Sebo serving as Memorial Day speaker

The Salem Memorial Day service will beheld at 11 a.m. May 27 at Grandview Cemetery with Bob Sebo as speaker of the day.

Salem’s 149th Memorial Day activities, sponsored by the Salem Memorial and Patriotic Association, will start with a free breakfast at 8 a.m. at the Memorial Building at 785 E. State St. for all veterans participating in the parade, hosted by the association.

A citywide memorial service follows at 9 a.m. on the Village Green on the southeast corner of Lincoln and State Street.

The lineup for the Memorial Day Parade forms at 9:30 a.m. on South Broadway Avenue. The parade steps out at 10 a.m. and proceeds from Broadway to State Street, Ohio, Franklin Avenue, to Grandview Cemetery for a formal ceremony to be conducted at 11 a.m. with Sebo serving as speaker.

When one hears the name of Bob Sebo, many descriptions come to mind – successful businessman, philanthropist, community activist, supporter, and goodwill ambassador.

Born in Salem, Sebo attended kindergarten at the Salem Memorial Building and then attended the Salem Public School System where he was a enthusiastic student. While attending Salem High School in the early 1950’s, Sebo was also a versatile student-athlete who participated in football (three letters), track (three letters), and junior varsity basketball. He also participated in the SHS Concert Band for four years and was active in student council throughout high school and was president of his junior class.

After graduating from high school, Sebo attended Bowling Green State University, graduating in 1958. While attending BGSU, he was active in Kappa Sigma Fraternity, BGSU Concert Band, Marketing Club, and Army ROTC. After graduating from BGSU, Sebo proudly served his country in the United States Army where he was commissioned a second lieutenant. He served as an officer for the 101st Airborne Division and later became the commander of a NIKE Air Defense Unit located at the U.S. border. After serving his country for six years (two years active duty, four years reserve), Sebo was given an honorable discharge from the military where he would then embark upon his marketing and entrepreneurial skills.

After separation from the military, Sebo was interviewed and hired by Cadillac Motor Division of General Motors where he was employed as a distribution manager. While gaining more managerial experience, Sebo was later promoted to business management manager and then to a district sales manager position.

However, after 14 years of working for General Motors, Sebo had a dream of starting his own company and established a business and computer arrangement with a friend and began a payroll company in Cleveland with one employee. Starting in 1971 and continuing through 2006, Sebo was instrumental in startup and growth of what is now known as Paychex Corporation, a nationally recognized organization that finds itself listed as one of the Fortune 100 top companies for which to work.

Today, Paychex has 8,000 employees and does over $1 billion of business in over 70 cities in almost every state. In 1979, Paychex consolidated a number of individual Paychex companies and formed a national privately held corporation and Paychex became a public held company in 1983. Sebo was the vice president of operations who consolidated, standardized and organized all branch operations for the company. (He was also responsible for policies, procedures, recruiting and training.)

Sebo retired as Paychex senior vice president in December 1994 and he retired as a member of the Paychex board of directors in October 2006.

It was during this same period that Sebo’s passion for the Salem community, schools, and different charities became evident. Although many different types of groups benefit from his generosity, Salem athletic programs, both school and community-based, hold a special place in his heart. For example, Sebo was a “Gold Sponsor” in the fundraising effort to build the Salem Community Center. The main gym is named after his father John (John Sebo Gymnasium).

Whether supporting Salem’s schools, community center, different events in and around our community, lending his business experience through entrepreneurial support of local merchants, funding scholarships for deserving students, lighting up the town at Christmas, or helping individuals out of the goodness of his heart, Sebo has been a catalyst for the motto “giving back to your community.” This is particularly evident when it comes to Salem athletics. Through his unselfish contributions, he has benefited the youth and future of Salem.

Sebo and his wife Linda enjoy spending time with their family and friends as well as attending local sporting, cultural events and promoting entrepreneurial activities. They enjoy traveling and more importantly, spending time here in our community. Bob has two daughters, Julie Sebo Schmelzle and Christine Sebo Parisi; two stepchildren, Courtney Hydrick and Parker Hydrick; and five grandchildren.

He is a member of the Salem Golf Club, Salem Elks Lodge, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Salem Saxon Club, Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., Naples National Golf Club in Naples, Fla.; Bowling Green State University Alumni Association President’s Club, Bowling Green State University’s Board of Trustees past chairman, Kappa Sigma Fraternity President’s Club, Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Rochester, N.Y.

Sebo sponsors the following scholarships: Salem Alumni Association, J. Robert Sebo Achievement Scholarship, J. Robert Sebo BGSU Scholarship, J. Robert Sebo College Scholarship, Bowling Green State University, J. Robert Sebo Jazz Studies Scholarship, J. Robert Sebo Football Scholarship.

His awards include: Kappa Sigma Fraternity Elmer Brown Wall of Fame 2002, Salvation Army The Spirit of Service to Others Award 2003, BG Doyt Perry Award – 2004, GMAC Champion of Life – 2004, Salem Citizen of the Year 2004, Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship 2004, Kappa Sigma Fraternity John G. Tower Distinguished Alumni Award – 2005, Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame 2005, BG Entrepreneurial Hall of Fame 2008, The Salem Story Book Museum Annual Person of the Year 2009, Outstanding Philanthropist (Tri-County) 2011 and Salem High School Athletic Hall of Fame 2012.

This year’s awards include Bowling Green University Army ROTC Hall of Fame held on April 26, and an honorary doctorate degree in business administration at Bowling Green University awarded May 3.

– Submitted material