UNION CITY — Go to your bookshelf and pull out that dog-eared copy of “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury’s famous novel about a futuristic world in which books are burned, not read.
Turn first to the dedication page. Bradbury writes: “This one, with gratitude, is for Don Congdon.”
Now, unearth a copy of Union City High School’s 1935 Anvil and check out the class valedictorian.
That’s right, Donald Congdon is the same man who went on to become a distinguished literary editor in New York City. Bradbury was one of Congdon’s first clients and the author, now 90, dedicated his classic novel to his friend and agent in 1953.
Congdon’s name soon will appear in another important place: the Wall of Achievement in the lobby of Union City Middle-High School.
Congdon, who died Nov. 30 at age 91, is one of eight people who will be inducted into the Wall of Achievement Sept. 3 at Union City’s football game against Lakeview on the Bears’ home field.
Joining the famous agent in the wall’s third class of inductees are:
Emory and Peg Clough, John Estes Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Hopson, Wally Huckno, Col. William Malec and Rosemary Obert
The Wall of Achievement pays tribute to Union City's administrators, business patrons, entertainers and community members who have made a difference in their community and the greater world at large.
The inductees were selected by a nine-member committee and the wall’s previous inductees from the past two years from a field of candidates nominated by individuals.
“This class is very well-rounded,” said wall founder Kurt Anthony, a retired Union City school teacher who is serving his third and final year as committee chairman. “Each of these people found their niche to make the world a better place to be.”
Committee member Tracy Daggett will take over as committee president next year. He, too, is humbled by the breadth of expertise that marks the class of 2010. Choosing the inductees among many deserving candidates was difficult, he said.
“This is a strong class, Daggett said. “We’re really hoping a lot of them can come back to Union City for the ceremony.”
The new inductees will be introduced Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in front of the home bleachers just prior to the 7 p.m. kickoff of the Wall of Fame game. They will be introduced again at halftime.
After the game, the public is invited to meet the inductees at a reception in the high school cafeteria.
The names of all Wall of Achievement members will be engraved on 30-by-40-inch walnut plaques that are on display in the lobby at the front entrance to the middle-high school. Each inductee, or a representative, also will receive an individual plaque.
Here are brief sketches of the new inductees:
• Emory and Peg Clough (deceased)
Emory and Peg Clough were raised in Union City and graduated from Union City High School. They married and raised one son and two daughters.
Peg Clough taught elementary school in Union City, ºfor 33 years. Emory Clough owned the Western Auto store in Union City and was active in Boy Scouts and Little League.
The couple were active in the First United Methodist Church of Union City and were honored as Citizens of the Year. Peg Clough died in 1989. Her husband died in 1994.
• Donald Congdon (deceased)
After graduation from Union City in 1935, Congdon moved to New York City with $8 in his pocket. He started working with the Lurton Blasingame Literary Agency, and eventually was named an associate fiction editor. He then was hired as an editor by Simon and Schuster. It was there he became close friends with Bradbury.
In 1966, he caused a stir in the publishing world when he sold the serial rights to “The Death of a President,” William Manchester’s study of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The move resulted in a lawsuit by Jacqueline Kennedy. He started his own agency in 1983.
• John Estes Jr.
A 1969 Union City graduate, Estes earned an engineering degree from Gannon University. He worked for General Electric before founding his own electrical engineering company, E Squared Power Systems, in Littleton, Colo.
Estes started the Chatfield Challenge 5K High School Cross Country Invitational, an event that attracts more than 2,500 runners each year. In 2006, Estes was honored by Colorado’s lieutenant governor with the State Volunteer Service Award.
• Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Hopson
Hopson enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Union City in 1990 and served in several combat operations in Operation Desert Storm.
From 1993-97 he was deployed to Southeast Asia as part of Operation Intrinsic Action. From 1999-2002, he was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was responsible for property valued at $284 million at military bases and deployment areas. For the next four years, he was presidential communications officer and deputy director of logistics for the White House Communications Agency.
He is director of logistics/inspector general representative at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
• Wally Huckno
A Detroit native, Huckno graduated from Union City in 1958. He taught 32 years in schools in Jamestown, N.Y., where he was athletic director for 10 1/2 years before retiring in 2004.
Huckno became a successful football coach in Jamestown, amassing many awards while guiding his teams to a 159-47-1 record. He is the all-time school leader in gridiron victories and is a member of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Buffalo Hall of Fame.
Huckno also served 10 years in the Chautauqua County Legislature as District 10 representative.
• Col. William Malec
After graduating from Union City in 1968, Malec enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. Over the years he has earned degrees in psychology and in guidance and counseling.
He has served in a host of base level and staff positions and has served in 20 different assignments. Now a colonel, he currently is chief, Airspace and Airfield Operations Division, Headquarters Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base in St. Clair County, Ill. Malec is responsible for air traffic control, air field and air space management, and terminal instrument procedures at 13 Air Mobility Command bases in the continental United States.
• Rosemary Obert
Obert taught music in the Union City Area School District for 33 1/2 years, retiring several years ago.
During her tenure, 114 students were selected to Regional Chorus, 40 students were selected to State Chorus, and 13 more were chosen for All-Eastern National Chorus. She directed 18 musicals and was named Union City’s Citizen of the Year in 2002. She also was named WJET-TV’s Golden Apple Teacher of the Year in 2003.
She was music director at the First United Methodist Church of Union City for 21 years and was chairwoman of the Gathering at French Creek festival for the first two years of its existence.