Bobbie Mershon remembers the meager accommodations inside Canal Winchester's municipal building when she was elected to her first term on City Council in 1990.
There wasn't much.
"Back then, the only piece of equipment we had in the municipal building was a typewriter," she said. "The clerk would type in all capitals, so she wouldn't have to switch (between lower- and upper-case letters)."
Nearly three decades later, Canal Winchester has grown from a village to a city, with a revitalized downtown, a thriving industrial park and a successful school system. And Mershon has been there to help usher in the expansion, which saw the community's population grow from a little more than 2,600 in 1990 to nearly 8,000 in 2016, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates.
Elected to seven terms over 28 years, Mershon may be the longest-serving Canal Winchester City Council member, but she will not return to her seat in January after losing her re-election bid Nov. 7.
According to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, in a field of six candidates running for four seats, Patrick Lynch received the most votes at 900 (17.89 percent), followed by Michael Coolman, 852 (16.94 percent); incumbent Will Bennett, 834 (16.58 percent), Jill Amos, 824 (16.38 percent); Bob Toledo, 812 votes (16.14 percent); and Mershon, with 808 votes (16.06 percent).
In Fairfield County, Amos received 107 votes (15.4 percent), Bennett earned 123 votes (17.7 percent); Coolman, Lynch and Toledo each received 118 votes (16.98 percent) and Mershon had 111 votes (15.97 percent).
Council President Steve Donahue did not seek re-election. There was an open seat left by Jim Wynkoop, who died in August.
"It is what it is," Mershon said. "I'm sure they're going to have to do a recount, but it's unlikely that I could make up those votes. The voters have spoken, and that's fine. That's the process."
A recount may be necessary after the election is certified by the elections board and sent to the Ohio Secretary of State's Office. Canal Winchester's City Council race could potentially be within the 0.5 percent margin after absentee ballots received after Election Day and provisional ballots that are verified are included in the official canvass, according to Aaron Sellers, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Councilman Bruce Jarvis has served the longest time -- 16 years -- with Mershon, a Vietnam War veteran and nurse who was assigned to the 93rd Evacuation Hospital's surgical intensive care ward at Long Binh.
"She brought her own experience into the position, and with such a long history of Canal Winchester growing from a village into a city, a lot of times when you were wondering, 'Well, why did that happen?' she was able to provide a firsthand account of why something was the way it was," Jarvis said. "That will be missed."
Mershon was among those who helped bring to life the Canal Pointe Industry and Commerce Park at the Route U.S. 33 and Diley Road interchange. The city acquired the land for $6,000 an acre in the 1990s.
New businesses and restaurants also have opened in downtown Canal Winchester during her tenure in office.
"Getting the downtown revitalized made a huge difference," Mershon said. "When I first got on council, Canal Winchester rolled up the sidewalks. That's not true any longer."
Mershon said she learned early on in her political career that you can't please every constituent. She said she has made difficult decisions on many controversial issues but did what she thought was best for the community.
"I just want to thank the people of Canal Winchester for allowing me to be their councilperson," Mershon said.