Tryon devotes life to school, city


By Linda Moody

lmoody@civitasmedia.com

GREENVILLE — Tracy Tryon, who resigned from Greenville City Council June 30, had also recently retired from teaching.

The resignation from council came about to appease his retirement from the state’s teacher’s retirement system. It was announced that he cannot work in any capacity for at least 60 days.

But, he’s hoping to get back on council when that time passes, because of his love for the city.

“I couldn’t have done it without everybody helping,” Tryon said. “It’s all the people that have made my career. Once in a while, I get a little outspoken but I bleed green for the school and city. I have always done what’s good for the students or the majority of the city but not myself. I don’t like to promote myself.”

In fact, he recently had a retirement party for himself at Red and Ruth’s in Palestine.

“There were a couple hundred people there,” he said. “It was an eclectic group, with school, government, athletes, neighbors and family.”

At the time of his retirement, Tryon worked with the summer school program at Greenville High School.

A 1977 Greenville High School graduate, he received his bachelor’s degree from Bluffton University in health and physical education with sports medicine as a minor.

“I have taken additional courses,” Tryon said. “I got my marketing degree from Ohio State; and took English reading from the College of Mount St. Joseph; math from Miami University; and economics at Wright State. I came back to Greenville and started teaching in 1982.”

He believes in education.

“If I don’t learn or do something each day, it’s a wasted day,” he said. “I recently started watching the History and Discovery channels on television. I incorporated some of their stories into the classroom.”

When he first began teaching, Tryon was at the junior high teaching the Occupational Work Adjustment (OWA) program, a career technology co-op program.

“Two years later I moved to the high school with that same program,” he said. “A few years later, I taught phys. ed. with that and then I was also teaching health. The [OWA] program has changed its named now to Career-Based Intervention. I did that until three years ago, when Richard Cline and I were asked to start a Virtual Academy online course for students. We did it by trial and error, so there were two hours a day in four shifts. Mark Koontz also took it on from 1 to 3 p.m. after school.”

He said students in that program do their course work online.

“Some of them are working and have jobs; some have social issues and some have disciplinary issues,” he said. “They came in and were very successful. We made it clear that drama stayed in the hallway, not in the room. Because they are busy with their jobs, we really didn’t have problems. We kept them more motivated to keep up their academics. Over 75 students graduated in those three years.”

Tryon said he was beginning to see his third generation of students.

“A couple of years ago, a student said, ‘You had my grandma in school’,” Tryon said. “I never felt my age until that day.”

Tryon, whose godchild is Rachel (Fiely) Kerns, the girls basketball coach at Greenville, is not sure if he will substitute teach in the future.

“I have been offered a teaching position but I am not interested in moving out of Greenville,” he said.

He does like to travel, though.

“I will take some trips,” he said. “I have some college buddies I am planning to visit and I am planning a trip to the East Coast and I want to go to our sister city, Grunstadt (translated Green City), Germany.”

Tryon, who started out as an athletic trainer at Bluffton, is a sports enthusiast. He enjoys most sports with the exception of the NBA.

He plans to still do things for the athletic department at Greenville High School.

“I help at the ballgames and will still do that,” he said. “I take tickets, work concessions…whatever they need.”

During his time in public office, he has been involved in quite a few projects.

“One of them was the retention of Whirlpool years ago when they built the new facility,” he said. “Martha and I got information, collaborated and the rest of council got on board. Within a week, we retained that while looking to consolidate. We put together the whole package, including KitchenAid Way and extended Russ Road. We paid for the land. We thought it would take 15 years to recoup our money, but we did it in less than 3 1/2 years. Then a couple of years ago, we worked with council to make the expansion. The second time we competed against China and the first time against places in Ohio. We won over both of them.”

Another project he is proud of is “when Russ Road blew up with Walmart and the new Kroger’s.”

“We had a drainage problems and were able to address them and incorporate it into North Park,” he said. “We have done a lot for the city. One of my first hot topics was Sweitzer Street with its curbs. It is a nice. And Wagner Avenue, it’s straightened out and the Industrial Park and its growth.”

As councilman, Tryon has only worked with two mayors, Richard Rehmert and Michael Bowers.

“I ran in 2004 for city treasurer against Barbara Fee,” he said.

Big influences on him in city government have been Marvella Fletcher, Alan Hauberg and Martha Benkert.

“Martha was chairman of the finance committee and I was co-chair,” he recalled. “She passed and I assumed the chair. She trained me real good. Marvella was also super at that. And, Alan’s wisdom is just…. He is a super guy.”

At school, his mentors have been Ed Peltz, Bob Durnell, Steve Gruber and co-teachers Richard Cline, Tracy Snyder and Tom Kukasky.

“My biggest influence was Clarence Gueth,” Tryon said. “I went into career tech.”

Others he mentioned were Dick McGreevey, whom he called a teacher, colleague and friend; Fred Mattix; and close friends, Lou and Margie Fiely and DaveFiely.

He also considers himself fortunate to grow up where he did.

“I grew up with great kids…Jeff Feltman, Joe Birt, Steve Bonfiglio, Ann Brumbaugh, Susie Riegle, Nate Sharp and Dave Dunaway and Mark Plessinger,” he said “These are good quality people.”

Tryon is a member of the Elks Lodge and First United Methodist Church.

“I do catering for the Elks,” he said.

He is one of nine children of the late Victor and June (Shafer) Tryon.

“I am the only who stayed in Greenville but they are starting to come back,” he said of his siblings. “[In age] I am one below the middle child.”