The famed musician Bono once said, “Music can change the world because it can change people.” I wonder if that’s what Barbara Bailey and Sonia Ewald had in mind when they decided to invest in the Tipp City Foundation back in 2014. That is when they began an endowment to aid with music, literature, and creative arts for the Bethel Local Schools. The guiding idea for the fund was to give back in a way that will last for generations. 

It was created in memory of their parents, Emmert and Jane Studebaker, long-time residents of Bethel Township. If you’ve lived in the area anytime during the last 75 years, you most likely have already heard their names.  Founders of Process Equipment Company in 1947, they were active in the community throughout their lives.  Emmert learned blacksmithing after retiring as Chairman from PECO and was one of the founders of Southern Ohio Forge and Anvil. While blacksmithing was a joy close to Emmert’s heart, after retiring as the CFO, Jane chose a different art form to master. She learned 2-harness loom weaving and gave many rugs to family and friends throughout the years. Both were involved in the upkeep of the log homestead they built, the Studebaker Historical Village, and played host to many civic groups and reunions. The couple also happen to be the grandparents of Heather Bailey, who sits on the Tipp City Foundation board.

While they were very active in many causes in the community, Jane and Emmert had a special interest–music. The couple had an appreciation of musical excellence and both Jane and Emmert played the flute. Jane was also the church organist for years at the West Charleston Church of the Brethren. Sunday evenings would sometimes find Jane and Emmert playing harmony together, with Jane on her organ accompanying Emmert on his flute. They played well into their golden years and derived much pleasure from making sweet melodies. 

It was while reading the foundation’s annual report that Barbara and Sonia realized they could honor Jane and Emmert’s love for music by starting an endowment to support arts in Bethel Schools. “It seemed such a natural fit since generations of our family have attended Bethel Schools over the last 150+ years,” commented Sonia. She added, “It seemed appropriate to give back to the school that has given so much to the Studebaker family.” 

With this, the Bethel Arts Fund was born. The fund can receive donations from anyone who wants to help support arts in Bethel Local Schools.  “It is one of several funds the whole community can support to benefit the school. The Bethel Arts Fund adds to the possibility that Bethel Students will have joyful experiences with literature, creative arts, theatre and music,” states Ewald. 

So the next time you’re zooming through Bethel Township….just think of Emmert and Jane and how their love of music still lives on today through the Tipp City Foundation and the community they loved. And, if you listen closely, you might just hear some sweet melodies that will bring a smile to your face and a two-step to your feet. After all, music can change the world!

Click Here to Support the Bethel Arts Fund

Thanks to Tipp City Foundation board member Bruce McKenzie for crafting this tribute!

The Tipp City Foundation is a member fund of The Troy Foundation. You can make a difference with your dollars in our community by:

  • Donating online here.
  • Making your check payable to the Tipp City Foundation and mail to P.O. Box 626, Tipp City, OH 45371.
  • Setting up a fund or legacy plan by contacting Heather Bailey at (937) 528-2482.

We’d love to stay in touch. Stay connected with the Tipp City Foundation by:

All marketing activities of the Foundation is 100% underwritten by generous sponsors. Please contact us at for information on how your business or organization can become our partner in philanthropy. 

  • Silver Sponsor – Thrivent Financial (Matt Buehrer)
  • Bronze Sponsors – Advanced Machinery Companies; Dunaway Family Foundation; Dungan & LeFevre; Ever-Green Turf & Landscape; Gibson Law Offices; Monroe Federal Savings and Loan; New Carlisle Federal Savings Bank; Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling; Unity National Bank
  • Friend Sponsors – Captor Corp.; Edward Jones (Neil Nehring); Frings & Bayliff Funeral Home; Minster Bank; RSM US; Turnstone Financial; US Bank
  • Media Sponsor – Tippecanoe Gazette

Use the links below to share the TIPPing Point with friends and neighbors. Not a subscriber? Sign up here! If there is something you would like to see in future installments, please email Your input is welcome and appreciated!