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The Chillicothe Voice

Chillicothe’s Hometown Hero — Donna Uebler, Teacher of Children

Aug 30, 2023 10:33AM ● By Gary Sharp

Farmers and teachers, are they alike? Most undoubtedly, they are. They both are planters of seeds—seeds that grow crops to nourish our bodies and seeds that stimulate our minds through the education of learners of today and tomorrow, and as it has been said many times, “ Life goes on.” Plants, flowers, and trees, the things of beauty, would wilt and die without constant loving care, as it is the same with children who are neglected and denied the seeds of values and morals, and the direction to the profound differences of right and wrong. Hence we will reap what we sow and ships without sails and rudders will possess no compass or course and leave openings for the invasion of cruel ignorance and evil ways. 

Donna Diane Uebler was born in Cleveland, Ohio on December 2, 1946 to John Michael and Viola Manos, who were first-generation Greek Americans. Donna’s grandparents, Yia Yia and Papou, came from Pygos and Areopoli. She grew up in Bay Village, Ohio a western suburb of Cleveland, with her two brothers, Michael and Keith, and her sister Christine. 

During those early years, her parents planted the seeds for their garden and established a solid faith-based family. Coming from a father who was appointed to the Federal bench by President Gerald R. Ford and a resilient mother who went back to college in her early fifties to become a social worker, one could easily see the seeds they sowed each day by example. Her father and mother instilled a strong sense of responsibility and a firm understanding of right and wrong. 

She graduated from high school in 1965. In October, her college roommate arranged a blind date with David Uebler. In 1966 he enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Germany. They corresponded for 3 years. 

While in college, Donna joined Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), and in the summer of 1967, she spent nine weeks of summer school in the Soviet Union studying the Russian language and literature. In 1969 she received a liberal arts degree from Northwestern University, majoring in Russian and minoring in education, and was fortunate to be hired to teach junior high language arts by Ralph Cusac, principal of Pearce Grade School. On July 24, 1971 she made Dave Uebler a very happy man as they were joined in holy matrimony. 

In 1973, she acquired a master’s degree in clinical reading from Illinois State University, and taught elementary Title I reading at Rome West, Mossville, South, and CEC. In the later 1980s, she taught the HOTS program (Higher Order Thinking Skills  to 4th–6th graders. In 1993 she also taught part-time at the high school in the English Department. She retired from IVC in 2003 and soon started teaching education classes at Bradley University until 2014. 

She still teaches Sunday school and classes for women’s Bible studies at Chillicothe Bible Church. After retiring from teaching, for nearly 20 years, Donna has also touched the hearts and minds of a multitude of young people within our school system through her position on the school board. As a farmer tends his crops and a shepherd tends his flock, she dutifully volunteers in that capacity and in her church. Evangelism and the claims of Christ drive her. 

She says her best accomplishment is her three children Jennifer, Sarah, and John David (J.D.) who have followed her as planters of seeds. They are all teachers! 

For her, gardening is a passion, and in 2022 she received a Shademakers Award for her beautiful flowers and landscaping. 

She says people in Chillicothe help each other and give willingly in times of need. Over the years, we have been blessed with many great planters of seeds and we can recall a lot of them by name, but we must always remember we are all teachers to our young; it’s our first duty to life. For we must be accountable and responsible for one of the greatest gifts to mankind, the gift of life. For Donna’s contributions in so many ways regarding education to our town, we must not exclude her as a hometown hero; just ask her many students, present and former, and they will set the record straight. 

Seeds need rain, seeds need sunshine, and seeds need above all permission from the Creator who made them. There have been and always will be Hometown Heroes in Chillicothe of different walks, occupations, and stature and now an educator of great caliber joins those ranks—Mrs. Donna Diane Manos Uebler. 

Thank you, Donna. We are grateful.