Membership Update by Judy

Judy Hendershot, Membership Chairperson

We want to thank those members who, after reminders, are keeping their 2022 memberships current. We hope to hear from more of you.

We welcome the following new members who have joined us over the past few months: Beverly Willis, Peggy McDaniel, Marilyn Sorrick and Christine Barkhurst.Thank you!

We are promoting the use of our Facebook closed group to update our user members of important information regarding our pension and health care updates. Posts there also keep you current about meetings, social events and volunteer opportunities.

Our Facebook posts are an additional resource to this newsletter.

Our next membership bi-monthly meeting and luncheon is scheduled for May 12 at 11:30. It will be the best opportunity for someone you know to get to know us.




Membership by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images

This issue of The Desktop is being mailed to all members. The address label contains several codes. The first code is M (Mail) or E (Email) which is your preference for receiving the newsletter. Let our treasurer, JoAnn McEwen, know if you would like to change your preference. The next code is your membership dues record: S (State) and P (Portage). The numbers represent the year (January to December) your membership is paid. If the year is before 2022, your dues are now due. L(Life) means you have a paid life membership.  PCRTA dues are $10; ORTA dues are $30. When it is time to renew, you should send a check for $40 to PCRTA, and we will forward your state dues to ORTA.

Members may also become PCRTA life members by paying the difference between what they have already paid and the amount of life membership, which is currently $150. For example, if you have been a member for ten years, you can convert to life membership with a payment of $50. PCRTA life membership is complimentary for members who have passed their 90th birthday. Let us know when this applies to you. 

This newsletter will also be sent by email to all members for whom we have an email address. If you have an email address and do not receive the newsletter through email, please send JoAnn a message to update your information. To mail dues or edit email addresses, contact: JoAnn McEwen, 6377 Marchinn Rd., Ravenna, OH 44266


Judy Hendershot, Membership Chairperson

Judy Hendershot, Membership Chairperson

Membership News by Judy Hendershot


September – October 2021

Have you ever passed along your PCRTA Newsletter to a retired educator or suggested the PCRTA website as a way to learn more about us?

Are you a member of our Portage County Retired Teachers Association Facebook page?  Is there anyone interested in education that you might invite to join the site, where we post information about our board meetings and membership gatherings, volunteering opportunities and social gatherings? One-on-one can be far reaching, if we think to do it.

 On that note, we enthusiastically welcome new members: Lisa DeMarco, newly retired music teacher from Tallmadge Schools who is also the wife of our president, and Janice Tabbs, who retired from Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna. Welcome and thank you for joining us.




We recently contacted over 150 teachers living in Portage County who retired in 2020. We mailed letters and application cards to each inviting them to join our chapter and ORTA. We reminded them that our retirement must be protected and that outside forces will continue to attempt to undermine the security of our STRS system.

We assured perspective members that they need not have taught in or retired from a Portage County school district in order to join us.

Our letter outlined our programming, our activities and the opportunities our chapter offers to continue community service while establishing new friendships and building camaraderie among the membership.

Do you know a recently retired or soon to be retired teacher? Help us to extend further invitations to prospective members. We can be reached on Facebook, by email, or by phone


Even in a unique year such as this one, when you see the big yellow school bus it reminds us that we are retired,  and it’s time to renew our PCRTA and ORTA memberships. The strength of our organization lies in you! Even though we are not able to gather in friendship right now, we are still a viable and healthy association planning for better days.

If you hold Life Memberships, no payments are due.

2021 PCRTA membership is $10.00. ORTA 2021 membership is $30.00. Please make check payable to PCRTA and mail to Dave Gynn, Treasurer, 4210 Lancaster Ln, Kent, OH 44240.

Don’t send dues to ORTA. Dave will forward your membership to them.

Thank you.


June-July 2020

Thank you to all who have renewed your memberships in PCRTA and ORTA. These are challenging times and our attentions are often focused on the many issues that beg for our attention. We hope that you are all well and safe.

We want to welcome new members who have joined during this year’s campaign.

Rebecca Byler-Mercer from Ravenna. Early in her career Rebecca taught in Aurora and Chardon. She retired from the Akron City School system after teaching grades 2 through 6 in several buildings.

