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Alumni Hall of Fame
Academic / Professional Achievement (2011)

J. Paul VanderHorst

Jerome Paul VanderHorst, a native of St. Marys, is a member of the Memorial High School Class of 1947. Mr. VanderHorst has notably distinguished himself as a successful and respected businessman and community leader. Additionally, it should be noted that J. Paul VanderHorst could have been inducted into the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation Hall of Fame for Athletic Achievement and Service to St. Marys City Schools.

In 1947, Paul graduated from Memorial High School, where he was a fullback on the 1944 and 1945 Western Buckeye League Championship Roughrider Football Teams. The 1945 Roughrider Football Team, led by Head Coach Lyle Barber, was not scored upon and was undefeated in league play. In the fall of 1947, Paul began his studies at the University of Dayton. The University of Dayton awarded Mr. VanderHorst a scholarship to play football for the Flyers. “Handy Vandy” was an All – Ohio defensive lineman and received recognition for his outstanding play from the Associated Press, United Press International, and the International News Service. In 1951, Mr. VanderHorst graduated from the University of Dayton with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Years later, in recognitions of his life’s work, J. Paul VanderHorst was inducted into the University of Dayton Hall of Fame. After graduating from the University of Dayton, he left his new wife and son in St. Marys to pursue a professional football career with the Los Angeles Rams. While playing on the first team through training camp, Paul came to the realization that Janet and his new family could not have the life he desired for them on a professional football player’s salary at that time. He returned to St. Marys to begin the upward trajectory of his professional life.

From 1951 to 1954, Mr. VanderHorst worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company as an Industrial Engineer. In 1955, J. Paul began his career with Fuller Brush Company, a renowned company known for manufacturing and selling quality cleaning products. This association would last nearly twenty years. Paul began as a Sales Agent and would be promoted to Field Manager, Branch Manager, and finally Chicago District Manager. As Chicago District Manager, he was in charge of the territory extending from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains and from the Canadian border to the Mason-Dixon Line. In 1972, he retired from the Fuller Brush Company after it was sold to Consolidated Foods. However, the best of Mr. VanderHorst’s professional life was yet to come.

Later in 1972, Mr. VanderHorst was hired by Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company to start a subsidiary company named Executive Fund Life Insurance Company. Beginning with ten employees, J. Paul played a key role in making this new subsidiary the largest of Penn Life. After almost twenty years of service with Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company, Mr. J. Paul Vanderhorst was selected to become Vice Chairman of the Board. He would serve in this position until his retirement. In recognition of his extraordinary accomplishments and career with Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company, Mr. VanderHorst received the T.D. Bain Award. There are only three individuals who have received this honor as this was the highest award in Pennsylvania Life Insurance Company.

J. Paul VanderHorst has also been committed to giving back to and serving the greater community. This Eagle Scout has been involved with the Boy Scouts of America. Along the way, he picked up the hobby of skeet shooting and became a champion skeet shooter. He has served as President of the Dayton Chapter of the Agonies Club and President of the Dayton Chapter of the Football Foundation Hall of Fame. Mr. VanderHorst and his family have been benefactors to many financial commitments and scholarships, including the Eugene L. “Skip” Baughman Scholarship. The Baughman Scholarship is a four year scholarship given annually to a senior member of the Roughrider football team to assist his pursuit of a college degree at a college or university of his choosing. Mr. VanderHorst has made it very clear that although he has experienced great success in his career, the greatest successes in his life are his wife, Janet, his seven children, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the family and friends he has made over the span of his life.

It is for his lifetime of achievement as an athlete, community leader, and successful and respected businessman that Mr. J. Paul VanderHorst is inducted into the St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Foundation Hall of Fame for Academic / Professional Achievement.


The above text, in its entirety, is embossed on a St. Marys Memorial High School Alumni Hall of Fame plaque permanently on display in Memorial High School.

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