Hall of Honor to induct four

MARTINS FERRY — The Martins Ferry Hall of Honor is set to induct four more people into its ranks during a ceremony slated for 2 p.m. April 8 at Martins Ferry High School.

The public is invited to attend the ceremony that will be held in the school’s cafetorium.

This year’s inductees are Dan McGrew, who played in the NFL; John Solovan II, a former judge; Robert McNabb, a former educator; and the late Margaret Smith Brainerd, who helped establish the Martins Ferry Public Library.

Dan McGrew was born in Martins on April 7, 1937. He attended MFHS, Class of 1955, and during his four years he was awarded 10 varsity letters in football, basketball and track. He was selected to local all-star teams and was named All Ohio in 1954. Before graduating high school, he received a football scholarship to Purdue University. While at Purdue, he was a three-year letterman and graduated in 1959. He went on to play for the Buffalo Bills and was named all AFL center in 1960.

Later, McGrew coached for the former Wheeling Ironmen as well as a professional team in Bolzano, Italy. He coached high school football in the Ohio Valley for 37 years. He retired with an overall record of 219 wins, 98 losses and two ties during his years at Smithfield, Union Local, Bellaire, St. John, Meadowbrook, Chopticon in Maryland and Weir High, where he also served as athletic director.

His honors include: Coach of the Year award, Martins Ferry High School Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Ohio Valley Football Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, West Virginia Football Coaches Hall of Fame inductee, and the Minor Pro Football League Hall of Fame inductee as both a player and coach.

McGrew and his wife, Brenda, have a daughter, Ingrid, and son, Dan.

John Solovan II was born in Wolfhurst. His family moved to Martins Ferry in 1951 where he would reside until 2007. In 1964, he graduated from St. John Central High School in Bellaire. In 1968, he graduated magna cum laude from Xavier University with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

A recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, Solovan attended Boston College Law School, where he graduated in 1971 with a juris doctor degree. From 1972-75, he served active duty in the U.S. Army as a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and received his honorable discharge.

A practicing attorney from 1975-97, Solovan was a partner of Blackford and Solovan from 1975-80. In 1977, Solovan became judge of the Belmont County Common Pleas Court, where he held the bench until Dec. 31, 2014. He continues to serve as a retired judge in various jurisdictions when assigned by the Ohio Supreme Court.

He is a member of the bar in Massachusetts as well as Ohio. He also is a bar member for the U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio and the Supreme Court of the United States.

Solovan received the Golden Gavel Award from the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association in 2014.

He is a member of the Martins Ferry Ohio Valley Elks, the Martins Ferry American Legion, the Knights of Columbus 1421, and a parishioner of St. Mary Catholic Church. He also served as a member of Martins Ferry Rotary from 1981-2008.

Solovan and his wife, Kathleen, have three daughters together, Amy, Carey and Jennifer. They also have three grandchildren.

Robert McNabb graduated from Triadelphia High School before attending West Liberty State College, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1959. In 1965, McNabb received his master’s degree from West Virginia University.

He began his teaching career as a math teacher at Moundsville High School in 1959. In 1960, he accepted a math teaching position at Martins Ferry High School, where he worked for the next 36 years. McNabb also served as assistant high school principal from 1964-65, when he was named high school principal. As principal, he shaped the lives of countless students through his leadership until his departure in 1996. In addition to his time at MFHS, he also served as an instructor for the University of Detroit Graduate Center at Wheeling College from 1970-78.

McNabb is a member of the Ohio Principal’s Association, the Belmont County Children Services Board, the National Education Association and a director of the state of Ohio Basketball Sectional Tournament. In recognition of his basketball skills, McNabb was inducted into the West Liberty Athletic Hall of Fame.

McNabb and his wife, Judy, have three children, Jennifer, Jayna and Mark. They also have four grandchildren.

Margaret Smith Brainerd was born in Martins Ferry on March 31, 1881. She was educated at Wilson College, Drexel Institute and Pittsburgh University. She worked at Martins Ferry schools as a teacher, director of educational research and assistant superintendent.

She instituted the Girls Reserves and Y-Teens programs at the high school. Later she was elected to the Martins Ferry Board of Education. Brainerd helped establish the Martins Ferry Public Library and served on its board of directors for 15 years. She died on Aug. 15, 1960.

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