The Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame

120 East Fifth St.
East Liverpool, Ohio 43920

Phone: (330)-386-5443
Fax: (330)-382-0244

2005 Class of Inductees

        Four individuals are slated for induction into the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame on June 21. This year’s class is composed of educators and entrepreneurs from the valley who have given back generously to the communities that they love. Due for induction are Anthony “Tony” Paesano of Follansbee, Bridgeport native Charlie Wilson and East Liverpool adoptee Joan Witt. J. Robert Sebo of Salem has been given the “Distinguished American” nod for his ongoing support of the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame.

 Biographical information and photographs of this year’s inductees follow.

(click on photos to enlarge)


Anthony “Tony” Paesano

Anthony “Tony” Paesano


The pursuit of knowledge – his own, as well as its accessibility for others – and community service have figured prominently in the life of Follansbee native, Anthony “Tony” Paesano.

The 1947 graduate of Follansbee High School was born in Follansbee, May 11, 1929, to the late Vitantonio and Anna Paesano, and in 1948 was a walk-on on the Duquesne University Football Team.
Earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education, Paesano was graduated in 1952 from Duquesne, where he received his R.O.T.C. training before serving in Korea from 1953 through 1954.

Upon his return from Korea, his first teaching and coaching job came in 1955 at Follansbee St. Anthony’s High School, where he remained through 1960. In 1960, he accepted the position of teacher and head football coach at Canon-McMillan High School in Canonsburg, Pa. He served in those capacities until 1965.

The year 1965 ushered in his return to his alma mater, where he served as a teacher and head football coach at Follansbee High School until 1970. In the fall of that year as part of the Follansbee-Wellsburg school consolidation, Paesano made the move to Brooke High School, where he served for three years as a teacher and assistant football coach. He also was busily working toward completing his Master’s Degree from West Virginia University.

In 1973 he stepped into the role of principal of Brooke High School, serving in that capacity until his retirement from the Brooke County School System in 1989. Following retirement that year, he founded the Brooke County Schools Education Foundation for Scholarships, and he continues today to serve as president of the organization, which to date has raised $400,000 for 800 students.

Paesano also serves as president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce. At the chamber’s annual dinner held Dec. 14, 2004, Paesano was presented with the organization’s Citizen of the Year award. Debbie Puskarich, the chamber’s executive secretary said Paesano was selected for the honor for his leadership in such activities as a citywide observance of Make a Difference Day.

For that event, Paesano recruited several civic groups, schools, churches and businesses to collect clothing and no-perishable food for families in need and also brought attention to projects pursued by each group on its own.
The effort earned the city a $2,000 grant from Wal-Mart and recognition for two consecutive years in USA Weekend, a national publication that promotes Make A Difference Day.

The grant was used to purchase a computer for the Follansbee Branch Library and a washer, dryer and washing tubs for Anderson’s Children Home.

Also during the chamber event, Paesano was presented the Order of the 35th Star, the highest honor bestowed to a West Virginian by the Secretary of State’s Office. Resolutions from the state Senate and the House of Delegates also were presented, commending Paesano on his many years of public service.

Currently in his second term as Mayor of Follansbee, for which he donates his salary back to the city, Paesano also has served as a member of the Brooke County Board of Education.

He and his wife, the former Lorraine Thomas of Beech Bottom, W.Va., have been married 54 years and are the parents of three children, Toni Ann, Frank and John. They also have six grandchildren.


Senator Charlie Wilson

Senator Charlie Wilson


Having fulfilled four terms as an Ohio State Representative, Bridgeport native Charlie Wilson now is testing the waters as an Ohio State Senator following his successful campaign bid in 2004.

Born Jan. 18, 1943, Wilson was first elected to the State House of Representatives in 1996. He said his proudest moments of serving in the House came when he assisted in obtaining $500,000 for an industrial park in Belmont County, and helping to create nearly 1,000 jobs in Monroe County in a joint effort with Monroe’s County Commissioners’ Department of Development. Also he sponsored House Bill 103, which helps protect the paid jobs of volunteer firefighters who respond to emergencies.

