Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parrish-Roach family, Margie Samuels of Maker's Mark are winners of Spotlight Awards from Midway University

A famous Midway family and the co-founder of a famous brand are the winners of Midway University's annual Spotlight Awards, to be presented at a dinner at the university on Thursday, May 25.

The 2017 Legacy Award, for service to the university, goes to the Parrish-Roach family, defined as James Ware Parrish and his descendants.

Parrish worked with Dr. L.L. Pinkerton to establish the Kentucky Female Orphan School, which became Midway College and then Midway University. Parrish raised money to buy land and erect buildings, and the site he chose for the school remains the home of the university, which last year admitted male undergraduates for the first time.

Parrish had two sons who were active trustees of the school, "and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many in-laws have continued to love, work and dream with the school as it transformed to meet its students’ needs," the awards program says. Margaret Ware Parrish was a coach and teacher for 40 years. Parrish’s son, Thompson Marcus, was patriarch to the Roach family.

Current Roach family supporters of the school include Ben and Ruth’s son, James Parrish Roach, who is a trustee; their daughter, Helen Rentch, who spearheaded efforts to build The Homeplace at Midway, an assisted-living facility and nursing home that collaborates with the school's nursing program. "Helen is also a member of the Midway University Ambassador program," the program says. "Robyn Roach, widow of Ben and Ruth’s son, Tom, established and still helps lead the Ruth Slack Roach Scholars program, in partnership with Mildred Buster and Janie Polk. This scholarship has benefited 20 young leaders on campus, giving selected students a full ride for two years, allowing many to complete their college education."

The Pinkerton Vision Award honors a person or group that has had a direct impact on improving women's lives; a woman who has been an outstanding role model; or a woman who has displayed great leadership, innovative thinking and influence in her career. This year's winner is the late Margie Mattingly Samuels, wife of Bill Samuels Sr. of Bardstown, with whom she conceived and promoted Maker's Mark bourbon in 1953. She died in 1985.

Margie Mattingly Samuels
"While Margie never held an official position or had delineated responsibilities, her contributions were invaluable," the Kentucky Distillers Association says. Not only did she name Maker's Mark, "She discovered a way to help her husband decide which small grain should be selected to replace rye as part of the formula in his new whisky; she baked bread with a variety of alternative grains. Bill blind-tasted the bread and decided on taste. She insisted that all the old buildings at the Victorian-era distillery they had purchased to make their whisky not only be saved but also faithfully restored, even at a time when money was scarce. This resulted in Maker’s Mark becoming America’s first distillery to be designated a National Historic Landmark and earned a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for Maker’s Mark as 'America’s oldest operating distillery on its original site.' By far her most famous contributions were the creation of two of the spirits industry’s most famous symbols for handcrafted quality: the brand name Maker’s Mark, and the distinctive red wax which drips down the neck of every bottle. . . . Margie also designed the shape of the Maker’s Mark bottle, as well as the distinctive lettering on each label that has become an internationally recognized type style."
Below, Rob Samuels, Margie's grandson, accepts the award for her as President John Marsden listens.
Below, Dr. Jim Roach accepted for his family as Donna Moore Campbell, trustees chair, listened.

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