With his warm smile, friendly handshake and kind word for everyone with whom he comes in contact, Harry D. McConville is East Liverpool's unarguable, if unofficial, ambassador of good will.
Beneath his genuine, easy-going personality, however, there beats the courageous heart of a U.S. Marine who participated in numerous beach landings and battles during World War II. Of the many battles in which he took part, perhaps the most memorable is the Aug. 7, 1942 invasion of Guadalcanal. Harry was recently asked to write his recollections of the battle for a book being published about the Marine Corps Second Battalion, First Division of which he was a member.
The East Liverpool native, born Dec. 29, 1910 to Frank A. and Mary Elizabeth McConville, returned to his hometown following the war and joined the Internal Revenue Service. He was a collection agent with the IRS for more than 30 years, retiring in 1976. He was recognized by the government agency in 1972 when he was one of only two recipients of the IRS' rarely presented Distinguished Service Award.
Almost immediately upon his retirement, Harry became a special volunteer assistant to U.S. Rep. Douglas Applegate, maintaining the congressman's office in East Liverpool. Since Applegate's retirement, Harry has continued his volunteer work in the East Liverpool office of James A. Traficant, Jr.
A standout athlete in football and basketball at East Liverpool High School, the 1930 ELHS grad is an avid gardener and outdoorsman, enjoying the natural surroundings of his longtime Irish Ridge Road residence.
Long a proponent of academics, Harry served on the East Liverpool Board of Education during the 1960s, playing an important role in the passage of bond issues that provided the district with North Elementary School and the high school campus on Maine Boulevard. He also worked to establish a branch campus of Kent State University in East Liverpool. After the successful effort, he served as chairman of the local KSU-EL Campus Advisory Board for 20 years. He was bestowed with the Kent State University Distinguished Service Award, the highest recognition paid to a non-employee.
Tribute also was paid him at a special evening held in his honor Feb. 22, 1986, in which more than 400 turned out to recognize him for his many efforts on behalf of education and community. He also has been recognized as a "distinguished alumni" of the East Liverpool High School Alumni Association.
A world traveler who has visited every continent and more than 137 countries, he is an ardent Ohio State Buckeye fan and was honored March 21, 2000 with an official proclamation by the Congress of the United States, recognizing his meritorious service to community.