Like many women’s organizations, the Akron Area League of Women Voters sniffed the winds of change in 1985.
“Now, we realize that every woman does not have time to sit down after work and pound out a letter to her congressman,” longtime league member Helen Cullison told the Beacon Journal at the time about why the group was sending pre-printed materials to politicians.
Mrs. Cullison, a former president of the local league of women voters, died Sunday in Erlanger, Ky., after a short illness. She was 92.
She was well-known in the Akron area for leading the league, moderating public debates and for 17 years as an American government teacher in Copley-Fairlawn schools.
When Akron Mayor Edward O. Erickson launched an interactive television series in 1962 to tackle the community’s biggest problems, he called on Mrs. Cullison to moderate the first forum on the city’s financial condition.
In 1986, Mrs. Cullison helped to negotiate the details of a league-sponsored debate between then-Akron Mayor Tom Sawyer and Summit County Prosecutor Lynn Slaby, who were in a contentious race to replace retiring U.S. Rep. John Seiberling.
She said that working out the many debate details — from who sat where, to who spoke first, to who asked the questions, to how many tickets each candidate got — was becoming increasingly tedious for local organizations like the League.
“My experience goes back to the 1950s,” Mrs. Cullison told the Beacon Journal. “In those days, the candidates either accepted or rejected the invitation.”
In 1999, Mrs. Cullison received the Akron Women’s History Project’s Judith Resnik Pioneer Award for paving “the way for others to follow.”
Born in Akron, she graduated from Buchtel High and the University of Akron, where she was the second female editor of the student newspaper, the Buchtelite.
She was preceded in death by her husband, former Beacon Journal drama, movie, radio and TV critic Art Cullison, 92, in 2012.
The couple’s survivors include sons Richard of Fort Mitchell, Ky., and Robert Jr. of Hopkins, Minn.; five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Visiting hours at the Billow funeral home in Fairlawn will be from 1 to 2 p.m. Jan. 18. A memorial ceremony will follow.
Contributions may be made to the Akron Area League of Women Voters, 380 Mineola Ave., Akron, OH 44320 or to the United Way of Summit County, 90 N. Prospect St., Akron, OH 44304-1273.
Carol Biliczky can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3729.