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Three persons chosen embodied best of the town

Published May 10. 2012 05:01PM

During the Arbor Day service, Summit Hill historian Maxine Vermillion shared some background on the three persons chosen by members of the Society to be honored with trees in the parks this spring as part of the Historical Society's Memorial Tree Program.

"Each year we pick three deceased persons who embodies the best of our town," said Vermillion.

She added to qualify for this honorarium the person has to be deceased for a year and have contributed to the town over the course of their lives as a resident or was a native who went on to do something noteworthy in the world.

Vermillion said in past years emergency services personnel, police officers, educators, town leaders and clergy have been recognized. This year three historians were given the honor, Joe Arner, Joseph McDermott and Joseph "Buck" O'Donnell.

Arner was married to Margaret Lill who ran a pharmacy in town while he amassed a collection of Summit Hill related antiques. He was also known for having one of the first collections of Summit Hill postcards. Currently the museum has a collection of his antiques and collectibles that were presented by the family in his memory.

McDermott was known as an oral historian in the community who loved people. Vermillion said she and her husband Louis would take boxes of photos containing unidentified persons over to the nursing home where McDermott resided before he passed away and he would help identify the people, although he spent just as much time telling them stories and he was an excellent genealogist who knew the backgrounds of practically anyone in the borough.

O'Donnell was the oldest of three children and he was known for the many articles he wrote for the Valley Gazette detailing his life and childhood in the community. Many of his articles are available in the museum and he provided a unique and interesting perspective of life in Summit Hill. She said that one interesting fact is he was born and died in the same house.

The Society always welcomes nominations for the Tree Program. For more information on the program, to help donate a tree or to provide a nomination, please contact Vermillion at (570) 645-9772.

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