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A true Bel Air Family [Editorial]

Forevermore, the Schlehr Family will be remembered in Bel Air for what they’ve given the town and done for the people who have made their home.

“There is no family in the history of Bel Air who has given so much of their passion, their skills, their values and thousands of hours of time to our community,” Bel Air Mayor Susan Burdette said recently.

Her comments came last week during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Schlehr Pavilion in Bel Air’s Rockfield Park. The pavilion was designed to be used during functions at Rockfield Manor, the former home of the Hoza family on Churchville Road not far from the John Carroll School.

The pavilion has been a quarter of a century in the making since the town developed a master plan for the use of the property after buying it from the Hozas. The pavilion took so long build because it took Bel Air a while to find the money for the $100,000 project.

“For many years the town could not afford the cost of such a structure,” the mayor said, adding State Sen. J.B. Jennings helped the town get $100,00 to build it.

The Schlehr Family is Jane and the late George Schlehr and their five children, who all went to Bel Air High School, and now their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Three sons - Chris, Michael and Peter – played on Bel Air High’s undefeated football team in 1965, coached by the legendary Al Cesky.

Pete Schlehr, who was sports editor of The Aegis many years ago, and his daughter, Kristien Schlehr Foss, who was a reporter at The Aegis years ago, also are representative of what the family has done for and means to the town.

Foss, is chair of Bel Air’s Cultural Arts Commission and a teacher.

The mayor described her as a “very busy mother,” an “extreme Bel Air sports fan” and a prolific volunteer for Bel Air town events. Her dad, Pete, has been on Bel Air’s Planning Commission since 1991.

All of the members of the Schlehr Family, except the youngest ones, have served Bel Air in some capacity and there’s no doubt the young ones will do the same, jumping in and carrying on as their elders have done before them.

“We’re all here [in Bel Air], we continue to live here, grow our families here, retire here,”Pete Schlehr said during the dedication ceremony. “We don’t want to go anywhere else.”

That pretty much says it all, except for what Pete said at the ceremony: “We’re thrilled, and I’ve got to say, we’re humbled.”

And Bel Air has chosen a fitting and lasting way to express its thanks.

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