The first in a continuing search for Loveland’s kindest, sweetest people and what they’re made of. What is our DNA match?
Loveland, Ohio – Every city is known for something. Some cities are known for their restaurants, some are known for their national parks and trails and some are known for their shopping. The city of Loveland, of course, does not fall short when it comes to having some of the best restaurants, parks, trails, and shopping, but where Loveland really leaves its mark is through its people. So just what’s in Loveland’s DNA?
The area of Loveland was first settled in 1795 by Colonial Thomas Paxton and was later incorporated as a chartered city in 1961. History runs deep within Loveland’s roots giving the city a very long line of DNA. Many Loveland residents have not only lived in the “sweetheart” city for years but have also created a long line of DNA themselves within the city with their children now building a life in Loveland too. One could say that families build long lines of DNA in places across the United States all the time, so why is it unique that it happens in Loveland too? To that, I would say yes families do this all the time, but what is unique about families doing this in Loveland is that these same families dedicate their lives to making Loveland the absolute best place to live, work and go to school. That just doesn’t happen in every place.
Carolyn Bingaman has been a part of Loveland’s DNA since the age of 19 years old when she and her husband moved to Loveland. Fred “Allen”, an Air Force veteran, died in 2010. He and Carolyn were married for 53-years and Allen’s obituary said his motto was, “Try every day to be a blessing to someone”.
“We bought a house up in one of the only subdivisions in Loveland. We were going to move to Milford, but they didn’t have any openings in any subdivisions, so we came to Loveland. At first, I was thinking oh gosh Loveland…but then I fell in love. There has been a lot of changes since then. We have lived in the same house for 53 years,” Bingaman said.
Shortly after moving to Loveland, Bingaman began not only building a DNA strand of her own with her husband and 5 children but also began leaving her mark on the community through sports.
“Loveland had a great women’s and children’s softball teams. My husband and I played every Thursday night and I also had a women’s team that I coached,” Bingaman said, “We had so much fun! We played where the bus garage is now, at the Loveland Elementary School. There were bleachers there and lights and a concession stand,” Bingaman added.
To Loveland residents who know Carolyn, she could be described as very kind and modest about all the good she does for Loveland’s community, but what many don’t know is that she is also a strong advocate for women’s rights. What inspired Carolyn to fight for equal rights? Well, it all began on a Thursday night right before her women’s softball team was about to play a game.
“I was told by the men (Dave Hirsh and Roger Muething) in charge of the softball fields that I needed to be self-reliant and that I needed to stop asking them to get me bats and other supplies for the softball games. So, one night we had a game and we didn’t have a home plate. I knew there were some plates in the cupboard in the front building so I went up and borrowed a home plate with prongs on it. I went back and pounded it into the ground and started the game. Later, I saw people up by the building running around and yelling wondering where something was and one of the men came up and said, ‘Is that my home plate?’ I said ‘Yup!’ From then on, we always had our equipment and never had to go find our own,” Bingaman said.
Carolyn was very motivated starting at a young age. She knew most women during the ’60s and ’70s were expected to stay at home, take care of the children and make dinner for their husbands, but that just wasn’t what she saw for herself.
“I was not the best at math in school, but I did get A’s and B’s. When my husband and I came here I got a job with the Browns who at the time owned half of Loveland. Bob Lonagrover was their accountant,” Bingaman explained, “I began working at their supermarket. I worked the registers counting money and making deposits. Bob was instrumental in saying you must learn how to type, and Barkley Gest said why don’t you learn how to do something else so you can advance your skills. I took their advice and I just kept growing and growing my skills and eventually, I got the opportunity to work at Totes on Kemper Road. Totes was famous all over the country for their “stretch-on” footwear. I worked in the accounting department and ended up becoming the secretary to the vice-president of manufacturing,” Bingaman said.
Bingaman working her way up in a “man’s world” was something that inspired women all over Loveland. Unfortunately, after working for Tote’s for 9 and a half years, Carolyn made the decision to leave the company.
“I filed an EEOC suit in 1974 against Tote’s because they wouldn’t let me have a job I deserved. Paul Hackmen had lost his sight and had to retire. I did his job and mine for 4 or 5 months, but then they wouldn’t give it to me formally,” Bingaman explained, “Tote’s ended up hiring a man to take Paul’s place and wanted me to train him for the position I had been doing. I asked if they were going to give me the title. I didn’t even care about the money. I told them I would be quitting if they didn’t give me the job title because I worked hard for it and deserved it. There were a lot of women that worked there that did a lot of work and didn’t get credit for it,” Bingaman stated, “I ended up winning with the EOC and the right to sue, but I had to find another person for class action. My lawyer wanted to get another woman to speak out against Tote’s so that we could get more money, but I told him he would never get another lady to speak out against Tote’s because they would be gone in a second as I was,” Bingaman said.
I asked Carolyn if Totes didn’t give her the job title because she was a woman and she answered without hesitation, “Yes, that was why.” Carolyn now has a law in the books named after her.
After Carolyn gained the knowledge and confidence she needed to be successful in the business world she decided to open her own accounting firm called “Accounting Plus,” which has now been open for over 40 years. Carolyn believes that her biggest impact on Loveland has come through her business.
“People know if they have a question they know they can come here (Accounting Plus) and ask a question and I won’t charge them for just a question that I have an answer for. I have the same clients that I had 40 years ago. They wouldn’t dare leave me because I care so much for them that I would go get them,” Bingaman said.
Carolyn says that ever since she came to Loveland she has been in love with it. She loves the people more than anything and whether she knows it or not the people love her too. Pat Furterer, a longtime friend of Carolyn’s, couldn’t say enough about Carolyn and her impact on the Loveland community.
“Carolyn is a very unassuming, kind, gracious and generous donor to many organizations in Loveland. She has supported the Loveland Stage Company for years,” Pat Furterer said, “She supports the Loveland Historical Society as well. I feel she would make a great Valentine Lady representing the city!”
Loveland Magazine’s very own David Miller also had a few things to say on the impact Carolyn has had on him and the community.
“I used to work with Carolyn at Totes before and after I went to Vietnam. She, before, during and after treated me like she was my slightly, older sister taking care of me. She does an awful lot for Loveland and is very modest about it. She is very kind,” Miller said. “Not many, outside of my own family really cared that I was in Vietnam, but Carolyn did, and she worried about my safety. Hers was a deep personal concern for all who were serving during the war, and when I got home she wasn’t one to shy away from asking me about my experience. She wasn’t afraid to hear my answers.”
Carolyn is also responsible for the beautiful scenery Loveland residents and visitors enjoy during the spring and summer, “I love the flowers! I have planted flowers for I don’t know how many years in Loveland. Many women help,” Bingaman said.
Although Carolyn Bingaman is very humble there is not a question in anyone’s mind in the Loveland community that she is a huge part of, and matches Loveland’s DNA.
If you think you know someone in the community that has made a huge impact on Loveland and would be a great candidate for our Loveland’s DNA segment feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.