Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ethel Swanbeck, State Representative

Ohio Representative Ethel Swanbeck is the woman seated at the table in this picture from an unidentified event. To the left is Mark Hellerman; to the right are: attorney Richard Kruse, Sandusky city official Stuart Gosser, and businessman John Pascoe.

 Ethel Swanbeck served Ohio House District 72 for eleven consecutive terms, from 1955 to 1976, making her the longest serving female in the Ohio House of Representatives. Mrs. Swanbeck, a former teacher, was the wife of Dr. Carl Swanbeck. During her long career, Representative Swanbeck served on several House Committees, including Finance, Education, Health, Education and Welfare, and Rules and Insurance. In an article which appeared in the December 22, 1989 issue of the Sandusky Register, former Representative Marie Tansey recalled the time that Rep. Swanbeck wanted to get crossing gates at the railroad crossing on Rye Beach Road in Huron. She invited Governor James Rhodes for a car ride. She proceeded to stop on the tracks, just to get her point across. It wasn’t long until gates were installed. Another time, she brought a live bird into the Ohio State House when there was an issue about the legality of hunting mourning doves. 

Mrs. Swanbeck’s portrait is found in the Ladies Gallery of Legislators in the Museum of the Ohio Statehouse. She was honored many times for her leadership in the Ohio House of Representatives, including the Huron and Sandusky Chamber Awards for Public Service and State Education, the Erie and Huron County Awards of Education Accomplishments. On September 28, 1963, members of the Erie County Republican Women's Organization observed "Ethel Swanbeck Day" at a luncheon at the Business Women's Club. Mrs. Ethel Swanbeck was a successful woman who made significant contributions at a statewide level. We can be proud that she called Erie County home. 

Ethel Swanbeck died on December 21, 1989 in Huron, Ohio at age 96. She was buried beside her husband at the Scott Cemetery.

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