Anthony Libertore from Kent retired from the Kent City Schools.

Cathleen Lou Brown Rufener taught at St. Joseph’s in Mantua and St. Patrick’s in Kent. She retired from Akron City Schools after teaching elementary education.

Olivia Agnello from Rootstown taught in the Waterloo School District.

Craig Brumbaugh was a substitute teacher and teacher aide in Vinton County schools. He is also a retired pastor and teaches Bible Study classes in nursing care facilities in Aurora.

Rose Reyes taught junior high science at Immaculate Conception in Ravenna, St. Vincent’s in Akron and St. Joseph’s in Matua. She then spent 25 years in the Crestwood School District before her retirement.

Welcome to all.  Remember, your first luncheon is on us if you have not already claimed it.



Gale Adkins has chosen as one of his many goals during his ORTA presidency to work with all local chapters to increase membership across the state and to strengthen ORTA’s voice on all  legislative issues.

When you see the school bus go by, it’s time to renew your memberships in PCRTA  ( $10.00) and ORTA  ( $30.00) to keep us strong and viable. Thanks to all who have chosen lifetime memberships at one or both levels. Everyone counts!


The strength of an organization lies in its membership. Active involvement in leadership roles insures its health. Overall membership numbers insures its future.

Inviting, recruiting, sustaining members is a full time endeavor. To that end we have invited over twenty teachers newly retired from Portage County Schools to become a part of our very viable association. So far one teacher has responded, and we welcome Maureen Haska from Streetsboro schools who joined as a life member of PCRTA and ORTA.  Welcome, Maureen.

It is important to note here that membership in PCRTA is open to any teacher or administrator retired from any public school in Ohio, as well as any teacher  formerly  retired in any other state but living in Ohio. Also, any spouse who is a benefit recipient of STRS or any person in Ohio interested in education and the issues of retirees is eligible.

We are eager to see our membership numbers exceed 400 again. That is achievable if you continue to support PCRTA as a member and to invite and recruit others.

We continue to seek more visibility through our Facebook closed group page. If you are a Facebook user and have not been contacted by me, please email me at so that you can be included.



Membership renewal

When you see the big yellow bus,school bus

It will remind you that you are retired.

It’s time to renew your membership.

Life Members – No payment!

PCRTA 2019 membership   $10.00

ORTA 2019 membership   $30.00

Make check payable to PCRTA.

Mail to Dave Gynn, Treasurer

4210 Lancaster Ln, Kent OH 44240.

Don’t send dues to ORTA.

We will forward your membership.

Membership Form


Membership April – May 2018

During his presentation at our luncheon meeting on March 17th, Dr. Robin Rayfield, new Executive Director of ORTA, emphatically  avowed the importance of increasing membership state wide. When he assumed his new leadership role in September, he said,

“I urge each current or former member to assist ORTA in this effort of strengthening our voice. If each ORTA member convinced one additional STRS beneficiary to join ORTA, our voice and strength would be doubled.” 

As we approach the end of this school year, we will be contacting Portage County School Districts to identify the next class of retiring educators to encourage them to join PCRTA and ORTA. However, currently, STRS benefit recipients number more than 152,000. ORTA membership is still a fraction of that so there is an untapped population of those already retired who may not know about us.

Do you know a retired educator who is unaware of the only organization in our state that works to advocate for us and them?  “ Know one. Ask one.” Help us increase our voice here in Portage County and in Ohio. Numbers count.

We are pleased to welcome new members Mary Reith and Donna Erdmann of Kent and Howard C. Harper of Ravenna.


You will find a membership update below.  All members should complete this short form and return it as soon as possible. Members change addresses, phone numbers and email addresses often. We need to know your current status. We also value your opinion about our newsletter, luncheons meetings, web site, social activities and legislative activities. You may use a blank sheet of paper to add comments.

PCRTA Membership Update

Please complete this form to update and confirm your contact information and also to offer suggestions for your professional retired teachers’ organization.

Return completed form to Dave Gynn, 4210 Lancaster Lane, Kent, OH 44240.  Thanks.


