Foundation

The Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library was established in 1968 as a gift from Mr. Ralph M. Eccles for the communities located within the Union School District. Mr. Eccles and his wife, Ella, were residents of Rimersburg working in 1915-1921 selling farm equipment, 1922-1950 in the auto business, from 1950-1967 growing evergreens and developing a nursery with over 200,000 Christmas trees, 17 million seedlings, and 5,000 shrubbery, and in 1954-1955 owning the telephone companies in Rimersburg and Callensburg. Later, he would sell the telephone companies to the Telephone Utilities of Export.

Mr. Eccles wanted to do something for his community of Rimersburg, so in 1957, he opened the Rimersburg Medical Center in memory of his wife, Ella Mae, who died in 1956. His sister, Margaret W. Lesher wanted to provide for the area also and after her death in 1963, the Margaret W. and Irwin W. Lesher Foundation was established to provide scholarships for high school graduates of Union High School. Mr. Eccles also had a deep affection for the young people of Rimersburg and participated with scholarships for graduating seniors and post graduates of Union High School. Thousands of students have received aid from this foundation.

In 1967, Mr. Eccles wanted to continue his philanthropy for the community he loved. In talking to the local people, he learned that a “library” would really be an advantage to the young people. When the property beside the local post office became available, his vision for having a new building was on the horizon. He then approached the Superintendent of the Union School District, Mr. B. G. Corliss about the idea of developing a library for the community. He wanted Mr. Corliss to spearhead the committee that would get the library building off the ground. The first library board of directors were B. G. Corliss, superintendent of the local school; Daniel M. Filetti, insurance broker; Gerald Snyder, office manager of the local bank; Ralph Youkers, auto dealer; and Donald Murphy, school teacher and mail carrier. The library became a reality in 1968 with the dedication on February 4th. The library was intended to be a memorial to Mr. Eccles, and to his sister, Margaret W. Eccles Lesher. Thus the name of the library became Eccles-Lesher Memorial Library. Mr. Eccles passed away in September 1972, so he did get to enjoy spending time in the library observing the patrons using the library and its materials. The trust foundation, Ralph M. and Ella M. Eccles Foundation, was established at First Seneca Bank in Clarion with five members composed of two from the bank and three from Clarion County of which one should be the superintendent of schools in the Union School District. The trust is now at National City Bank in Oil City with Stephen Kosak, Consultant to Charitable Trusts, managing the trust foundation.