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Ann and Jay Antenen

Ann Antenen

1925 – January 21, 2022

Ann Antenen was Hamilton, Ohio only female mayor. She had a passion for preserving history and was once named YWCA’s Woman of the Year

 

Ann Antenen liked to tell people she was the first, and only, female mayor of Hamilton — so far — her daughter, Susan Antenen, said. “She had a good life,” her daughter said. “She was involved in many things, and many people loved her.”

 

 

At first when she arrived in the city in the early 1950s after marrying Hamilton native Jay F. Antenen Sr., it was difficult for an out-of-towner to settle in, Susan Antenen said. But eventually she set down deep roots in the community. Among other accomplishments, she and Jay Antenen founded CHAPS (Citizens for Historic and Preservation Services). They bought older houses, including some on Ross Avenue and Third Street, restored them and rented them. She helped save several historic buildings, including the historic former Anthony Wayne Hotel, which was supposed to be torn down. CHAPS found a developer and the building now offers affordable housing to people. Another major preservation victory was the Elisha Morgan Mansion in Fairfield.

 

 

“That is a lady who loved Hamilton, Ohio,” said the current mayor, Pat Moeller. “She cherished history, she cherished historic buildings. She and her husband were quite a team when it comes to historic preservation, and because of she and her husband, we’ve been able to preserve a lot of historic buildings.”

 

 

“Ann was such an accomplished person,” said Moeller, who first knew her through her son, Jay F. Antenen Jr., and called her “a class lady.” Moeller also was impressed that “she was the first woman mayor at a time when there probably weren’t that many women mayors,” he said. “We have lost an iconic person.” Moeller credited her with helping ensure the city’s current High-Main bridge had the iconic arches of its predecessor. She also supported preservation efforts all throughout the county and state as a president of the Ohio Preservation Alliance. She also helped get Hamilton’s German Village area designated as a historic area.

 

 

More than anything, “she loved being out with people,” Susan Antenen said. “She was going to Rotary until the last few weeks, and the garden club, and just to get out and see people — and help people, when she was younger.” She also loved nature and gardening, “and she loved Hamilton,” after moving to the area in the early 1950s. She originally was from Virginia and earned a degree in architecture from the University of Cincinnati, and also majored in art. She met her husband, who died in 2009 after 57 years of marriage, in Oxford, while she was an architect and he was a builder.

 

 

Antenen was sworn in as Hamilton’s vice mayor in January, 1978, and a month later took the city’s highest elected post when Mayor Frank Witt died during a City Council meeting. She was an avid gardener and a member of the Hamilton Garden Club. Susan Antenen said she also helped bring Planned Parenthood to Hamilton and taught Sunday school at First Presbyterian Church in the 1960s. She also was involved with the Butler County Historical Society.

 

 

Antenen also was a recognized local artist who specialized in oil paintings depicting Hamilton and the local countryside, but also worked with watercolors and mosaics. YWCA Hamilton in 2001 named her Woman of the Year.

 

 

Aside from her son and daughter, she also leaves four grandsons and two great-granddaughters, Hazel and Elise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Antenen

1924 – January 25, 2009

Jay F. Antenen, Sr., lifelong resident of Hamilton, was raised on North Seventh Street by Pauline Goetz Antenen and Edward W. Antenen, Jay graduated from Hamilton High in 1941. He received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Harvard University. During World War II, he served in the Merchant Marines as a Radio Officer on Liberty Ships.

 

Jay and his brother, Dan E. Antenen, created the Antenen Construction Company, which over 32 years constructed commercial and industrial buildings throughout Southwest Ohio. The company donated a farm on Four Mile Creek to the Butler County Parks District which became the Antenen Nature Preserve.

 

Active in Hamilton civic affairs, Jay at various times served as President of Greenwood Cemetery Association, President of the Hamilton General Contractors Association, and Chairman of the Hamilton Crafts Licensing Board. For many years, Jay organized the reunions for the Class of 41 and, as a member of the Rotary Club, chaired the Hamilton Science Fair. Dedicated to preserving historic Hamilton, he was President of the German Village Association, helped save the Anthony Wayne Hotel, and fought to save the arches of the High Street Bridge. Committed to fairness and human dignity, Jay chaired Hamiltons Human Relations Commission in the 1970s which led to improved racial integration of the citys neighborhoods.

 

As a volunteer and board member of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, he worked to help communities shape their visions for the future by leading town meetings throughout Kentucky and Ohio and village consults in Egypt, Micronesia, and East Asia.

 

An erudite lover of words, he wrote poetry and memoirs and was known to hold forth at meals and gatherings. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Ann Antenen; his brother, Dan E. Antenen and sister, Mary Carol Goodman; children, Susan Antenen and Jay F. Antenen, Jr.; and four grandsons.

 

*****

In addition to helping with consults in a number of countries, Jay and I joined a team that conducted a series of Economic Development Forums in 1986 for the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet. they resulted in a number of improvements, including educational reform and cross county collaboration. During the closing Forum Celebration at Morehead State university, our hosts invited us to try a clogging dance. For Jay, who felt he was in pretty good shape, this turns dout to be life changing. Fearing he might be having a heart attach, he vowed to take up running at the Hamilton Y and became famous for that too.

 

In addition to music interludes at Greenfield Cemetery and picnics at the new state of the art sewage treatment plant with out ICA friends, Jay often asked Norm and Ito serve as judges for several of the wonderful Rotary Science Fairs. It was fun, educational, and uplifting for us; and I even had my picture in the paper!

 

Out connections with Ann and Jay continued as we travelled to ICA conferences in Prague, Mexico City ad Denver. They were great traveling companions; and Jay even treated for a cruise on the Moldau in Prague – with appropriate music of course!

 

I enjoy Jay’s poems and his commitment to write 100. I think I am close to 5th. Poetry is a great help as we adjust to the many changes in the world and in our lives.

 

both of our husbands developed dementia, but we found ways to stay as active aspkossible. We were able to visit Ann after Jay passed, and my husband Norm was able to share some of the drawings he has done at a Memories in the Making art program with Alzheimer’s Association. Ann sponsored helpful art classes right here at Berkeley Square for the senior residents.

 

What a privilege to have known both Ann and Jay.

          ~~  Judy Lindblad

 

 

 

 

 

 

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