Reynoldsburg News

Tales from the Crypt

Haberdasher's story to come to life at event

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Amateur genealogist Robert Finnerty put his research skills to the test for this year's Tales from the Crypt at Green Lawn Abbey.

Finnerty, of Reynoldsburg, helped track down information about the six people interred at the mausoleum who will be featured in this year's program, slated for 7 p.m. Oct. 25 and 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Oct. 26 at the mausoleum, 700 Greenlawn Ave.

Among the more interesting stories is that of George Kibler, a haberdasher who sold budget-priced three-piece suits for $9.99 to $25 each. Kibler had two stores in Columbus, one on Spring Street and another on Broad Street.

Tales from the Crypt is a fundraiser for the Green Lawn Preservation Association, which seeks to reopen the facility as a full-functioning mausoleum.

Actors dressed in period costumes recreate the stories of people buried at the abbey.

Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the gate, providing the event isn't sold out. Tickets can be purchased online at www.greenlawnabbey.org or by calling 614-602-2239. Warm cider and popcorn will be served.

Finnerty, 37, said Kibler's home was at 66 Columbia Ave. in Bexley, part of what is now the Columbus School for Girls' campus.

Finnerty said he reached out to the school, which put him in contact with Kibler's only surviving daughter -- 91-year-old Suzanne Kibler Morris, who lives in Texas.

She supplied many interesting personal anecdotes about her father, said Finnerty, who will be playing the role of Kibler at the event.

Finnerty, who works for Giant Eagle, said he found the experience extremely rewarding.

"I consider it a privilege to research for this event and organization, because doing so has connected me with parts of Columbus that have been long forgotten," he said.

"People back then were just as they are now. They loved their families, worked hard, were anxious about their future and dealt with losses the best way they knew how."

George Kibler died in 1962 and his property was transferred to CSG, although records aren't clear if he deeded the property to the school or the family sold it, Finnerty said.

The house is now where CSG's head of school lives, Finnerty said.

Others whose stories will be told include:

•Herbert Penney, J.C. Penney's brother and business associate.

•Oda Demorest, a benefactor of Ohio State University.

•Isaac Collins, who started Anchor Hocking in Lancaster.

•Max Stearn, entrepreneur in the entertainment field and an original partner in the Olentangy Amusement Park.

•Dr. Clyde Hebble, a professor in early dentistry at OSU.

"We just try to keep it fresh," said Janice Loebbaka, president of the preservation association. "We don't do the same stories two years in row."

She called it "Halloween for adults."

"This is about history and appreciating those who are gone," Loebbaka said. "We don't do scary."

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