Member Name ____________________________________________________________


Year Retired _________________ School District _______________________________


Preferred Address _________________________________________________________


Preferred Phone ______________________ Secondary Phone _____________________


Email address (print clearly) ________________________________________________


What would you like to see in the newsletter? _________________________________


The newsletter will be sent via email to ALL members. Would you also like to have a copy mailed to you? ___  Are you willing to pay additional for mailing if necessary? ___


How often do you attend our luncheon meetings?

__Never   ___Occasionally (at least once a year)  ___ Often   ___Never miss a meeting


Suggestions for programs ____________________________________________________


If you never attend, how could we entice you? __________________________________


How often do you use our Web Site?  __ never   __ occasionally  __ all the time

What content would you like to see on our website? _____________________________


How often do you participate in our Social Activities? __ never  __ sometimes

What social activities would you like? _________________________________________

How important are our active Legislative Activities for your retirement protection?

___ unimportant   ___ somewhat important   ___ critical for my retirement


 Membership October – December 2017

We welcome new members Linda Roberts and MaryAnn Beman-Nething. They joined us at our September luncheon and were introduced to our members in attendance.

Linda has taught in several states during her career and retired under the California system.

MaryAnn retired from Warren City Schools in 2017.  Both Linda and MaryAnn bring a new energy to our association.

We will be setting up our PCRTA closed Face Book group site this month. If you have a working email address and use Facebook as well, we will be contacting you with an invitation to join our group. We will use our secure Facebook group site to disseminate information and to help all members to stay connected between meetings and activities.

Additionally, this site will be a way to advertise PCRTA and ORTA and hopefully encourage other retired teachers who are not members to join.

Your continued membership gives us a strong voice. Thank you.

Membership July 2017

Everything an organization accomplishes depends on its membership, and, although great things can be done by a few, the greatest potential is realized by many.

Right now, ORTA and all Ohio retired teachers chapters need the “many” to protect the benefits we earned by our dedication and service to education.

Your membership has sustained the past and present history of ORTA and PCRTA, but the future depends on our continued leadership to encourage new retirees to join our efforts and remain a viable voice.

So far, there are fewer than 20 teachers leaving Portage County Schools to begin retirement this year. We continue to hope that the 30 members who have yet to renew for this year will do so.

All organizations need to grow,  and to that end we continue to seek those who retired in years past who either don’t know we exist or have delayed considering membership. Do you know any of these teachers? Your personal contact could help us grow.

Membership May 2017

An important goal of any healthy organization is to increase its membership and active participation. Many of you have been long time members of PCRTA/ORTA, and many of you have helped to increase membership by encouraging friends and colleagues to join us in our ongoing endeavor to protect our STRS benefits.
As you well know, those benefits continue to be assailed from many directions. We have no choice but to take a proactive stance to protect what we have, and strength in numbers is still the best option. A new initiative recently begun by ORTA promotes membership across the state thru social media accounts: Twitter, websites, and FaceBook. ORTA reports the concept has begun to increase one to two new memberships each day.
At a recent ORTA District XI Leadership meeting, our president, Helena Parry,  proposed that a letter be sent to our state organization requesting that each chapter be provided with a list of new retirees by county every year, thereby giving us a far greater access to perspective members. Although we collaborate with public school superintendents in Portage County and depend on them to share the names of teachers planning to retire each year, those lists are not all inclusive.  We are hopeful that ORTA will accede to the request made by the leadership group.

Thank you to all who have recently renewed your 2017 memberships and to those who have chosen new life memberships.

NEW MEMBERS by Judy Hendershot

Please welcome our newest members. Regina Ekechi retired from Kent City Schools and Cathy Stemen from Morrow County. Both attended our 50th anniversary luncheon celebration.

Membership renewals are due now. Let us count you in.

TIME TO RENEW MEMBERSHIP           by Dave Gynn


A big yellow school bus is a reminder that you are retired, you won’t go to school today and you need to pay your dues. Now is the time to renew your membership for 2017. Look at the address label on your newsletter. If it says “life” – Thank you for your loyalty and congratulations on being a wise investor.

