Golden Bear named Great Ohioan

By Alan Johnson
Published on

Golfing great Jack Nicklaus, industrialist John D. Rockefeller and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart are the new crop of Great Ohioans.

The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and Capitol Square Foundation made the announcement on Thursday of the 2016 class of Great Ohioans based on nominations submitted by individuals and organizations.

"I believe this class of Great Ohioans will serve to inspire future generations of Ohio leaders and represents the great wealth of talent that the Buckeye State has produced since statehood in 1803," said Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, chairman of the board overseeing the Statehouse.

The awards, now in their 20th year, honor people who lived in the state at least five years and played a significant role in an event or series of events of lasting historical significance that must be at least 25 years in the past.

Nicklaus, nicknamed the Golden Bear, won 18 major golf championships, finishing his career with 73 total victories, behind only Sam Snead (82) and Tiger Woods (79). The Upper Arlington native turned professional at age 21 toward the end of 1961 and won the U.S. Open the next year. He won his final major championship, the Masters, in 1986.

In retirement from active competition, Nicklaus has designed golf courses and performed charity work. He also is host of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin.

Stewart, born in Michigan while his family was on vacation, was the son of former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice James Garfield Stewart. He earned bachelor's and law degrees from Yale University before serving in the Navy in World War II.

Just 39 when appointed to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1954, Stewart was picked by President Eisenhower in 1958 for appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was on the bench until he retired in 1981, serving alongside Chief Justices Earl Warren and Warren Burger.

Rockefeller was a co-founder of the Standard Oil Co., which started in Cleveland, and ran the company until he retired in 1897. At one point, he was the world's richest man, controlling 90 percent of all oil coming from the U.S. When he died in 1937, Rockefeller's fortune was estimated at $336 billion, adjusted for inflation.

He was a major philanthropist, founding the University of Chicago, Rockefeller University and Central Philippine University in the Philippines.

The three men join 39 other Great Ohioans honored in the past 20 years.

This article was written by Alan Johnson from The Columbus Dispatch and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.