Myrdis and Eugene Lester Ledbetter were known for their service to the Brookfield-Masury community, but they always found time for their four children.
On many occasions, they built time spent with their children into community activities, said their daughter, Leslie Patterson.
“My parents were fun,” Patterson said. “My parents were a lot of fun. We did a lot of things. Brookfield used to have a family fun night in the senior high school. I can remember my father, he had a booth where they would do water balloons and all of that stuff.”
The Ledbetters, honored posthumously Aug. 10 by Brookfield trustees as Citizens of the Year, followed their children’s interests. When Patterson and her siblings, Toni-jean Glover, Tommy Ledbetter and Brenda Ross, now deceased, were in school, Myrdis Ledbetter served in the former Parent-Teacher Association. When they were in band, she worked with the band boosters.
Trustee Ron Haun remembered Les Ledbetter as “a remarkable man.”
After a stellar football career at Brookfield High School, Ledbetter served during World War II in the Army, earning two Bronze Stars, a Good Conduct Medal and other awards.
He worked for 42 years as an operator in the cold-rolled department of Sharon Steel Corp., Farrell.
Ledbetter was a member of church choirs at First Baptist Church, Farrell; a trustee of Ruth African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Sharon, and Mount Olive Baptist Church, Masury; a precinct committeeman; and a member of Free and Accepted Masons Rising Son Lodge 90, Youngstown.
“Les displayed all the qualities of a good citizen,” Haun said. “What makes his accomplishments even more commendable is that he accomplished so much in spite of the racial inequalities and separatism that existed during that period of history.”
Myrdis Ledbetter, who graduated from Farrell High School, worked 47 years for Trumbull County Water and Sewer; researched the Underground Railroad and provided a list of African-American migrants to Brookfield for the Brookfield Historical Society; was president of Masury-Brookfield Women’s Club, recognized by the state of Ohio for her service to the area; was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, which is affiliated with the Masons; and was an organist for First Baptist Church and Valley Baptist Church, both of Farrell; Mount Olive; and Ruth AME Zion, Trustee Gary Lees said.
“She was a very good neighbor, providing help and assistance, both her and her husband,” Lees said.
“My father was in World War II, so he didn’t really finish high school because they all left at that time,” said Patterson, of Pittsburgh. “My mother was a very avid worker for the community. She was in the women’s club and the organization to help get this gazebo up (in Brookfield Center) and all of those things, PTA. It was nice that they even considered us.”
“They were very unique,” said grandson John Ross of Columbus, son of Brenda Ross. “They were very caring people. They were just great. They loved their community. They loved everybody. They always loved to show people how much they cared, and they did anything they could for everyone.”
Other family members in attendance were Toni-jean Glover of Columbus, and Eugene Ledbetter, Tommy Ledbetter’s son, of Kent.