If it says “2016” – Your dues for 2017 are now due. Membership dues are collected between July and December for the following year. If it says “2017” – Your dues are paid for next year. The code S stands for state (ORTA); the code P stands for Portage (PCRTA).

If you receive your newsletter via email, check with the treasurer (330-678-8423) about your membership status. Annual dues are $40 – $30 for ORTA and $10 for PCRTA. Send a check made payable to PCRTA. All dues should be sent to Dave Gynn, 4210 Lancaster Ln, Kent, OH 44240. Your state dues will be forwarded to ORTA. Your annual dues can be converted to a life membership. PCRTA life membership is $150. ORTA is $500 and can be made in payments. Contact ORTA (877-431-7002) for details.


MEMBERSHIP by Judy Hendershot                   Aug. – Sept. 2016

Have you ever stopped to reflect on the many benefits your memberships in PCRTA/ORTA offer? There are benefits for you that include the representation of ORTA that guaranteed you that COLA raise in this year’s paycheck. Our ORTA voice is working right now to delay an Affordable Health Care tax hike that will impact many of us as senior retirees who itemize medical expenses on our tax returns. And, in case you haven’t heard, there are new and exciting benefits offered by AMBA (Association Members Benefits Advisors) to ORTA members. They are easy to check out right now at

Have you considered how your membership benefits others? The more our membership grows, the more we are able to contribute to others in our Portage County community. Consider the money that we raise for our scholarship fund each year through our volunteer hours at NEOMED.  Think of the many people who are now assisted because of our involvement in Habitat for Humanity. And don’t discount the many bimonthly service projects that Judy Morgan organizes and manages that included Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Center of Hope, Akron Children’s Hospital, as well as support for school supplies and hats, gloves and scarves in the fall and winter.

Your dual membership is a “win/win” situation. Many thanks. If you have yet to re-up for 2016, please consider doing that right now.


I have a long list of candidates that I intend to contact.  Our committee is asking that you might also review your list of former colleagues who you might encourage into membership. We will be happy to follow up on your invitation, if you will send along the names of any potential members.

As always, we emphasize a dual membership in PCRTA/ORTA at $40.00 a year – usually a little less than one month’s cost of living increase for those of us already retired.

Fewer Portage County Teachers are choosing to retire from their classrooms this year. Several districts including Ravenna report no new retirees. That was almost to be expected after last year’s mass exodus into retirement because of the changes STRS framed out for the next few years.

So far we have sent letters of invitation to join PCRTA to 23 prospective members.  If we are to reach our goal of 50 new members during this our 50th year anniversary, we need to look back to our colleagues who have retired over the last few years and not previously considered the benefits that ORTA and PCRTA offer. It has been mentioned before but bears mentioning again: personal invitation and word of mouth information produce far more results than a letter in the mail.

Thank you for your membership and your support of PCRTA. You make a difference.

 February to March 2016

When ORTA State Legislative Chair, Carole Kinsey, spoke briefly at our December luncheon meeting, she praised PCRTA for its forward progress and its exemplary leadership. She commended our membership progress and stressed the importance of dual memberships, which continue to give us trustee representation at the state level.

All of this is thanks to you as a result of your continued commitment to PCRTA/ORTA. The reality here is that each membership has a voice, and, now more than ever, retired teachers of Ohio are in need of a chorus to continue to protect that for which we have worked throughout our careers.

In her message in ORTA’s Winter Newsletter, President Carol Remington challenges us to “build relationships to grow memberships.” To that end she cites strong connections with active teachers and administrators as a priority. Our membership committee has already begun to contact not only administrators, but also presidents of teachers’ associations in Portage County, to form stronger partnerships as future retirees transition from active teachers’ associations to the next level of support.

As you know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of PCRTA’s existence. A special committee has been formed to plan a myriad of activities – some of them commemorative and some of them challenges for our next 50 years.  As we celebrate our present and past members, we have set our sights on increasing this year’s membership by recruiting, reclaiming and retaining 50 additional ones.  Do you know an active teacher, a nonteaching supporter of education or a friend whose membership has lapsed? Please encourage them to contact me at or by phone at 330-673-4576. Thank you.

