LOUDONVILLE -- Curtis Eli Budd, originally a one-room school teacher from Hayesville, was hired in 1893 as principal of Loudonville's red-brick Union School.
Though a man of high morals and standards, "Professor Budd" quickly became a close friend of his students -- including a young Charles Kettering. In 1901, Budd was promoted to the position of Superintendent, overseeing both the Union School and the surrounding one-room schools.
Budd was described by his closest friends as, "tall, kindly devoted and determined in his ambitions, keen in his judgement and gracious in his homely humility." He was born in 1864, and though only 1-year-old when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, the President greatly influenced Budd's life.
By the early 1900s his bushy, jet black hair turned bright white and it became a trademark of the man.
In the early 1920s, he led the effort to build a new, modern facility for the students of Loudonville, which resulted in a dedicated Loudonville High School built next to the Union School. His former pupil, Charles Kettering, graciously funded state-of-the-art science labs.
Budd would continue to serve as Superintendent until 1929, when he retired and handed the position over to R.F. McMullen.
Budd had no plans of resting quietly in retirement, and in fact had long stated that when he came to Loudonville all the way back in 1893 it was his intention to make the village "the best town in the United States." He took the position of President of the Chamber of Commerce, and served two terms as Mayor of Loudonville during which his vision led to the establishment of Riverside Park.
He was also a Boy Scout leader, charter member of the Rotary Club, and an elder of the First Presbyterian Church, which he helped form by convincing the English Lutheran and Presbyterian congregations to merge. He was also a member of both the Hanover Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and the local order of the Knights of Pythias.
He directed Red Cross drives and served on the Ashland County Draft Board for a short time before resigning due to declining health.
He passed away in 1943 after a long battle with illness. Multiple articles regarding his life and death graced the front page of the Loudonville Times that week as the town mourned the passing of the man they honored as their "First Citizen" after giving 50 years of service to the community.
Following Budd's death, a close friend remarked to the Rotary Club that the high school he helped build "will stand for years to come as a memorial to Mr. Budd's vision and devotion to Loudonville."
When a new high school was built in 1964 the former school was named in his honor, guaranteeing the name C.E. Budd towered over the village for decades to come.
More information on the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum can be found at this link.