23 Tristaters offer appreciations

Sunday, May 10, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Bits of wisdom from Mom have been chronicled for years, which led the Enquirer to ask prominent Tristaters to recall the most important lesson they learned from their mothers. A recurring theme emerged: Work hard, but always put family first. Here's a look at lessons from 23 mothers who helped shape the lives of Greater Cincinnatians.

Timothy Lees

Timothy Lees, 28, violinist and newly appointed concertmaster of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, grew up in Philadelphia, lives in Charleston, S.C., and will move to Cincinnati early this summer:

"I'd have to say it was overall discipline. I'm a musician, and that requires hours and hours of lessons and practice. Even when I was very young, mom (Nancy Lees) made me practice. She was the one who got me to lessons and saw to it that I spent my time at home learning that lesson.

"She convinced me early on that everyone needs to do more than is necessary, that getting by just isn't good enough. As such, she played an enormous role in my musical development."

Katie Brown Blackburn

Katie Brown Blackburn, daughter of Mike and Nancy Brown, is general counsel and corporate secretary for the Bengals. "There is one area that stands out when I think of what I've learned and that is a strong sense of family. My mom, more than anyone I know, has loved, cared for or dedicated herself to her famly and I'm the grateful beneficiary of this."

Bishop Robert Muench

"My mother encouraged me from my earliest years to participate in activities, such as an altar server, a Cub Scout and a cabbage ball player," says Bishop Robert W. Muench, 55, of the Catholic Covington diocese.

(Cabbage ball is a New Orleans-style game similar to softball). "These and similar activities have helped shape my life in many ways," the bishop says of his mother, 84-year-old Mary Muench of New Orleans.

"Of course, the greatest advice my mother ever gave wasn't advice at all. It was her own unique example of unconditional, unlimited love from the moment of my conception."

Nick and Drew Lachey

"True to Your Heart" isn't just the title of the song the group 98 sings with Stevie Wonder in Disney's newest animated feature, Mulan, which premieres June 19.

Staying true to your heart is also the lesson 98 members Nick Lachey, 24, and his brother Drew, 21, learned from their mother, Cate Fopma-Leimbach, 45, longtime local arts supporter and former head of Citizens Against Drug Abuse.

The Lachey brothers grew up in College Hill, graduating from the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Last year, 98 -- the Lachey brothers, Cincinnatian Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons of Massillon -- released its self-titled Motown debut and the hit single, "Invisible Man."

"She taught us, "Seize your opportunities now. Decide what you really want to do, then just go for it and enjoy what you're doing'," Nick says.

"She always instilled in us that we could achieve anything we wanted to," agrees younger brother Drew, who also credits their stepmother, Iris Lachey, 47, of Northside. "We got a lot of that from our stepmother as well."

Dale Hodges

Actress Dale Hodges is appearing in After-Play through May 17 at Dayton's Human Race Theatre. She grew up in Surrey, England. "I think I learned by example, sometimes they're good examples, sometimes sad examples. My mother (Norah) bequeathed me a sense of humor, and I'm grateful for that. And I learned early to say "please' and "thank you.' But everyone in England gets taught that at a very early age, by everyone around them, aunts and uncles and grandparents.

"My mother taught me, not with words, to be a little bit of a rebel."

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Bob Graeter
Jason C. Lin
Kristin Titko
Robert Wright
Karen Hendricks
Sister Alice Gerdeman
Joe Nuxhall
Jerry Carroll
Alison Boynton
Ross Love
Megan McKnight
Aimee Hurst
Timothy Lees
Katie Brown Blackburn
Bishop Robert Muench
Nick and Drew Lachey
Dale Hodges
Alex Chin
Vicki Lewis
Sharon Kohn
Eduardo Perez

Enquirer reporters John Johnston, Sue MacDonald, Jim Knippenberg, Cresta Williams, Reon Carter, Owen Findsen, John Kiesewetter, Cindy Kranz, Larry Nager, Jackie Demaline, Chuck Martin, Reon Carter, Mark Curnutte, Maxine Berkman, Polly Campbell, Margaret A. McGurk and Scott MacGregor contributed to this report.

Local Headlines For Sunday, May 10, 1998

Thanks, Mom
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"I hold onto him being a hero'
10 years ago, 27 people died in a fiery crash
22 more people charged in second MU melee
Abortion tops GOP primary debate
After a lull, vaccines emerge to prevent children's diseases
Appalachian simplicity beckons
Apple crop looks like a big winner
Beechwood student threatens teacher
Cincinnati Public to decide on reforms
Clerk under suspicion calls it quits
Congressional hopefuls square off
Dems bicker over tactics
Inspectors seek backing after private prison denies access
Jammin' jumpin' with fans
Kenton developer wants bid suit moved
New construction, expansions give Old Montgomery new look
Pickup truck driver remains jailed
School buses are safer now, but drunks still pose threat
Schools staging building boom
Students intend to help, learn in Salvador
We may feel sting of El Nino personally