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Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

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.

Lorrence T. Kellar

Awarded In 2016

Lorrence T. Kellar had a 31-year career with The Kroger Co., but he’s equally, or perhaps, better known as a great patron of Cincinnati arts. Mr. Kellar and wife, Barbara, have supported the Cincinnati Ballet for over 40 years, playing an instrumental role in the Ballet’s 50th Anniversary endowment campaign. Their three-plus decades of support for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra have helped grow corporate sponsorship and they have supported Cincinnati public television for nearly 50 years.

In the early 1980s, Mr. Kellar helped bring the Cincinnati Ballet from near bankruptcy to financial stability through creative marketing and a unique collaboration with New Orleans. At the time, Mr. Kellar told Cincinnati Magazine, “We perform in Cincinnati about seven weeks in a season, and we tour about eight weeks. When you tour…the other cities are gaining quite a bargain because they’re buying tickets – but no one there has to contribute anything to keep the ballet going. So, it always occurred to me that there must be some way to make our company part of that other city – and raise contributed income there, too.” For several years, the company performed in Louisiana as the New Orleans Ballet and toured as the Cincinnati-New Orleans Ballet.

In 2014, the Kellars gave $500,000 to endow the Barbara & Larry Kellar Prima Ballerina Fund to support the Cincinnati ballet’s top female dancer. Their daughter, Ainsley, danced with Cincinnati Ballet and granddaughter, Ava, is an Otto M. Budig Academy student who danced the role of Clara in the 2013 production of “The Nutcracker.”

Larry was a Director, Chairman of Finance Committee and Member of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee for another longtime supporter of the Cincinnati Ballet, Frisch’s Restaurants. He was Vice President of Continental Properties Company, Inc., a retail and residential developer, from 2002 until his retirement in 2009. Prior to that, he was Vice President – Real Estate of Kmart Corporation from 1996 to 2002. He held various positions in finance, capital management, audit, accounting, and real estate at The Kroger Co. from 1965 until 1996, including Group Vice President – Finance and Real Estate. He also held positions in finance, accounting and tax at 3-M Co. from 1962-1965.

He was a director and a member of the Audit, Governance and Compensation Committees of Multi-Color Corporation. He is a director and a member of the Audit, Governance and Compensation Committees of Spar Group, Inc. and a Trustee and member of the Audit and Compensation Committees of Acadia Realty Trust.

Larry served also as the Chairman and Trustee of Hamilton County Library Foundation; Chairman and member of the Urban Design Review Board; Chairman and Trustee of the City of Cincinnati Retirement System; Chairman and Trustee of the Central Community Health Board; and President of the Queen City Association. He’s left an indelible mark on many other civic and charitable organizations, including the Cincinnati Opera, Riverfront Advisory Council, Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati, Public Media Connect, and the United Way Social Planning Council.

The University of Cincinnati has benefited from the Kellars’ support of various individual colleges, athletics, medical research, service as Foundation Trustees, Founders of the McMicken Tower Society, and members of the George Smith Society. The Kellars have also led multiple fundraising efforts on behalf of Cincinnati Country Day School (CCDS) and were honored as Philanthropists of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2014.

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

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