Lou Ann Putnam Harrold, age 87, died peacefully in the presence of her family on June 12, 2023 following a brief illness. She was born at Findlay Hospital, Findlay Ohio on December 9, 1935.
Lou Ann graduated from the first class of Hardin Northern High School in 1953. She earned a scholarship to The Ohio State University based on her 4-H program participation. At OSU, she served as an officer in Kappa Delta Sorority and graduated summa cum laude with a major in home economics education, and first in her class. Following her graduation, she taught at Alger High School and then left the classroom when her children were young. She later returned to teaching at Kenton City Schools for 21 years. In her tenure as an educator, Lou Ann was a fierce advocate for the educational growth and achievement of her students. She was honored as the Ohio Home Economics Teacher of the Year in 1982, having piloted a program to keep school age parents in school to graduation, and significantly expanding curriculum offerings. While teaching full time, she began graduate studies culminating in a Masters of Science in Educational Administration from the University of Dayton. Lou Ann also served as President of the Ohio Home Economics Association, the Ohio School Supervisors Association, and the OSU College of Home Economics Alumni Association. She was named School Supervisor by the Hardin County Board of Education and worked with all Hardin County school districts for 9 years. In 1994, she was then named Hardin County Superintendent of Schools, one of only five women in Ohio serving in this position at the time. Under her direction, both Hardin County Online Academy and Hardin County Charter School were established to allow credit deficient students opportunities to complete coursework to graduate. She retired in 2004 and then ran for the State Board of Education to represent 24 counties in west central and northwest Ohio. Lou Ann retired from the State Board of Education in 2008 having served on multiple statewide projects and regional advisory boards. She served as Chair of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce and Kenton Rotary Club, as well as Secretary of the Cessna Township Board of Zoning Appeals. In addition to her career in education, Lou Ann assisted her father running the family farm, and continued to manage the farm following the death of her parents. Lou Ann was a die-hard Ohio State Buckeye’s fan and held football season tickets for over 50 years. She was also a long-time member of First United Methodist Church of Kenton, Ohio.
Lou Ann was a spitfire soul and a loving and caring mentor who inspired her students, staff, and fellow educators. Her life embodied a fierce dedication to furthering the education of students in Hardin County, and across the state of Ohio. Over the course of her career, she touched and encouraged thousands of students who have gone on to do great things. Lou Ann’s legacy of educational excellence will carry on through many generations to come.
Above all, Lou Ann was a devoted daughter, mother, and grandmother. She is survived by her loving children, Rob Spangler, Edwards, Colorado, and Stacie Westerhausen (Eric), Evergreen, Colorado. Lou Ann is also survived by her four beloved grandchildren, Coco Spangler, Christian Westerhausen, Ava Spangler and Ande Westerhausen; and by her sister, Adarah Dancer. Lou Ann was preceded in death by her parents, Donald Layman Putnam and Carolyn Genevra (nee Mathews) Putnam.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Hardin County Farm Bureau scholarship program.
A memorial service in celebration of Lou Ann’s life will be scheduled at a date to be announced in the near future.