As Wyandot County senior citizens were entertained in the Masters’ Building at the Wyandot County Fairgrounds on Thursday, a family reunion was taking place quietly in the building as 13 relatives of the late Willis and Irene Masters gathered at the fairgrounds to see the building for the first time.
Wyandot County Senior Fair Board President Phil Kin led the group in a tour of the facility, which was built in 2009 by Clouse Construction. The 9,780-square-foot building can be rented out for a variety of activities.
Five brothers, Dan, Dave, Merle, Warren and Richard Masters, who are Willis and Irene Masters’ nephews, gathered with their spouses and Shirley (Bassler) Schrote, a Wyandot County resident who is a niece of Willis and Irene. Also attending were Willis and Irene’s great-nephew, Dave (Sarah) Rice, great-niece Carol Turney and her fiancé, Jim Allen.
The five brothers are children of the late Ora and Myrtle (Kotterman) Masters. Ora was Willis’ brother, Dan Masters said. Willis’ sister, the late Elma Bassler, is Shirley Schrote’s mother. Schrote is a graduate of Upper Sandusky High School.
Dan and Marilyn Masters traveled from southern Delaware County to attend, while Dave Masters now lives in Franklin County. Merle Masters lives in the city of Delaware, while Warren and Shirley Masters now live in Sunbury. Richard and Darlene Masters traveled from Lucas, while the Rices, Turney and Allen all live in Bucyrus. Harold and Bernice Durer, of Tiffin, were the final relatives to arrive. Harold is a son of the late Mable O. and Edward Durer.
All of the boys were born in Wyandot and Marion counties. As children, they moved from rural Upper Sandusky to Nevada and finally to Ashley as the family purchased different farmland.
The Masters brothers’ parents gave birth to eight children, who all were boys. Dan Masters said he and his wife were visiting a Findlay cemetery when Marilyn had the idea to ask all of the relatives to gather for a reunion.
“We decided fair time would be a good time,” he said. “… Mom and Dad always came back (for the fair).
“It’s a heck of a barn,” Dan Masters joked during the tour.
Some family members said they had not seen others since the 1950s.
Willis Masters was the youngest of his nine siblings, Dan Masters said. Of those siblings, only four had children. They were Myrtlle Iva, Lewis, Mable O., Hazel M., Ora C., Avery R., Alma M., Norma I. and Willis W. Masters.
The family continues its genealogical research, including taking pictures of their relatives’ graves in various cemeteries in northwest Ohio, Dan Masters said.
Kin told the group that their relatives’ estate, which provided the funds for the Masters’ Building, was a “godsend” for the Wyandot County Fairgrounds.
“It really has helped the fairgrounds,” he said. “(Thursday was) a great day to come because it’s a full house. This is probably the biggest (group) of the week.”
Kin explained that all of the money from the estate had to be used or returned to the family, so the fair board tracked all of the money that went into the building. Continuing maintenance is the responsibility of the fair board, he added.
He said the building has been reserved for events into 2013.
“This is probably the biggest improvement on the fairgrounds,” Kin said of the building.
The Masters’ Building, located at 10171 Ohio 53 N., Upper Sandusky, can be reserved by calling the fair board office at 419-294-4320.
By ALISSA PAOLELLA