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Mark Nelson family, John Steitz to be honored

John Steitz

STEUBENVILLE — The Mark Nelson family of Steubenville and John Steitz, Class of 1980 of Richmond, will be honored at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 69th-annual Founders’ Association Dinner set for Dec. 1.

The Mark Nelson family has been a fixture in Steubenville since the early 1990s, when Mark and Gretchen Nelson moved to Steubenville and began their family, which would eventually grow to 10 children. In 1994, Mark Nelson bought a woodshop and began producing the San Damiano Cross. Their business, Nelson’s Fine Arts and Gifts, now sells religious items worldwide and expanded into a second national Catholic gift company, Catholic to the Max.

More recently, the Nelsons have opened up shops in downtown Steubenville, including Drosselmeyer’s Nutcracker Shoppe, Leonardo’s Coffeehouse and the Steubenville Popcorn Co., which have helped bring life back to downtown Steubenville.

In addition to their businesses, the Nelsons have played an instrumental role in the annual Nutcracker Village and Advent Market at Christmas, the Great Steubenville Eggsibition leading up to Easter and First Fridays on Fourth, a monthly celebration on Fourth Street in Steubenville that brings the community together through art, music, food and games.

The entire Nelson family is heavily involved in these events, working with groups such as the Harmonium Project to bring them to fruition.

CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMUNITY — Mark and Gretchen Nelson and family will be honored during Franciscan University of Steubenville's annual Founders' Association Dinner slated Dec. 1 on campus. Members of the family are, front from left, Dominic, 13; Jacob, 11; and Callista, 8; and back Madeline, 24; Gabriel, 21; Mark; Gretchen; Gretel, 1; Gemma, 19; Therese, 23; Zoe, 4; and Maximilian, 17. -- Contributed

Also being honored is John Steitz, who served four years in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and attended the College of Steubenville, where he met his wife, Mary. He graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in business in 1980. Steitz, who also served as a Richmond village councilman for more than 20 years, worked at Franciscan University for more than 44 years.

As supervisor of the University’s Information Technology Services, Steitz was able to get underground fiber cabling installed, leading to the first campus-wide computer network. As the university’s controller, Steitz dedicated himself to supervising the financial accounting, budgeting and reporting areas of the university. Steitz retired in February 2017.

University Founders’ scholarships will be awarded at the event to Franciscan University students Sonya Arellano, Aidan Gotta and Isaac Nelson.

The Rose M. DeFede Women’s Guild Scholarship will be awarded to Lauren Gubinski, Sharon Orndorff, Lee Vargo and Brittany Wood.

The Academy of Lifelong Learning Award recipient will be Joseph Kleehammer.

The Founders’ Association Dinner was established in 1949 by the Rev. Daniel Egan, TOR, the first president of the College of Steubenville, to draw the college and civic communities together. The Founders’ Award was established in 1978 to recognize outstanding contributions of men, women and organizations to Franciscan University of Steubenville and the local community.

The evening will begin with a light reception at 5:30 p.m. in the J.C. Williams Center, followed by the dinner and ceremony at 6 p.m. in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery.

To make reservations, call Franciscan University’s Community Relations Office at (740) 283-6406 or e-mail communityrelations@franciscan.edu by Nov. 19. Dinner reservations are $50; additional donations go toward the Founders’ Association General Fund and other scholarships.

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