Blan resident’s legacy will lead to cleaner village with residents’ help

By John Hamilton -

BLANCHESTER — A beloved local resident’s legacy continues with a simple act.

Conley Wolfe spoke at Thursday’s Blanchester Village Council meeting about starting an annual day during which locals pick up trash around the community. He wants to do it beginning at 10 a.m. on March 28, starting around the Village Municipal Building parking lot.

Wolfe got the idea as a way to continue and remember John Simpson, who died in March 2019 at the age of 87.

Simpson was a retired teacher and Blanchester native, who taught at Xenia City Schools from 1953 to 1983. Simpson also served as president, treasurer, and museum curator for the Blanchester Area Historical Society.

“He was a resident here for pretty much all of his life,” said Wolfe. “He was a local historian, street-walking type of guy who was very popular and very knowledgeable.”

Wolfe, a local barber and youth league baseball coach, told the News Journal that Simpson picked up trash as he walked around.

“He kept Blanchester in beautiful shape from the time that he picked up trash,” said Wolfe.

He credited the activity as what kept Simpson moving after he had a stroke around 10 years ago.

“That’s probably what saved his life. Instead of succumbing to it, he lived for another seven or eight years. He still walked around. He took a cane and still picked up trash,” said Wolfe.

He described Simpson as someone who never really met a stranger. Wolfe described Simpson as a little shy when they first met. But once Simpson really started to talk, Wolfe got an idea of how knowledgeable and interesting of a guy he was.

Wolfe hopes this not only continues Simpson’s legacy, but also helps pass on a valuable lesson to the next generation.

“I want to teach the newer generation a sense of pride in your town,” he said. “Shortly after Mr. Simpson passed away, I was out walking around picking up trash in his memory. I got my grandkids involved in it and they had a great time.”

While they were doing this, a father came up and asked what they were doing. After Wolfe told him, the father thought it was a great idea and he hopes to get his kids doing it, too.

For further information about the pick-up day, contact either the Blanchester Church of Christ at 937-783-3243, Blanchester Nazarene Church at 937-783-4321, or the First Baptist Church at 937-783-3671. All three of these are involved with the project, according to Wolfe.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574