New mural links inventor’s love of Middletown, learning

Students walking from the parking lot to Cincinnati State Middletown must feel like they’re being watched by a man and four words that describe him.

The Perry mural, a 60-foot by 18-foot mural of Perry Thatcher, a longtime resident, business owner, inventor and community leader who died in 2010, was dedicated Wednesday morning at Cincinnati State Middletown.

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Thatcher was one of the leading forces behind convincing Cincinnati State to open a branch campus in downtown Middletown, and in 2010 the college dedicated the Thatcher Family Wing.

The mural, designed by artist Sam Ashworth, features a larger-than-life colorful portrait of Thatcher in the left-hand corner and the words Inspiration, Innovation, Education and Leadership stretched across the steel panels.

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Thatcher’s three daughters — Sheree Trent, Kathie Wassenich and Jennifer Thatcher — joined his longtime business associate Bob Fairchild, Cincinnati State President Monica Posey and others at the dedication.

Wassenich, who noted her father would have turned 88 years old Wednesday, said the mural portrays everything her father “stood for and believed in.”

Posey said the mural represents what the college wants to “teach and instill” in its students.

Fairchild knew Thatcher for 30 years and told the crowd the mural was appropriate because of Thatcher’s “genius and vision.” Thatcher co-founded numerous businesses and made his fortune by engineering clamshell Big Mac boxes for McDonald’s and through various other ventures.

He purchased numerous historic downtown properties, including the Manchester Inn and the Duke Energy building, home to Cincinnati State. His estate gave a $200,000 endowed gift to Cincinnati State to establish a scholarship fund for students.

“His desire was to re-position this city as the leader in the area that it once was,” said Fairchild, who called the mural the “pinnacle of what was represented by Perry’s career and what he meant to Middletown.”

Thatcher was the “caretaker” of Middletown, Fairchild said. “Perry stepped up to the plate.”

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