VERSAILLES – James Youngker will be named Citizen of the Year at the Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards banquet Monday, Jan. 18.
The Awards Committee was made aware of Youngker’s countless contributions and tireless dedication to the Versailles community by nomination letters. His lifelong community service helped shape the Versailles area in the 1950’s – 60’s and beyond.
He is a veteran of the United States Air Force having served as an assistant engineer on a B-24 in the Airdrome squad, during World War II. After the war he continued as crew chief on a C-47 making flights to the island of Manila, before returning to the Versailles community.
Youngker worked at Poultry Producers before the war and returned after his discharge. Later he became manager of Amstutz Hatchery in Versailles and eventually worked at Weaver Bros. for 52 years as their nutritionist. He participated on numerous poultry panels and councils and has been recognized by the Ohio Poultry Association with the “Agricultural Achievement Award” for his contributions to the industry.
He is one of the founding fathers of the Versailles Poultry Days Festival, having served as chairman in 1966. He dedicated 20 years towards the development and continuity of the Poultry Days Community Festival.
He was an original member of the Versailles Rotary Club, formed his church’s softball league, served on the founding committees to establish the Versailles Swimming Pool facility, the inception of Little League baseball in Versailles, the filming of VHS football games (training films) for more than 20 years for coaches John Lantz and Al Hetrick. Youngker confesses to missing two games in that 20-year span and in 1990 received an award for “Best Team Photographer.”
Youngker served on committees with many notable Versailles businessmen such as, C.F. Poeppelman, George Weaver, J.D. Weaver, Ralph Mumaw, Tom Magoto, Ralph Berger, Dr. Willard Barga and Ralph Strum.
He fondly remembers meeting Chet Huntley and David Brinkley and proudly recalls the first state baseball championship in 1965 and many of the players: Dan Simon, John Griesdorn, Rick Berger, Jerry Stammen, Jim Stammen, Mike McClurg, Larry Roll, Tom Hole, Jim Groff, Frank McEldowney, Cary Miller, Bill Groff, Jerry Klenke, Lynn Gessler, Doug Barga, Tom Kramer and Paul Trittschuh.
Youngker and his wife, Lois, reside on Conover Road and will celebrate 70 years of wedlock in June. They have a son Steve and a daughter Beverly Rhoades, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
The dinner banquet will be held Monday, Jan. 18 at the Riviera Banquet Room, Stillwater Valley Golf Course. The banquet is open to the public and is a great social mixer for community business members and residents. A cash bar will open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served at 6:15 p.m.
A brief business meeting for the purpose of reports and elections of directors will follow the dinner. In addition to the Citizen of the Year service award the Versailles Diamond Club will be presented with the People-Pride-Progress award.
Those interested in attending the banquet must order tickets by calling or texting 417-4752 or [email protected].