• Last modified 522 days ago (Feb. 15, 2023)


Who was your favorite president?

Staff writer

From the first to the 45th, Marion seniors named their most-admired presidents Friday.

Some got multiple kudos.

Marion councilman Jerry Kline had to name three presidents as the ones he admired most.

The first was Abraham Lincoln.

“Look what he had to live through — the Civil War, the states pulling out,” Kline said.

Kline also named George Washington because he had to get the nation organized to stand on its own.

Franklin D. Roosevelt is the other president Kline admires.

“I thought he was a good president back in World War II,” Kline said. “He was good.”

Caleb Abbott didn’t hesitate to name two presidents he admired.

“Abraham Lincoln,” Abbot said. “The whole U.S. was in turmoil. He was the one who held the country together and freed the slaves.”

A tall man himself, Abbott had one more reason for liking Lincoln.

“He also was real tall, six foot 4 — about the equivalent of seven foot 2 today,” he said.

Abbott also liked Harry Truman, because Truman was “very down to earth.”

Abbott noted that presidents before Truman left office without getting retirement pay. Truman asked for postage money for all letters he would have to write.

“That’s when presidents got retirements,” he said.

Dorothy Conyers said Washington was her favorite but not really for any particular thing he did.

“We share the same birth date,” she said.

Washington was born on Feb. 11 at the time. A change in calendar systems made it Feb. 12.

Needless to say, the president had the birthday first.

Edith Helmer said Lincoln was her favorite.

“I think he was honest,” she said. “I think our country was in better shape then than it is now.”

Marion city councilwoman Ruth Herbel said her favorite president was John F. Kennedy.

“I just liked him,” she said. “I thought he was in touch with all the situations — all of them.”

Among major events during Kennedy’s years were racial strife and efforts to establish equality, Alan Shepard Jr. as the first American in space. An aggressive space program succeeded in putting a man on the moon. The University of Mississippi was desegregated. Kennedy also dealt with the Cuban missile crisis before he was assassinated Nov. 22, 1963.

Herbel remembers making a shocked call to her husband at work to tell him.

Bea Kelsey’s favorite president is more recent.

“I think Trump was a good one,” she said. “I think he was honest. He had his cocky ways, but he was a good one.”

For Shirley Bowers, the best president was homegrown — Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“He did things like we did,” she said. “He was raised right in Abilene and lived there.”

She also admires Eisenhower’s military career.

Last modified Feb. 15, 2023