By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — It could be hard to find someone in Greenville and Darke County whose life hasn’t been touched in some way by Dave Niley. He has been a business owner with Niley’s Service Shop, served as president of the Rolling 50’s Car Club that puts on one of the largest car shows in Ohio, served the community as a Mason and Shriner and served the Darke County Agricultural Society for 21 years as a member of its board of directors.
His outstanding service to the community and the Darke County Fair was recognized on Sunday, Jan. 15 when he was inducted into the Ohio Fair Managers Association (OFMA) Hall of Fame at the annual OFMA Convention in Columbus.
Prior to his passing on Nov. 24, 2022, Niley knew about the award and was looking forward to being at the convention to accept it. Unfortunately, the cancer he had been battling for several years had other plans. His family members were on hand to accept the award on his behalf.
Niley was elected to the Agricultural Society’s board of directors in August 2001 and began the first of many consecutive terms in November of that year. He served until this past November.
Through Niley’s leadership and the directors he served with, the Darke County Fair saw many improvements. He was a member of the buildings and grounds committee from 2006 until 2022. During this time, the board was able to accomplish numerous capital improvement projects such as Grandstand seating renovation, north end restroom and shower facility, new beef and dairy cattle pavilion and milking parlor, Ohio Spiritual Life Center renovation and a new Swine Barn.
Niley was also proud of his service on the safety committee. After a tragic fatal accident along a state highway during the fair that took place between two fair entry/exit gates, Niley began working to restructure the entry and exit method for foot and motor vehicle traffic during the fair. Niley and other committee members worked with Greenville Police and Fire, Greenville Township Rescue, Spirit Ambulance Service, Darke County Sheriff’s Department, Ohio Department of Transportation and others to ensure the safety of all fair goers. The committee met prior to each fair and after to evaluate and modify the safety protocols.
Throughout his entirety on the board, Niley was responsible for the Demolition Derby. This event continues to sell out each year and Niley has set it up to be a fair favorite for many years to come.
Niley has also served on numerous committees as a director, including Audit/Budget, Capital Improvements, Safety and Security, Parking, Anderson’s Grant, Executive Legal, Rates, Vendors, Equipment, Senior Citizens, and Buildings/Grounds.
Not only was he a director, but he was also a huge promoter of the annual event. Niley promoted the fair at Rotary, Mason, Antioch Shrine Dayton, Darke County Shrine Club meetings and, according to the induction speech, “to anyone who would give Dave a few minutes to inform them about the events.”
Niley and his wife, Karen, were members of the St. Paul United Church of Christ in Greenville where he was a longtime trustee. The couple was married on March 24, 1956. She passed away on Feb. 11, 2016, just a month shy of being married for 60 years.
The induction speech stated, “Dave will forever be remembered for his contagious smile, onery personality or his noble character. Most of all, Dave was a friend to all and a stranger to no one.”
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].