One Tiger, now in its ninth year of operation, is non-profit organization whose purpose is to “benefit Massillon youth by supporting and promoting the institutions and programs that deliver success skills.” Annually, One Tiger honors individuals that have an extensive track record of giving support to the kids in this manner. This year’s honorees are Dale Walterhouse and Esther Bryant.
A lunch at Washington High School kicked off the event and then the recipients were honored in the auditorium by proclamations from Mayor Kathy Catazoro-Perry, by those closest to them with short speeches (each one punctuated by an enthusiastic ring of the Massillon-McKinley victory bell) and finally by presentation of the One Tiger awards. The event concluded with dinner at Tiger Town Grille and Pub.
At the request of his Upper Sandusky High School coach Leo Strang, Dale Walterhouse moved to Massillon to coach at Lorin Andrews Junior High. After stints as Jones Junior High and Washington High School sophomore coach, Walterhouse became varsity assistant and served under head coaches Strang, Earle Bruce, Bob Seaman, Bob Commings and Mike Currence. He coached six state championship and two national championship teams and was a member of the inaugural class of the Tiger Hall of Fame. His Massillon coaching career spanned 24 seasons, compiling a record of 201 wins, 21 losses and 4 ties.
Coach Walterhouse taught health, physical education, and general chemistry in the Massillon School System, served as district supervisor of health and physical education, and was briefly Washington High School’s athletic director. An active member of the Massillon Tiger Football Booster Club, Walterhouse has served as president and treasurer as well as president of Sideliners.
Walterhouse has served his community through the Massillon Alumni Scholarship Committee, the Community Improvement Corporation, the Civil Service Commission, the Spring Hill Historic Home board of directors, the Lions Club as chairman of the eye screening program, the Ohio North-South All-Star football game assistant events director, and state football playoffs parking coordinator. He served as a Massillon city councilman and the manager of The Elms Swim Club.
Walterhouse and his wife Jo have three children—Kathy, Kurt, and Steve, eleven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
“You’ve been a wonderful asset for this city,” said presenter and former Tiger player and past Football Booster Club President Brock Herring. “You always had the best interest of the Massillon kids in your heart. You were like a dad to many of us.”
“It’s our community that comes out on top because of people like these (Dale and Esther),” added former Football Booster Club President Steve Berecek. “For Dale, it was a labor of love. He always wanted to give back to the community.”
Dale graciously thanked One Tiger and all of the presenters. “Massillon has been very good to us,” Dale said. “I’ve surrounded myself with great people and it is great people that make you successful. I give football a lot of credit for my being here today. You can do a lot more with team than individual.”
A 1959 graduate of Washington High School, Esther Bryant studied at Kent State University and the Washington Beauty Academy in Akron, where she taught for many years. She also taught at the Jane Skinner Modeling School and Christina’s Hair Weev (the inventor of the hair weave) before opening her own beauty salon and boutique in Massillon, Juannee’s Total Image.
As a Stark County Human Services foster parent, she recognized a need to provide basic life skills and cultural experiences for foster children. With the assistance of Rev. Reginald Hye at Friendship Baptist Church in Massillon, she founded Lighthouse Visions. For 22 years, as CEO/executive director of Lighthouse Visions, she tirelessly bettered the lives of foster children, until she suffered a serious stroke in 2015.
Bryant served the community in many capacities, volunteering with Westark Family Services, Downtown Massillon Association, Massillon WestStark Chamber of Commerce, the Fair Housing Board, Massillon Museum, Canton NAACP, Massillon Woman’s Club, CAN (Collaborative Agency Association), Board of Stark County Community Action and the Massillon Parks and Recreation board.
Bryant has two daughters—Judge Valarie Hill and Bridget Hill, three grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She is a member of Friendship Baptist Church, where she served as pianist for more than 50 years. She now sings in the choir. She also attends Massillon Connections Church and leads praise workshops.
Margy Vogt contributed to this story.