Northwest Ohio is home to talented and generous people from all walks of life. They take time to impact the community through their work, by volunteering or with good-natured entrepreneurship. M Living, in the next several issues, will recognize 50 community members, all over the age of 60, whose contributions to our community have improved the quality of life. The December/January issue honored the first eight community members, and this issue features the second eight profiles of our 50 Over 60 Community Standouts.
Rob Koenig has embedded himself in Toledo’s vibrant theater scene. He serves as president of the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, is the director of Toledo School for the Arts and president of Issue Box Theatre. A lifelong lover of the arts, Koenig quickly realized performing wasn’t his niche and instead studied law at New York Law School before practicing law in Toledo for 38 years. His love of theater led him to leave his legal career to focus on his positions with local theater. Koenig has been recognized for his commitment to the community as a Trustee for Life with the YMCA of Greater Toledo. His previous positions include board membership and president of the Toledo Ballet Association and as a sound designer for local musicals and plays.
“I always had the intent of trying to find ways to help and facilitate the community theater that surrounded me, because I love the stage,” Koenig said. “Although I don’t perform, I contribute to local theater, not only through my background as a lawyer, which comes in handy, but also by advancing the ongoing quality of the Toledo theater community.”
Steve Taylor Sr.
Stephen Taylor Sr. has a well-known name in the automotive industry where his local roots run deep, with his acquisition of the former Walt Pierce Buick in 1979 and his wife’s family ties to Charles Fisher of Body by Fisher. After opening Taylor Buick in 1979, he acquired the former Gumpp Cadillac dealership nine years later with the beginning of Taylor Cadillac. Those two franchises were the beginning of the Taylor Automotive Group.
Taylor’s work ethic led to the expansion of his businesses over several decades and made him a household name in the Toledo area. He has worked with his son, Stephen Taylor Jr., over the past three decades, continuing his legacy at Taylor Automotive, which consists of Taylor Cadillac, Taylor Kia of Toledo, Findlay and Lima, Taylor Hyundai of Perrysburg, Findlay and Toledo and Taylor Volkswagen of Findlay. Taylor is also heavily philanthropic in the area, most recently through his partnership with the Toledo Clinic Cancer Centers to form the Taylor Research Center that benefits cancer patients in Northwest Ohio.
Tom & Susan Palmer
Tom and Susan Palmer are two lifelong Toledoans who have constantly donated time and financial support to the community. Susan was a docent and a member of the Toledo Museum of Art’s auxiliary support group, the Ambassadors, before becoming president of both. She served as a Museum employee from 1996 to 2015 before retiring as Director of Development. She is a member of the TMA Board of Trustees and serves as chair of the Development Committee and a member of the Education and Leadership and Governance Committees. In addition to her work with the Museum, Susan has served as a trustee for the University of Toledo, and for the Greater Toledo Community Foundation.
Tom practiced law with Marshall & Melhorn, LLC, for more than 45 years and is still a senior member of the firm. He has served in leadership roles on the boards of organizations like the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority, Local Initiatives Services Corporation, Toledo Cultural Arts Center/Historic Valentine Theatre and more. In 2021, Tom and Susan pledged to donate $1.5 million over the course of four years to elevate and diversify the TMA’s exhibitions. Their shared love of art and community volunteerism came together to help the Museum’s strategic plan to combine quality and culture of belonging
Tina Skeldon Wozniak
Tina Skeldon Wozniak recently retired after serving for over 20 years as a Lucas County Commissioner. Wozniak served for five years on Toledo City Council before being appointed to the Board of Commissioners in 2002. She was re-elected five times. During her tenure as a Commissioner, Wozniak oversaw projects like the planning for the new Lucas County Canine Care & Control facility, the construction of the Huntington Center, the renovation of the Glass City Center and the creation of the Toledo Lucas County Sustainability Commission. Based on Wozniak’s initiative, Lucas County established the position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,. She also spearheaded the Western Lake Erie Nutrient Source Inventory,, a map that depicts the effects of runoff into Lake Erie’s watershed. Wozniak also served as Lucas County’s Workforce Development Board Commissioners’ Representative.
