Middletown’s next mural will honor late businessman, philanthropist

Perry Thatcher will be remembered through a larger-than-life mural.

A 30-foot by 7½-foot mural of Thatcher, a longtime resident, business owner, inventor and community leader who died in 2010, will be dedicated next month at Cincinnati State Middletown College.

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.

MORE: Thatcher forever honored at Cincinnati State

This mural, entitled “Perry,” is the 12th in Middletown and the second downtown mural by graphic designer Sam Ashworth, who designed the “Jammin’ in Governor’s Square” mural at Broad Street and Central Avenue.

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Ashworth said the mural features four words: inspiration, innovation, education and leadership.

“It symbolizes what Perry was about,” Ashworth said. “He was always learning.”

Instead of the mural being dominated by Thatcher’s portrait, it concentrates on the “stuff he believed in,” Ashworth said.

MORE: Remembering Perry Thatcher

Ashworth, who was a close friend of Thatcher’s, said he’s “really proud and happy” with the mural and didn’t charge for his services.

“I really wanted to do this,” he said. “This is my gift back to the community.”

Which is fitting considering all that Thatcher gave to Middletown.

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 his estate gave a $200,000 endowed gift to Cincinnati State to establish a scholarship fund for students.

Perry Thatcher, longtime Middletown businessman, council member and humanitarian, is pictured during a December 2009 interview in Middletown. Thatcher made his fortune by engineering clamshell Big Mac boxes for McDonald’s and through various other ventures. Thatcher died in January 2010. (STAFF/2009)

Thatcher’s three daughters — Sheree Trent, Kathie Wassenich and Jennifer Thatcher — sponsored the mural and have carried on their father’s civic interests in support of several local charities and projects, according to the Middletown Mural Committee.

MORE: Thatcher’s influence indelible in Middletown

Sue Wittman, of Art Central Foundation, called the design of the mural “very appropriate” and a “fitting tribute.”

The steel panels of the mural are digitally printed and covered by a process to make the outdoor works durable and movable, if necessary.

All 12 of the Middletown murals demonstrate the diverse styles of the artists, she said.

“We’re a creative community,” Wittman said.

The dedication ceremony for the “Perry” mural will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 5 in the Cincinnati State Middletown College parking lot, 1 N Main St. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the college’s lobby.

Those expected to participate in the ceremony include Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State College, and Bob Fairchild, local businessman and close associate of Thatcher’s, as well as Wittman, Ashworth and the Thatcher family.

The Middletown Mural Committee includes chairperson Judy Bober, Ann Mort and Ashworth.

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