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS TO PCRTA/ORTA by Judy Hendershot, Membership Chairperson

November-December 2015

Welcome to our newest PCRTA/ORTA members:  Rose Gee, Barry Fetterhoff, Donna Crews, Christopher DeMarco, Marilyn Livengood, Eddie Renfroe and Cathleen Rufener. Thank you to all who have already renewed your memberships for 2016.

PCRTA is the voice of Portage County retired educators working collaboratively with Ohio Retired Teachers Association to advocate and promote the improvement of our pensions, benefits and services. That partnership works best for you and me if our number of dual memberships remain competitive with other local chapters so that we can retain our representation down-state with our own trustee. If your memberships are renewed yearly, now is a good time to send them along to our treasurer, Dave Gynn.  Numbers do count!



“Our assignment was to study 2008 membership reports returned on January 15, 2009. Sixty-eight of our 90 chapters returned reports.” By the chairperson of the ORTA Membership Committee


 E-mail or or


Retain Members:  (taken from the ORTA Membership Committee review of chapter reports – published in 2009)

  1. Mail cards to delinquent members and let them know that they are missed. Personal contact is always in order. (Morrow Co.)
  1. Continue to contact retired teachers who have been retired for several years but never joined. Invite them back. (Butler Co.)
  1. Let chapter members know that you miss them when they miss a meeting or two. Show you care. (Scioto Co.)
  1. Discuss problems. Example – transportation. Appoint a Transportation Committee. People with health problems or who have no transportation may still want to attend. Help them get to the meetings! (Pickaway Co.)
  1. Award certificates for 25+ years of membership. Place photos of members in local papers. Send a copy to your Historian and local archives.

6.Have a meeting at a local library or historical society. Let members know that you are preserving local history of hard working teachers. (Pickaway Co.)

  1. Personal invitations. Have member volunteers call and bring non-attending members. Try to solve the problems that are keeping them away. (Summit Co.)
  1. Have GOOD programs. Music! Participation! Silent Christmas auction of baked goods wreaths, crafts, etc.(Scioto and Fairfield Co.)
  2. Hobby sharing meeting – Game day meeting – School Art Day set-up – Think out-of-the-box. (Pickaway Co.)
  1. Challenge. Have a Saturday welcome back picnic or an after school get-together for members who have gone back to substitute, teach or work. ( Vinton Co.)
  1. Continue contact for several years. Do not give up. Retirees may have more time in later years and need more fellowship. (Butler Co.)

PCRTA members, we need your involvement. Help gain and retain our membership.


MEMBERSHIP: Aug-Sept 2015


ORTA Legislative Chair, Carol Kinsey, attended and spoke briefly at our May luncheon meeting. As I listened to her report on the current state of our retirement and health systems, I was reminded of the many benefits you and I enjoy from our dual membership in ORTA and PCRTA.

But, until I read Carol’s article in this summer’s ORTA newsletter, I didn’t come to regard my memberships as a critical kind of “insurance” for the future of my retirement and for yours. I encourage you to read the article if you have not done so.

Then, I ask you to look through the list of newly retired Portage County educators published in this newsletter. Do you know someone from your former district that you might approach and encourage toward memberships?

Pass along Carol Kinsey’s article which illustrates that STRS retirees need to consider the importance of purchasing “insurance” to protect their health and pension plans much as they insure everything that is valuable and important to them. Simply stated: that insurance is ORTA and PCRTA membership.

Thank you for your support. 330-673-4576.

Membership: June-July 2015


Portage County Retired Teachers Association is a strong voice in Ohio Retired Teachers  Association because of the commitment of its membership – each and every one of you.  Thank you for your continued support.  We welcome new members Christine Luli and Jane Nolte, who joined in September.

Unless you chose life memberships in both organizations, dues for 2015 are due now.  It will be helpful for Treasurer Dave Gynn to receive renewals before the end of the year so that he can update ORTA in a timely way.  If you are unsure of your membership status, call or email Dave at 330-678-8423 or  Dues renewals can be mailed to Dave Gynn, 4210 Lancaster Lane, Kent, OH 44240. Checks for local and state dues should be made out to PCRTA.