“I feel like I was the lucky one,” Wozniak said while reflecting on her contributions to the community. “Having an opportunity to serve the wonderful people in our community was so rewarding. Every time I met with someone, the exchange was something that always impacted my life and, I hope, theirs. We have some terrific people in Toledo and Lucas County, and it’s the work we all do together that makes a difference.”
Paula Hicks-Hudson has worked diligently to revitalize and improve the Toledo community. After completing her law studies, she began her legal career at the Toledo Legal Aid Society before becoming a Lucas County prosecutor, assistant public defender and assistant state attorney general. She has served as the Legislative Director of Toledo City Council, before serving as a Council Member and the becoming the first Black woman mayor of Toledo, from 2015-2018.. She has also served as director and deputy director of Lucas County Board of Elections and as state representative for Ohio House District 44.
Hicks-Hudson’s focus on educating youth, outreach to those affected by alcohol and drug use, community development and revitalization has provided a brighter future for Toledo residents. Hicks-Hudson continues to serve the community, empowering others, holding Ohio’s 11th Senate District. She’s been awarded countless honors, from the 2020 Community Service Award from the Toledo Bar Association to the Distinguished Service Award by LiUNA Local 500. She also has served on the boards and remains involved with local organizations, including the NAACP, the YWCA and the Frederick Douglass Community Center.
Jim and Bob Sautter
Jim and Bob Sautter are brothers and third generation owners of Sautter’s Food Centers in Waterville and Sylvania. Sautter’s became a trusted local grocer in 1927, remaining family owned since that time. Sautter’s continues their long tradition of buying local and regional foods to showcase on their shelves, with many products from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Through sourcing gourmet ingredients or finding foods that meet a variety of dietary restrictions, the Sautters maintain a diverse collection of products to offer customers. Sautter’s is also one of the original butcher shops in the Greater Toledo Area, featuring on-site butchers daily to provide fresh cut meats. Additionally, Sautter’s Food Centers offer an extensive wine selection due to the brothers’ extensive interest and knowledge on the subject .Jim and Bob have made it their mission to carry on the family store because of their love of the customers and the longstanding tradition that Sautter’s has become for the community.
“I don’t see myself as a community standout – it’s just a passion that we have,” Jim said. “I love serving people and I love running the business. It must be in my genes because I’m third generation – my son is fourth generation and he just came aboard, too. (Running the business) is something that I look forward to every day.”
Julia Bates has dedicated her life to the process of seeking justice. After graduating from Wittenberg University, Bates received her law degree from the University of Toledo. She participated in internships at the Lucas County Children Services Board and the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office before she began her professional career in the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office in 1976. Bates served as an assistant prosecutor for 20 years, then in 1996, she was elected as Lucas County’s first female Prosecutor. She has run unopposed and maintained her position ever since.
As Prosecutor, Bates oversees different divisions, including criminal, civil, appellate, juvenile, foreclosure, grand jury and victim assistance. Throughout her tenure she has initiated programs to support Lucas County citizens, including the 24-hour Crisis Response Team, Cold Case Unit and the Economic Crime Task Force. Operating with an open door policy with her staff, Bates works to uplift and educate those around her through her approachable, positive attitude. Bates also supports and works with community organizations and events, working with organizations like Connecting Kids to Meals, the Toledo Zoo and the YMCA.
Anita Rios, a local woman, is a national spokesperson for the Green Party. After graduating from the University of Toledo and working in the social service sector, including assignments monitoring childcare providers, finding non-agricultural jobs for migrant farmworkers and case management for individuals with mental illness, Rios was elected shop steward/executive delegate for SEIU/1199. She then became the delegate representing the group on the AFL-CIO Regional Labor Council.
Rios joined the Green Party in 2000 and worked to get RalphNader on the ballot as a presidential candidate in Ohio. She was elected one of three co-chairs of the Green Party National Committee in 2001 and, since, has spent the majority of her time building the Green Party, both on a national scale and with the Ohio chapter. Rios ran for Governor of Ohio in 2014, receiving over 100,000 votes, 3% of votes cast, which helped maintain political party status for the Ohio Green Party. She also was the Toledo City Council Green Party candidate in 2011, receiving over 30% of the vote. She remains dedicated to helping the environment, ending poverty and fighting for the interests of the working class.