How will you affect the future when all that’s left is your past?

Bill Frantz retired from Sandridge Food Corp. in April, after 29 years with the company. He was a tax guy, he told me, until a meeting with one of his clients, Mark Sandridge and his father, ended with a job offer.

Frantz knew nothing of the packaged foods business and was anticipating a long career as a tax lawyer. But something changed his mind.

During our interview for this month’s cover story he told me, “I felt like it was a chance to make a difference. It was a chance to be a businessperson and make something happen, make something grow.”

Sandridge Foods certainly did grow, in employees, products, revenue and reach.

On the day of his retirement, Frantz considered what he hoped would be his legacy:
“I want people to look back and say Bill Frantz was a fair and honest guy. He didn’t always make the decisions I wanted him to make but he was fair and honest. And I’d also like them to say he was a pretty important person for our company to get us to where we are today.”

Parallel stories
In the same county, Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty made a similarly drastic change, switching from law to the nonprofit realm after a string of events inspired a new perspective.

“When I had my son I realized that life wasn’t about winning the next case or writing the next contract. It’s about my son. It’s about my family,” DePasquale-Hagerty said during our interview for this month’s feature.

But it wasn’t just the birth of her son that had an impact. Her brother was in a life-changing accident that affected his mobility and left him in chronic pain. A year later his son was diagnosed with autism.
Realizing how fast someone’s life could change and how difficult it can be, she joined the grass-roots parents’ organization Medina Creative Housing. She took the helm and the nonprofit has now become a model for independent living with support for those with disabilities.

“I knew that life could change in an instant,” she said. “And I understood you could be born with a disability that would present challenges for the rest of your life. So it was a group I felt very strongly about and wholeheartedly committed to serving.”

Not your narrative
Legacy can be manifest by a community as well as a business leader. Who’d have thought that when Myron Scott photographed six boys racing wooden cars down a hill 81 years ago it would become the All-American Soap Box Derby, the focus of this month’s Uniquely Akron/Canton? Akron’s civic leaders made a permanent home for the event that would draw tens of thousands to the city annually for decades to come.

While many remember Ronald Reagan for what he accomplished as our country’s president, I’ll always remember the photograph of him streaking down that hill during the celebrity oil can race wearing a propeller beanie hat.

Your legacy is shaped by what you leave behind. But how you’ll be remembered is ultimately a product of the person doing the remembering.