Below is the list of the 2014 newly retired Portage County teachers. We are in the process of contacting each of them with a second invitation to join the county and state organizations. Do you know anyone on the list that you might personally invite to join us?  Numbers do count.

Portage County Retirees – Class of 2014

Aurora City Schools

Dana Lambacher, Theodore R. Linden

Crestwood Local Schools

Theresa Duesing, Edward Nichols, Pamela Braden, Eileen Shahan, Gerrie Zimcosky, Janet Wilkins, Patricia Eskridge

Field Local Schools

Karen Kennedy, Terry Roth Vogel, Keith Pearson, Judy Jones, Joanna Moore

James A. Garfield Local Schools

Balazs, Sarah Carley, Jane DeVol, Kenneth Fox, Bruce Traycoff

Kent City Schools

Dan McMillin, Jeane Nolte, Frank Barber, Dr. Mary Kay Pieski, Pam Mozer, Jan Ryan, David Wilson, Sue Acker, Judith Atkins, David Killius, Laurie Knuth, Nan Moore, Lori Slattery, Dr. Joseph Giancola, James Fox, Deborah Dortch, Kristi Cabot, John Nemec, Cindy Wawrin

Ravenna City Schools

Joanne Kucek-Keffer, Tina Hannahs, Kathy Jurca, Charlotte Good, JoAnn McEwen, Adrienne Kapr-Ford, Marcia Miley, Connie Moulton, Deborah Miles, Tim Tamati, Dave McBee

Southeast Local Schools

Paula Macchiarella, David Dubinsky, Bruce Blasiman, Joann Chess, Nanette Travers

Streetsboro City Schools Elle Ashby, Paula Evans, William Smerglia



By Judy Hendershot 08-01-14                                                  


Congratulations and welcome to our newest PCRTA members:  David Killius,  JoAnn McEwen,  Adrienne Kapr-Ford,  Connie Moulton,  Jeannette Abell, Sam Abell, David Spencer and Amy Adams.  We are hopeful that many more 2014 Portage County retirees will follow their lead. Letters of invitation to join PCRTA were distributed through the Portage County Educational Service Center and also by Kay Wise and Mike Hardy to Ravenna and Kent Schools respectively. Thanks to both for their help.

A special note to all of our current members.  It is now time to think about 2015 dues unless you hold life memberships in PCRTA and ORTA.  It will be helpful to receive membership renewals before the end of this year. A reminder: the back page of our newsletter has an explanation of your membership status. If you receive the newsletter electronically that has no mailing label attached and are unsure of your membership status, feel free to call or email Treasurer Dave Gynn at 330–678-8423 or for an update. Renewal of dues are mailed to Treasurer Dave Gynn, 4210 Lancaster Lane, Kent, OH 44240. Checks in payment for local and state dues should be made out to PCRTA. Dave then forwards state dues to ORTA.


By Judy Hendershot


Thirteen years ago, it was my friend Al Henderson who introduced me to PCRTA and ORTA and encouraged me to choose life memberships in both as he had done before me.

Al clearly understood the importance of the collective representative voice that PCRTA and ORTA held in 2001 as it worked to protect retired teachers’ rights and benefits. We have witnessed many challenges to those rights and benefits in these past thirteen years and no doubt, there are more to come.

Thanks to Al, I have never regretted my decision to commit to my memberships in PCRTA and ORTA.

More than fifty teachers who will be newly retired from Portage County Schools this year have been contacted by your PCRTA Membership Committee. Some of you may know them as fairly recent colleagues, and if that is so, consider introducing them to the organizations to which you are also committed. Make it personal!

Thank you to all who have faithfully renewed your commitment to PCRTA and ORTA. For various reasons, about twenty of our colleagues have opted out of this year’s membership. While we hope some of them will reconsider next year, we are eager to increase our membership, because numbers do count.




Do you know where our members are? Please notify Dave Gynn is you know the whereabouts of any of these members: Dorothy Beck, Theodore Harvey, Lloyd Mills, Barbara Ottinger, Gail Smith and Tim Warner.

Please let us know if you change your address, either permanently or temporarily. For a fee, the Post Office will notify us of a change of address on your newsletter. Members who receive their newsletter via email should also send an address change.