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Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.
1919 – 2017
Growing up in Moran, Ohio, Bobbie Sterne learned of community service almost as soon as she took her first steps. Her parents-Eva and Vernon Lynn-owned the general store in town, which served as an informal town hall.
Mrs. Sterne quietly carried her family’s torch for compassion into the council chambers of Cincinnati City Hall, where it burned brightly for 25 years.
A former Army nurse, Mrs. Sterne was asked to run for City Council in 1969 but was defeated. Two years later, she returned to the ballot with a better organization behind her – and won.
She served on Cincinnati City Council from December 1971 to November 1985, and from December 1987 to July 1998.
In 1976, she became the first woman elected mayor of Cincinnati and served a second term as mayor in 1979.
Among the numerous honors she received: Council of Jewish Women Hannah G. Solomon Award; the Citizen’s Committee on Youth’s Most Valuable Citizen Award; Ohio Women of the Year; Enquirer Woman of the Year; and the YWCA’s Career Women of Achievement.
At 80, Mrs. Sterne was still active on numerous boards, including the Charter Committee and the Fountain Square Restoration Fund Committee.
“My mother always used to say, ‘You have no right to ask people to do something you’re not willing to do yourself,’” Mrs. Sterne recalls. “In my family, you were brought up to leave the world a better place than you found it.”
Bobbie Sterne died November 22, 2017 in Santa Cruz, California at age 97.
Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization