A Couple’s Goal for Giving

Robert and Mabelle Elsasser

Robert and Mabelle Elsasser

Robert and Mabelle Elsasser treasured their memories of Ohio State. Robert, whose father had emigrated from Germany to the United States, was the first member of his family to pursue a college education. To help cover some of his educational expenses—especially a challenge during the Great Depression—Robert traveled from Columbus to his hometown of Bucyrus, Ohio, by motorcycle on weekends to work for a local grocery store.

On graduation day in 1935, Robert received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in chemical engineering. Mabelle, while not a student, had enjoyed spending time on campus with Robert. They married in 1936 and vowed to make educational opportunities easier for students in the future.

The Elsassers had two children—a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Jon—and shared 48 years together before Robert passed away. “My mother valued philanthropy and chose to establish scholarships in the county where my parents were raised,” Jon said. “To carry out my parents’ goals of giving back, my mother funded two charitable gift annuities in support of the Crawford County Alumni Scholarship Fund.”

Mabelle, who passed away in September 2011 at the age of 95, was an active volunteer in her community of Canton, Ohio. She spent 45 years in that role with the Aultman Hospital and as a member of the Canton Women’s Club and the McKinley Museum Auxiliary.

Robert’s Buckeye legacy has continued. Although skipping a generation, the tradition continued with all four grandchildren. William and Elisabeth Brahler, Elizabeth’s children, graduated in 1990 and 1992, respectively. Jon’s daughter, Erica, graduated in 2010; his son, Kurt, receives his degree in June 2012.

“Even though she did not attend Ohio State, my mother always enjoyed receiving invitations from President Gee or Archie Griffin to events at the university,” Jon said. “And she was a lifelong fan of Buckeye football and basketball.”

The Neil Legacy Society
The Ohio State University
1480 West Lane Avenue
Columbus, OH 43221