MARSHALL (2/19/13)- Bonnie and Frank Strauss of Marshall were the recipients of the Sam B. Hall Jr. Civic Service Award for 2013 during the Sam B. Hall Jr. Banquet and Lecture Series held Monday evening in the Phillips Great Room of the Bennett Student Commons at East Texas Baptist University. The annual event commemorates the late U.S. Representative and federal judge Sam B. Hall, Jr., who was a Marshall native and an alumnus of the College of Marshall, which is now ETBU.
At the request of the Hall Professor, Dr. Jerry Summers, Professor of History Dr. Jerry Hopkins announced the deserving couple as the recipients and listed their contributions. The blown-crystal award cup was presented to the Strausses by ETBU President Dr. Dub Oliver and Judge Hall’s sister, Kathleen McLendon.
"As we considered who should receive this year's award," said Dr. Summers, "we knew that many members of our community deserved recognition. Frank and Bonnie Strauss stood out for their record of service and their continuing, intense commitment to the Marshall and Harrison County community."
Frank is the CEO of Activa Products which is located in Marshall. Activa is the largest worldwide producer of instant paper mache, largest supplier of the finest quality plaster cloth (rigid wrap) in retail and educational markets, and largest producer of colored sand in the North American retail market. The Strausses are involved in promoting the arts in East Texas as supporters of the Marshall Regional Arts Council and the Symphony League. They are faithful members of Trinity Episcopal Church of Marshall.
Bonnie, who has lived in Marshall since 1967, was involved in the establishment of the Marshall Public Library. She currently serves as the Education Director of the Michelson Museum of Art. At her church, she has served on the Altar Guild and was instrumental in the establishment Martha’s Kitchen. She is a member of the Dixie Investment Club, Belle Maison and the Symphony League.
Frank is involved in the work of the Marshall Chamber of Commerce. He has been the past chairman of the Twelve Way Foundation, member of the Symphony League and currently serves as member of the Board of Trustees at Wiley College.
The keynote speaker for the evening was Dr. Ronald A. Wells, Professor Emeritus of Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and presently Director of the Maryville Symposium on Faith and Learning at Maryville College in Tennessee. Dr. Wells spoke on his most prominent research and writing on “The Troubles” and the peace processes in Northern Ireland during the late twentieth century, and the essential role of Christian communities in achieving the peace.
Previous awardees of the Sam B. Hall Jr. Civic Service Award were Madeleine Segal Hall, Ray and Mona Lawson of Marshall, and Sue Jordan.
The Sam B. Hall Lecture Series was endowed in 1993 by the family and friends of Congressman and U.S. District Judge Sam B. Hall, Jr. Judge Hall, a graduate of the Baylor University School of Law, was a member and president of several civic organizations and the Marshall Regional Medical Center before his death in 1994. The Hall Professor of History is Dr. Jerry L. Summers, dean of the School of Humanities at ETBU.