OSBF announces new president and board members

CONTACT:  Kate Clements 800-282-6556 or 614-487-4450

Columbus, OH (Jan. 16, 2014)—Stephen F. Tilson, a partner in the Galion firm of Hottenroth, Garverick, Tilson & Garverick Co., LPA, begins his one-year term as board president of the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF), succeeding Thomas D. Lammers. Tilson, along with 21 other board members, will carry on the Foundation’s rich legacy of promoting public understanding of the law while improving the justice system.

The OSBF awards grants, addresses specific legal needs through numerous service opportunities, and honors the accomplishments of members of the legal community. In 2013, the OSBF gave nearly $800,000 in grants to organizations across the state of Ohio.

As president, Tilson will continue to build the OSBF’s legacy. “The Foundation keeps me engaged because of the people involved and because of my love of the law,” he said. “Our staff, board, donors, members and grantees are doing wonderful things for the public and the legal system. It’s just pure pleasure to have the opportunity to serve and to work with some of the finest, hardest-working lawyers I’ve encountered anywhere.”

Tilson has been involved with the Foundation for more than 25 years and has been a board trustee for eight years. As a young lawyer he was engaged in a number of community initiatives and projects in Galion and Crawford counties. Of this early experience, he noted, “I was very young and hadn’t been involved in any charitable organizations. I quickly learned that a charitable organization can really change the landscape in a society.”

As a member, delegate and past governor of the Ohio State Bar Association, he has also served as the chair of the board of editors for Ohio Lawyer magazine. On the local level, he is a member and past president of the Crawford County Bar Association and is involved in many community activities including the Galion Area Chamber of Commerce, the William F. Unckrich Foundation, the Crawford County Community Mental Health Board, the Crawford County Business/Education Advisory Council, the Galion Community Center/YMCA and Planned Parenthood of North Central Ohio.

Tilson received his J.D. with honors from The Ohio State University and his B.A. with honors from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Tilson will lead this year’s Board of Trustees, whose members include President-elect Lee E. Belardo (Avon), Immediate Past President Thomas D. Lammers (Celina), Jonathan Hollingsworth (Dayton), Karyn Justice (Portsmouth), C. Lynne Day (Chardon), Carol Seubert Marx (Lancaster), Michelle L. Kranz (Toledo), Thomas P. Moushey (Alliance), Thomas J. Bonasera (Columbus), Hon. William D. Hart (Kenton), Hon. William H. Harsha (Chillicothe), Robert F. Ware (Cleveland), Andrew C. Storar (Dayton), Diana Ramos-Reardon (Columbus) and Dennis Terez (Cleveland).

Lee E. Belardo, President-elect
Helping Tilson this year will be President-elect Lee E. Belardo of Avon, who was first introduced to the Foundation when he became a Fellow in 2007. As a member of the 2008 Fellows Class, Belardo helped organize a summit to discuss successful reentry opportunities for ex-offenders and admired the infectious dedication of those who chose to make a difference by helping others. He commented, “I have heard it said many times that OSBF exists for lawyers to pursue those lofty ambitions they wrote about when applying to law school…but may have forgotten. The Foundation gives us the means and collegial support to act on those ideals.”

As a solo practitioner, Belardo still finds time to give back to his profession and community. He is a current member for the Ohio Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, and also serves as a City of Avon councilman at-large. Belardo is a former board member for the Ohio Center for Law-Related Education and a sustaining member of the Ohio State Bar Association, having served on many committees including past terms on the OSBA Board of Governors and its Council of Delegates. He is also a member of the Lorain County Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, the Lawyers Guild of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland and the American Bar Association. In addition to his professional associations, Belardo serves in leadership roles at Saint Teresa of Avila Catholic Church and with the Boy Scouts of America.

Rounding out the 2014 OSBF Board will be five new trustees: Mary Amos Augsburger (Columbus); Velda K. Hofacker (Columbus); Martin E. Mohler (Toledo); Kathleen A. Stoneman (Carrollton); and Nirakar Thakur (Toledo).

Mary Amos Augsburger
Augsburger is the new executive director of the Ohio State Bar Association, the fourth executive director in its 133 year history and the first-ever female. She was nominated to become an OSBF Fellow in 2013 and has since donated much time to the organization. “The OSBF is the legal community’s voice for good here in Ohio, and I am fortunate to be learning more about the great work and impact of our Foundation as executive director for OSBA.” 

In her spare time, Augsburger serves as a board member for the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. She earned her undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and her law degree from Capital University Law School.

Velda Hofacker
Having graduated with a B.A. from the University of Akron and a J.D. from George Washington University, Hofacker has been with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as an assistant attorney general for more than 25 years. Through her work in the Court of Claims Division, Hofacker has represented the state effectively in many cases over the years as a litigator.

She has also worked extensively with OSBF since her induction to the 2004 Fellows Class and has been active in the community via the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Franklin County, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Ohio Reads Program, Junior Achievement, Ohio Jaycees and the American Red Cross.

Martin E. Mohler
As president-elect of the Ohio State Bar Association, Martin E. Mohler will serve ex-officio on the OSBF’s Board of Trustees. He has served the northwest Ohio community for almost 40 years as a partner in the Toledo firm of Shindler, Neff, Holmes, Worline & Mohler, LLP. 

Having earned his J.D. from the University of Toledo College of Law, Mohler has since invested much time in professional and community organizations. In addition to his service as an OSBF Fellow and as a past president of the Toledo Bar Association, he continues to be an active member of the Toledo, Ohio and American Bar Associations, and a life member of the Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference. He recently chaired the Government Affairs Committee of the OSBA Board of Governors and the OSBA Commission on Judicial Candidates. In addition, Mohler is a member of the Toledo Bar Association Pro Bono Board, and has served on the boards of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality and Legal Aid of Western Ohio, and the Toledo Legal Aid Society.

Kathleen A. Stoneman
A graduate of the University of Akron School of law, Stoneman has more 30 years of legal experience. In 2011, she opened a practice in Carrollton to help members of the community address their general legal needs as well as those associated with oil and gas leasing. 

Stoneman served on the Ohio Supreme Court Commission that developed the Ohio Child Support Guidelines and has served on the OSBA Council of Delegates. She became an OSBF Fellow in 2007, and has been active in her community as a member of the Carroll County Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities Board, as past chairperson of the Carroll County Foundation, and as a member of the Carroll County Bar Association.

Nirakar C. Thakur
Since 1999, Thakur has been a solo practitioner in Toledo. He is a certified specialist in estate planning and probate law who has been recognized as a Super Lawyer. He is a frequent speaker at programs for the OSBA Continuing Legal Education

As an OSBA member, Thakur has also been active in many OSBA committees including the Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law Specialization Committee. He is also a member of the Lucas County Bar Association, the Toledo Bar Association, and the Toledo Estate Planning Council. In 2008, Thakur joined the OSBF Fellows Class that worked to organize a summit on reentry initiatives for ex-offenders. Thakur not only has a J.D. from the University of Toledo Law School, but also earned an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Toledo.

About the Ohio State Bar Foundation
The Ohio State Bar Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works to advance the law and build a better justice system. Through our grants and programs, we educate and perform outreach to the public to make the law fair for all Ohioans. For more information about the Ohio State Bar Foundation, please visit www.osbf.net.



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