While in the House, he served as assistant leader as well as Minority Whip.

As senator of the 30th District, which encompasses Columbiana, Belmont, Jefferson, Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, Wilson is the ranking minority member of the Agriculture Committee, as well as the Energy & Public Utilities Committee. Additionally, he serves on the Finance and Financial Institutions Committee and the Health & Human Services Committee. Also he serves on the Joint Committee of Agency Rule Review.

A 1960 graduate of Dillonvale High School, Wilson received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Ohio University. He attended Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science earning his mortician’s license in March 1967.

In addition to his service as State Senator of District 30, he also is a small business owner. Since April of 1967, he has been the owner of Wilson Funeral and Furniture Co., Inc. of Bridgeport, Ohio. He has owned the Wilson Realty Co. since July 1979.

Prior to going into business for himself, Wilson was a United Auto Worker from July 1961 to January of 1965, working as a welder, painter and assembly line worker.

Vice-chairman of the Belmont National Bank and a member of its executive committee for 30 years, he also has served 25 years as an officer and past president of the Ohio Funeral Directors Association.

One of the most respected funeral directors in Ohio, Wilson has been actively involved with the Ohio Funeral Directors Association throughout his business career, serving on virtually every committee in the organization. His ascent through the OFDA chairs saw him become one of the youngest presidents in the Association's history and he continues to be an active supporter of bills affecting funeral home legislation.

Wilson has been involved in promoting the Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame from the very beginning, attending virtually every event since 1998. He has also served as an ambassador of the Hall, promoting the vocational scholarship program funded by Coach Holtz.

His other affiliations include membership in the Bridgeport Eagles Post 995, the National Rifle Association, Moose Lodge, Italian-American Club, Bridgeport Rotary, the Bridgeport and Tuscarawas County Chambers of Commerce and numerous other civic organizations.

The father of four sons, Robert, Brad, Jason and Jarrett, he also is the grandfather of eight.
Among his numerous awards over the years are selection as “Legislator of the Year Award in Belmont County.”

Joan Witt

Joan Witt

An appreciation for what came before melded with the desire to preserve and pass such knowledge along has propelled Pittsburgh native Joan Witt to “local historian” status in her adopted community of East Liverpool.

Following her graduation from Bellevue High School in 1952, Witt, daughter of the late Charles Albert and Helen Ferguson Witt, attended Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va. and earned a bachelor’s degree in education. A teaching position at the then newly opened Westgate Junior High School brought her to East Liverpool. For 17 years she taught health and physical education at the junior high level, all the while continuing her own education. She received a Master’s Degree from Pitt and has completed additional work at Ohio State and Youngstown State universities.

In addition to the years logged as a teacher, Witt served as a guidance counselor at the junior high/middle school level for another 25, retiring in 1997 from the East Liverpool Middle School.

Despite her retirement, Witt also often still can be found in area classrooms where she volunteers as a HOST mentor, helping students improve their reading skills, or offering information about various aspects of local history.
Driven by an intense interest and penchant for genealogy and local history, she has written many articles and given many programs pertaining to the history of East Liverpool and the surrounding Tri-State Area. She has done extensive research on Columbiana County’s Revolutionary War veterans, one-room schoolhouses and women of achievement.

A trustee of the East Liverpool Historical Society since 1982, she now serves as vice president in charge of programs and the research of the society. Under Witt’s direction, some of the historical society’s annual dinner programs have won recognition and awards at the state level. She is well noted locally for her portrayal of Florence Updegraff, one of East Liverpool’s early female educators and former principal at the Central School.

Having served as the City Chairman for the Ohio Bicentennial Committee, she has been on the radio once a month discussing local history throughout 2003 and 2004.

