WILMINGTON — Debbie Stamper is being remembered as a loyal local resident who strove to make Clinton County a better place, while working tirelessly to market it to out-of-towners to bring tourism dollars into the county.
Stamper, who died Saturday at age 59, served for 18 years as executive director of the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CCCVB), winning many awards for destination marketing and tourism development.
“Debbie Stamper was a loyal Clinton Countian,” said CVB board member Mike Wallace. “In recent months Debbie’s work with the Clinton County Visitors Bureau has been greatly in question. But many forget that she has basically built the CCCVB from the ground up, and its contribution to Clinton County and especially Wilmington is unknown in many circles. It is because all her hard work happened behind the scenes, and not in the spotlight. The money she was able to recruit to our area was hard fought for, and totally under-appreciated.
“Especially during the days, weeks, months and years after the departure of DHL, one of the very few good things to happen around here was the visitor dollars spent as a result of the CCCVB,” Wallace continued. “Few understood the hard work she prepared and delivered for the sake of our county. The thousands and many millions of dollars that visitors to our wonderful county spent, happened because of the dedication that Debbie Stamper put forth on our behalf.
“We will most definitely miss Debbie Stamper.”
“During the time I served as a county commissioner, I worked with Debbie as a member of the CVB board,” said Wilmington President of Council Randy Riley. “Debbie was always prepared and enthusiastic about the image we projected of Clinton County.
“Even now, when I see the new SR 73 bypass, I look at the words ‘Clinton County’ that are emblazoned on the wall of the overpass. Years ago, Debbie explained to me that the graphic that is part of the design can either symbolize corn growing from the words or it can represent arrows pointing at the words. This symbolizes Clinton County’s excellent location in southwest Ohio. She liked to say, ‘All roads lead to Clinton County.’
“Debbie loved this community,” Riley added. “Her work demonstrated her love and commitment to Clinton County.”
Scott Holmer said, “I had the opportunity to serve on the CVB board for 15 years (2000-2o15), and held positions of treasurer and president. Debbie was a real professional in her position as executive director, and she worked tirelessly to market and promote all of Clinton County as a venue to stay, shop, dine, and enjoy our quality of life assets that we have to offer.
“Debbie will be missed greatly and I believe through her efforts our county has become better known,” he added.
County Commissioner Pat Haley said, “I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Debbie Stamper, executive director of the Clinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is a sad time for Clinton County and for the many people who knew Debbie throughout the State of Ohio. She was kind, loyal and decent. I will miss her very much.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with JB, Ashley and family during this difficult time.”
Stamper was named an Outstanding Woman of Clinton County in 2009. A graduate of the University of Louisville, she was involved in leadership positions with many local organizations through the years including Main Street Wilmington, Downtown Wilmington Community Improvement Corporation, Blanchester Area Chamber of Commerce, Wilmington City Cab’s Transit Advisory Committee, the Wilmington City Schools’ Financial Oversight Committee and Wilmington Noon Rotary Club.
She was also past president of the Ohio Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
“I am experiencing a profound loss,” said CVB board member and Clinton County History Center Executive Director Kay Fisher. “I respected her as a business acquaintance, but she was also my best friend. I told her I thought we were twins — just born in different years to different parents.”
Stamper’s survivors include her husband of 33 years, JB, her daughter and son-in-law and one grandson.
Her visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Fisher-Edgington Funeral Home in Wilmington, with a graveside service at 11 a.m. Friday in the Sugar Grove Cemetery in Wilmington.
Reach Tom Barr at 937-382-2574.