By Brett Milam
A fixture in the village of Williamsburg for nearly a century, Marion Croswell, 97, died on Feb. 23.
Croswell came from a family business, the Croswell Bus Lines, which she helped to run until January 2016, but she was most known for her involvement with the Williamsburg branch of the Clermont County Public Library.
She served on the Board of Trustees for 35 years until 2016, which is more than half the time the Williamsburg branch has been open – it opened in 1955.
Such a welcome fixture in the community and by the library community in particular, the Williamsburg branch library was named after her in 2009, rechristened the “Marion G. Croswell” Library.
In September 2016, Joseph Braun, the board’s president, thanked Croswell for her “service to the library” and presented her with a plaque and a photo that was hung in the library.
“It was an honor to dedicate the plaque and photo for present and future generations,” he said.
Croswell stated at the time that she had “gained more than she was given” by serving on the board for more than 35 years.
She said the greatest improvement the library has made was “making a library in every community of Clermont County.”
Theresa Herron, communications manager for the library, said Croswell was responsible for that growth – from one branch when she started on the board to the 10 today – and how you can’t say enough about how much she was an “ambassador for the library.”
Herron said what she will most miss about Herron was her enthusiasm.
“The board would say, ‘What would Marion do?’” Herron said, about the board in the aftermath of Croswell leaving the board. “She truly wanted the best for the library.”
Croswell also took a lot of pride in the library being a source of education in the community, Herron said.
On its Facebook page, the Clermont County Public Library also said, “The Clermont County Public Library lost a true friend, supporter and long-time board of trustee member today, Marion Croswell.
“Marion was a gracious lady who had strong ideas and was not afraid to voice them. She worked hard all her life and made major contributions to the library, her community of Williamsburg and Clermont County.”
Croswell is also a pancreatic cancer survivor. UC Health did a profile on her story in November 2016.
Where, even at 97, the doctors knew she wanted to fight the cancer with chemotherapy.
“I’ll just keep going, and I have complete faith in my team at UC Health—I always have,” she said in the profile.
In September 2016, she even walked at the Purple Stride Walk, a walk done for pancreatic cancer.
“Mrs. Croswell is proof that age is not a barrier,” Dr. Olugbenga Olowokure, her oncologist, said in the profile. “You have to be determined to fight whatever obstacles are in front of you, and she’s doing that. She’s an inspiration to us all.”
In 2016, Croswell was also named the “Orpha Gatch Citizenship Award” winner, presented by the Clermont County League of Women Voters at their 20th Annual Suffragist Event.
The Orpha Gatch Citizenship Award recognizes the leadership of a Clermont County woman for her outstanding volunteer civic service in our community. “Nominees should symbolize the leadership, energy, optimism and trust of the early suffragists,” according to the LWV site.
“I became a volunteer at the library because of my interest in books and libraries,” Croswell said in the video LWV put together. “I was raised in a library and through high school and college, I always went to the library and took my children to the library. So it was a great interest to me to maintain books. I’ve never thrown a book away, unfortunately. I have enjoyed working so much with it. And so I was asked to be on a library board and I was thrilled to be on a library board.
“And I never left. Because I did enjoy the reasons they had developed the library, so much a part of the community. And the children are learning to read, which I think is so necessary now. The library does a wonderful job.
“It’s very, very good and the people are so appreciative, which is also very gratifying. Also, the Y [YMCA] has always been a part of my life.”
Croswell was also on the Clermont County YMCA’s board throughout the 1990s.
In the video, Croswell also talked about initiating the women’s shelter at the YMCA.
“To think there were that many women – I thought – women won’t be coming there. First week, women were there, so it was very rewarding.
“My husband volunteered for everything, so because he did, it came natural for me to.
I find it interesting that you’re really involved with and help it be successful. What else can I say?”
Croswell is survived by her children, R. Scott, Ellen Morrison, Susan Maham, and Croswell and John Croswell, as well as grandchildren Ellie Preston, Andy Maham, Nancy Edmondson, Stephen Croswell, John Croswell, Maggie Legg, Betsy Croswell, Robby Croswell, Nick Croswell, Adam Gedling, Ben Wyler and great grandchildren Evie, Elliott, Everett and Ellis Preston, Grayson and Kenley Edmondson, Hunter Croswell and Isabella Legg.
Services were held on Feb. 28 at the Williamsburg United Methodist Church on 330 Gay St. Visitation was Feb. 27 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the church.
Memorials can be made to the Clermont County Public Library, 326 Broadway, Batavia, Ohio 45103, where all donations will be used at “her” branch.