Thurs., June 15
Architecture in rural areas often has been labeled ‘vernacular,’ meaning that it combined defined architectural styles with what was functional and locally available in terms of materials. That will be the focal point of a June presentation by Tony Leininger, who grew up in Edwardsburg and, because of needed additional space, recently based his business in Niles.
Leininger was reared on Eagle Lake, where he watched the construction of his family’s home, and which, he says, instilled in him ‘my love for architecture.’
An Edwardsburg High School graduate, he received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati in 1985.
He founded the CARMI Design Group and has decades of architectural and engineering experience. He has designed and managed the construction of various projects throughout the Midwest. Those include educational and healthcare facilities, and religious, office, retail, industrial, and residential buildings. Leininger also has been extensively involved with professional associations and local organizations, and has volunteered locally for the museum, the Barnswallow Theatre, and the Edwardsburg Food Pantry.
He has received numerous awards for his work.
His lecture will complement the museum’s two architectural exhibits this summer and fall. He will focus on the works that are on display and encourage those in attendance to be part of the dialogue. Because he says that he ‘loves porches,’ they will be included in his presentation.
Bill and Julie Stack
Thurs., Aug. 17
Longtime Resident Bill Stack and his daughter, Julie, will speak about their lives in Edwardsburg when they speak at the museum in August. Bill, who moved from Niles to Edwardsburg when he was six, graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1952. He served in the United States Air Force, and married his wife, Genevieve (Genny), in 1954. She died in 2016. After his discharge, he worked part-time for his father, George Stack, in his local auto repair business, and full-time for Williams Products and Belvedere Corporation, both in Elkhart.
Stack is past commander of the American Legion, belongs to the Edwardsburg St. Peter’s Masonic Lodge, serves on the Mason Township Fire Board, and continues to volunteer for the Edwardsburg Fire Department, on which his son, Bruce, is fire chief and his grandson, Kevin, is a captain.
Julie Stack, who resides with her dad as his caregiver, graduated from Edwardsburg High School in 1979 and Western Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in history. She has been an active member of the Edwardsburg Fire Auxiliary since its creation.
Tom and Marje Rea
Thurs., Sept. 21
Tom and Marje Rea have been Edwardsburg residents since 1959. And they have a lot of stories to tell about their lives in the community.
He is a retired doctor and she, a retired nurse practitioner. They met when she was a nursing student at Indianapolis General Hospital and he was working there to earn money for medical school. They married and lived in a mobile home park until he finished medical school.
Dr. Rea practiced with Dr. Hansel Foley in Edwardsburg and then had his own medical office built on Gateway Drive in Edwardsburg in 1963. They lived at Eagle Lake where they reared their four children. In 1978, he coaxed Marj away from their home to spend the winter in the 1882-three-story Victorian brick house that needed repairs on Section Street. They purchased the house and, over the years, they did extensive renovations as well as conduct Halloween tours, welcome Christmas carolers, host bridge club meetings, and numerous social gatherings and celebratory parties. They sold the house in 2006 after they moved to a new home in Woodfield Hills at Dailey Road and Pine Lake Street.
Dr. Rea sold his practice to Elkhart General Hospital in 1985 and, after five years, moved to the hospital’s Bristol office. Marj worked first for Cass County Health Department, then became a nationally certified women’s health nurse practitioner, working for the merged Cass-Van Buren Health Department.
Both have been extensively involved with community—with the Miss Edwardsburg Pageant, and the youth group at the former Edwardsburg Methodist Church. Marje Rea served on the Edwardsburg Public Schools Board of Trustees for nearly eight years and has been involved with the Monday Evening Club and the Edwardsburg Book Club.
As a physician, Dr. Rea ‘helped out’ with the Edwardsburg sports teams, sang in the community choir, sang in a barbershop group, and was an associate medical examiner with Dr. Robert Knox for Cass County. He was president of the Edwardsburg Methodist Church Board, and as well as the Cass County Mental Health Foundation. Both he and his wife were instrumental in working with the Barn Swallow Theatre where he was board president for 13 years, and both continue their involvement with that group.
Jack and Sue Rinehart
Thurs., Oct. 19
Jack Rinehart, who as a former teacher and coach at Edwardsburg Public Schools, is an inductee into the EPS Hall of Fame, will be joined by his wife, Sue, to talk about their work and service to the community when they speak in October.
Well known for their community projects, including the Hope with Feet home repairs program through the Hope United Methodist Church, the Rineharts were reared here. She is a native, the former Susan Higley, and he was born in Mishawaka but grew up in Edwardsburg, He was a 1964 graduate of EHS, where he was a class officer, played football, and was a member of the first Eddies wrestling team. Sue graduated in 1971 and she and Jack met at Southwestern Michigan College after his service in the U.S. Navy.
With a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University, he taught at Hanover-Horton High School, then Union City High School. He returned to Edwardsburg in 1985 where he taught lifelong skills to students, and was a coach for varsity wrestling, football, track and middle school level sports. He coached the Eddies to two state runner-up wrestling titles, the first year as an assistant, the second, as head coach. The second year, he was named regional wrestling coach of the year.
He has been actively involved in mission work for Hope Church, serving in the states, as well as in the Caribbean Sea. He and Susan have reared six children and will share stories and recollections of their lives here.