Alice H. Gongwer
Alice Heltman Brownell Gongwer, the youngest of Henry and Caroline Brownell’s six children, was born in 1911 in Washington Court House, OH. In 1938 when she married attorney George Gongwer—a life-long resident of Ashland County—they made their home in Ashland. With the move to Ashland she was completing a circle, settling in her mother’s home town. Her grandfather, William G. Heltman, was mayor of Ashland at the turn of the 20th century, and numerous Heltman relatives nourished her roots in the area. Until her death in August of 2010, Mrs. Gongwer spent 72 active and graceful years as a resident of the community. She and Mr. Gongwer raised their three daughters, Ann, Carolyn, and Helen, in Ashland. They were members of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she served on the Altar Guild. Mrs. Gongwer was a frequent volunteer at the Ashland County Historical Society.
Mrs. Gongwer was a graduate of Washington Court House High School and received her two-year Normal Degree from Ohio Northern University in the early 1930s. After graduation she taught for three years at the Ohio Soldiers and Sailors Home in Xenia, OH, three years in Washington Court House, OH, and then taught primary grades for one more year in Mansfield before marrying. Alice and George met on a blind date which originated on the steps of the Mansfield Reformatory—a source of amusement throughout their lifetimes.
Mrs. Gongwer, through her estate, made a gift to the Foundation so she could give something back to the community which was such an important part of her family’s lives.