Aurora — Three local residents who were prominent in the community were among those who passed away in 2013.
The oldest was Harold Hartman Sr., who died Jan. 22 at the age of 94. Donna French died a day earlier — Jan. 21 — at the age of 81. Meanwhile, the death of 57-year-old Thomas J. Wurm was a surprise to his many friends. He died Jan. 14.
Hartman was a graduate of Aurora High School and a lifelong city resident. A farmer for many years, he sold his acreage on Townline Road to the city a few years ago, but continued to live there until his death.
A maple sugar house, believed to have been built on the property in 1917, was operated by Hartman for many years until he constructed a new sugar house in 2012 from ash trees on the property.
French was known by many younger Aurorans because of her job as Aurora schools’ head elementary librarian from 1964 until her retirement in 1998.
Her daughter, Suzanne Spilsbury, said her mother enjoyed reading and telling stories to children, acquiring quality books for the elementary schools and making the school library a place of safety, welcome and wonder for each child.
Countless local children and adults traveled past her house for 20 years during the city’s July 4 parade, and one year former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft called her by name as he traveled past in the parade.
“Mom would want to be remembered as a person who made a positive difference in the lives of children,” said her daughter.
Wurm was a lifelong Aurora resident, graduating in 1973 from the local high school. In 1979, he and his brother Edward took over Wurm Builders, a business started by their father, changing the name to Classic Homes. They built dozens of quality homes in the city.