982.

Dorothy and Clark moved back to West Unity in 1993 where his family had lived for generations. In April, 1995, Dorothy passed away. Clark died in April 2014.

Mill-Creek West Unity Grants Given

2017 – 2018

Brady Township Fire Department ($8,000) – A grant of $8,000 was awarded to the Brady Township Fire Department for the purchase of new extrication equipment.

2016 – 2017

Williams County Historical Society ($1,000) –  The Williams County Historical Society received a $1,000 grant for restorations at the Quaker Meeting House located at 13936 County Road N21, West Unity. The 2017 Leadership Williams County Class selected the renovations as their community service project to help preserve the rich history of Williams County and ensure the safety of visitors. Renovations include painting the exterior, replacing steps, repairs to the foundation along with some interior repairs.

Quaker Meeting House

2015 – 2016

Brady Township Firefighters ($1,500) – Brady Township Firefighters was awarded a grant to purchase new fire helmets to meet all current NFPA standards.

Village of West Unity ($1,500) – The Village of West Unity was awarded a grant for renovations at the Kissell Community Center.

Millcreek Township ($2,000) – A grant was awarded to Millcreek Township to purchase picnic tables for the shelter house at the Alvordton Community Park.

2014 – 2015

Brady Township Firefighters ($1,200) – Brady Township Firefighters was awarded a grant to purchase a gas meter that will detect carbon monoxide, low or high oxygen levels, hydrogen sulfide and explosive gases.

2013 – 2014

Hilltop Athletic Boosters ($1,500) for reconditioning of the all-weather track at Daft Field