Margaret Bernard Thurber Inducted 2004 - Class of 1982
The name Maggie Thurber is familiar to all Toledoans. Though we know her best for her accomplishments in the political arena, there is much to tell about Maggie’s "hands-on" approach, which has resulted in success in the business world, politics, and in enabling those who are developmentally challenged.
Maggie was born in Nashville, Tennessee. She was raised in Toledo and attended Edgewater Elementary School and Point Place Junior High. While attending Woodward, she lived on Lakeside, at 140th Street, in Point Place. "I still live in The Point!"
Maggie' s best friends in high school were Laura Pakulski, Denise Imholt (Brewington), Gayle Harmon Hall, Sue Lowe Maples, Jeff Emch, Joe Hojnaki, Sonya Broughton, the Volleyball team members, and the Saga Staff. With respect to nicknames, we all know Margaret Thurber as "Maggie". "I was always ' Margaret,' then everyone started calling me ' Mags.' When I started
college, I thought, if I'm going to have a nickname, I'll pick one I like. So, I started going by ' Maggie.' Today. . .they call me 'Mags'."
Maggie demonstrated academic excellence at Woodward, as she was the Salutatorian of the Class of 1982. When asked about her favorite high school memories, Maggie responds that there are "way too many to list. But my overall memory is the smell of the red stuff they'd put on the floor before sweeping! I also remember volleyball games and championships, Saga hour, Booster Club, Mr. Bogue asking for my hall pass, assemblies, The Gong Show, football games, Honor Society, Donkey Basketball, and Science Club."
On the humorous side, Maggie fondly recalls her Senior Trip to Toronto. "There was a college basketball team staying on the same floor as us. I struck up a conversation with one of the players, and he made a pass at me. At the time, this seemed awfully important. Now, it's just humorous!"
There were several Woodward teachers and administrators who influenced Maggie. "Every teacher, advisor and staff member had an effect. I would not be the person I am today without their guidance, instruction, and high expectations. Ms. Zenobia Gainey, my sophomore English teacher, was one of the toughest teachers I had, despite her small stature and smiling face. She never accepted anything less than the best we were able to give. She pushed us, prodded us, encouraged us, and made us believe that we really could do what she was expecting of us. Ms. Gainey's training and teaching helped me realize that writing was one of my strengths. She helped me to decide to seek a degree in communications/journalism. Even today, I attribute my love of writing - selecting just the right word or phrase, as well as my insistence on proper grammar - to Ms. Gainey. Other positive influences were Johnny Hutton, the track coach, and Mrs. Iris Szelagowski, the most fun teacher! Mrs. Paulette Zych Attie was my class advisor for 4 years. I never had the pleasure of having Mrs. Attie as a teacher, but my memory of her is that she was younger than most of the teachers . .. more 'hip' . She was a great role model. Here was a young woman, confident, smart and fun. She was always professional, but you could often see this glimmer in her eyes, and you knew that, even though she was telling you to behave, she was secretly enjoying whatever you were doing. Mrs. Attie taught me that sometimes believing you can do something is all it takes. Jim Bounds was the Volleyball Coach extraordinaire and political enthusiast. Mr. Bounds also took great pride in bringing candidates and elected officials into his American Political Behavior Class. I had the opportunity to meet and question people like former mayors Donna Owens, Doug DeGood, and Carty Finkbeiner, along with others who are still in the public eye, such as Peter Ujvagi, Judy Jones, and Justice Andy Douglas. This was my first outside exposure to the world of partisan politics, and it obviously had an impact on where I am today. It was J.B.'s passion for all things - his family, volleyball, men's tennis, and politics - that had a lasting impact. His death, at such an early age, emphasized clearly to me, that a long life is not nearly as important as a life well lived. Dan Duvendack, my freshman biology teacher and Saga advisor, is still my friend today. He made learning, and high school, fun. My memories of WHS are so fondly focused around the smells of the school, especially the mouthwatering aroma of Mr. D's kielbasa at Christmas time, as well as the sweetly pungent smell of his pipe. The most important thing Mr. Duvendack helped me to learn was confidence, not just in my abilities, but also in the person I was becoming. With his help, I not only learned, but I also began to live the following life lessons; "It’s okay to want others to like you, but it s more important to like yourself. Sometimes it s easy to do the right thing, but it’s more important to do the right thing when it isn‘t easy. It s okay to want to fit in, but often, it’s more important to stand alone. Life will be much easier if you can learn when to laugh at yourself."
Following high school, Maggie chose to pursue her college education at the University of Toledo, where she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Communications. She began her career in the business world, as she spent a decade working in two family businesses. Maggie worked in all aspects of the family's manufacturing companies. She worked in Human Resources, Budget and Finance, Purchasing, and in the Sales and Marketing areas. The same hands-on approach, which made her effective in her own business works, would also serve her well in public service.
Maggie served as Clerk of Toledo Municipal Court from 1993 through 2002. By virtue of her position, Maggie served on the Board of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). She has been the Secretary of the organization and served on the Executive Committee of the NORIS Advisory Board. Maggie has chaired the CJCC Personnel Committee, the Violence Against Women Act Grant Allocation Committee, and the Computerization and Finance Committees. As Clerk of Court, Maggie also was an active member of the Ohio Association of Municipal Court Clerks (OAMCCO). In 2002, she was elected by her peers to be the President of the OAMCC. She also served as First Vice-President, Sergeant-at-Arms, Education Committee Chair, and Trustee for two terms. In January of 2003, Maggie took office as Lucas County Commissioner, an elected position.
Maggie also spends a lot of time and energy working on behalf of local organizations. She served six years as a Board Member of Mobile Meals of Toledo, during which time she chaired their annual Wine Gala Fundraiser. Maggie is also a member of the Toledo Museum of Art, the Point Place Business Association, the Toledo Warehouse District Association, International Institute, the Northwest Ohio Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Toledo Branch of the NAACP.
Of the many awards and citations presented to Maggie, two stand out. In 1995, the Lucas County Educational Service Center approached Maggie about hiring a developmentally challenged worker. She was excited to be the first government agency to hire a challenged worker through this program. The Northwest Ohio Personnel Association awarded Maggie their "Crystal Apple", in recognition of her work on behalf of the developmentally challenged community. In recognition of Maggie's energy, enthusiasm and results-oriented management style, she was nominated for and received the prestigious "20 Under 40" Award in 1997.
Maggie is married to Sam Thurber. They will celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary this year. Whereas the Thurbers have no children, they enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Maggie spends her leisure time reading, sailing, iceboating, gardening and on politics (She obviously loves her job!)
When Maggie was informed that she had been elected to the WHS Hall of Fame, she was overwhelmed and surprised. "It's one of the nicest things to have happen. The actual phone call made my day! "
Gayle Morgan Schaber, who is also being inducted into the WHS Hall of Fame tonight, nominated Maggie for Hall of Fame honors. Gayle stated," I find Maggie Thurber to be an outstanding representative of Woodward ... successful, articulate, and proud of her Woodward roots. She is a perfect example of a student who displayed excellence at Woodward and builds on that excellence, once they leave their high school days behind." We wholeheartedly agree! Congratulations, Maggie. You deserve it.