A trustee and historian of her home church of Greenstone United Methodist in Avalon, Pa., Witt has been a member of the Southwick-Griscom-Kinney Daughters of the American Revolution Rebecca Griscom Chapter since 1979 and has served as a state committee chairman for 14 years.

In addition to her educational and historical pursuits, Witt also is involved in community activities. An associate member of the East Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, she served on its former tourism committee. She has logged thousands of hours of volunteer service for the East Liverpool City Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary.

A member of the East Liverpool Business and Professional Women’s Club for 45 years, she has served in most local chairmanship and office capacities. She has served 18 years on the state Board. She’s been a member of the National Young Careerist Committee for two years and presently serves as trustee of the Florence Allen Endowment Fund.

She also has been a member and past president of Quota International of East Liverpool since 1986.
In 2004 she was inducted as a member of Kent State University East Liverpool’s Wall of Fame. In 2002 she was recognized by the Morning Journal as one of the 100 most newsworthy citizens. The 1996 recipient of the East Liverpool Area Jaycees Civic Service, she was given the title of Honorary native of East Liverpool in 1991.


J. Robert Sebo - ‘ Distinguished American’

J. Robert Sebo
‘ Distinguished American’

“Mr. Salem” is an apt moniker for J. Robert Sebo born May 22, 1936 in Salem, son of Gertrude L. Jacobson, who divides her time between Salem and Naples, Fla. and the late John V. Sebo, who died in January 1998.

Having attended Salem Prospect Grade School, Sebo was graduated in 1954 from Salem High School, where he played trumpet in the band, and was a member of the football and basketball teams, as well as track.

Following high school he attended Bowling Green University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

He served with the U.S. Army and was an officer at Fort Bliss, Texas, before moving up to work with surface-to-air missiles at Gross Isle, Mich.

From 1960 to 1974, he served as district sales manager of the Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors in western New York. Then in 1974 he became associated with a fledgling company, known as Paychex and its founder, Tom Golisano. At that time the company employed only two individuals.

In 1974, under an agreement with Golisano, Sebo began Paychex, Inc. of Ohio, concentrating on the geographical area from Salem to Cleveland, and he returned to his hometown to live.

In 1983, Sebo moved to Rochester, N.Y., only to return to his hometown in 1994 following his retirement.
He then began a three-year process of designing and building the home on Quaker Lane, in which he and his wife, the former Karen Wendling of Cleveland, reside. The couple was married May 20, 1995.

The father of two daughters, Mrs. George (Julie) Schmelzle of Naples and Mrs. Simone, (Christine) Parisi of Denver, Sebo also is grandfather to three, Megan, Lauren and George Schmelzle.

A member of the Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Salem, he also holds membership in the Salem Elks, Salem Booster Club, Italian Club of Salem, Salem Golf Club, Salem Historical Society and is a patron of the Salem Community Theater. Additionally, he is a member of the Naples National Golf Club and the Rochester, N.Y., Oak Hill Country Club.

Appointed by Ohio Gov. Robert Taft as a trustee of Bowling Green State University in 2002, he serves on the Investment Committee and the Finance Committee.

Sebo recently made a generous donation of $4.4 million to the university, with $3.5 million of that designated to the Sebo Student Athletic Center. A portion of the gift also is to be used for the BGSU football scholarship program and for the Sebo Jazz Study Scholarship. He also is the primary sponsor of the Bowling Green Entrepreneurial Center Program.
He remains a board member of Paychex.

Sebo’s interests range from golf and skiing to all levels of football. He is, however, an especially ardent supporter of the Salem Quakers and head high school football coach, Doug Phillips.

Sebo and his wife, Karen, were named Salem Citizens of the Year on Nov. 17, 2004. On Dec. 21, 2004, he was the recipient of the GMAC Bowl “Champions of Life” award during the Mayor’s Lunch in Mobile, Ala., prior to the game between the Bowling Green Falcons and the Memphis Tigers.

© Copyright 2005 Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame

Return to Top Inductee Classes Back to Main

Site designed and maintained by Simple Designs