Senior Fair King and Queen

Madeline Roche • Aug 15, 2019 at 10:00 PM

“Who is your hero?”

This was one of the questions asked at the 2019 Huron County Senior Fair King and Queen Pageant.

Contestant Martha Smith did not hesitate to answer it is her husband, Leo.

“He is the spark in my life,” Smith said.

She was later announced as The 2019 Huron County Senior Fair Queen, which she said was “wonderful.”

“She’s a good wife and a good talker,” Smith’s husband said. The couple have been married for 63 years.

Leo Smith comes to visit his wife at Norwalk Memorial Home twice a day.

The couple has six children, 19 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. Many of them came to cheer for Smith.

“That was just so neat,” Martha Smith said about her family’s support.

The Smiths owned the Invention Restaurant in Milan for 18 years, catered for 28 years and had a farm for more than 40 years.

Martha Smith’s advice for Huron County is to “do what’s right and keep your faith.”

Harley Polley of Bellevue Care Center is the 2019 Huron County Fair Senior King.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Polley said about the pageant. “This is a nice gathering and a nice program.”

As someone who grew up in the area, Polley used to show dairy cows at the Huron County Fair.

Polley was born in Monroeville Aug. 16, 1933, which makes today his 86th birthday.

Throughout his life, he worked as a farmer and later owned a real estate business. Polley has four sons, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Polley said his children have been the best part of his life.

One of Polley’s sons, Mike Bailey, of Bellevue said he was happy for his father.

“It’s so exciting,” Bailey said.

When asked what his advice for others would be, Polley answered “respect your elders.”

Chris Castle, the marketing director for Gaymont Nursing Home hosted the pageant.

“We all work together to take care of good people,” Castle said.

Nursing homes in Huron County send a king and queen contestant. Pageant participants were judged on poise, personality and appearance.

Other contestants were Marie Leser from Bellevue Care Center, Leroy Buffington and Sharon Burnum from Blossom Healthcare, Raymond Horner and Martha Herbst from Gaymont Care & Rehabilitation, Jack Hargis and Susan Inmon from The Laurels of New London, Arthur Hale from Norwalk Memorial Home and Lyn Lutts and Phyllis Heald from Twilight Gardens. 

Judging was handled by Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan, Norwalk Police Chief Mike Conney, New London Mayor John Martin, Kelly Lippus from the Huron County Chamber of Commerce and Ricky Branham from the Willard Chamber of Commerce.