2016 Alumni Winners

Merrill Clouse

Merrill ClouseMerrill Clouse, fondly known as "Mr. Hope", is a 1939 graduate of Hope High School and a WWII veteran who served from 1942-1946. He was instrumental in the formation of the Hope Volunteer Fire Department in 1947 and served as its Chief for 26 years.
He and his wife Norma owned and operated Clouse's Regal Store and Clouse's IGA/Frozen Food store in Hope for many years and held membership in the Hope American Legion, Masonic Lodge, Lions Club, Kiwanis and Bartholomew County Historical Society.
He served as founding president of Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corporation in 1957 and the first president of Hope Heritage Days celebration, later being selected as Grand Marshal in 1987.
He was one of three founders of the Yellow Trail Museum in 1975 and was fundraising chairman for the renovation and relocation of the Simmons School to the new Hope Elementary campus in 1988. He and Norma have been major donors to the Hawcreek-Flat Rock Area Endowment since it was organized in 2002.
With Tom Hoover and Robert F. Herron, he worked to design and construct the Veterans Memorial located at the Hope Moravian Cemetery.
He was named a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1980 and in 1987 by Indiana Governors Otis Bowen and Robert Orr, and will serve as an Indiana Bicentennial Torch Bearer in September, 2016.
He was married 74 years to wife Norman (Gilliland) Clouse until her death in April, 2016, and has three children - Lori Wells, Kathie Clouse and David Clouse.

Norma (Gilliland) Clouse

Norma (Gilliland) ClouseNorma (Gilliland) Clouse was a 1939 graduate of Hope High School along with her future husband, Merrill, whom she married at the outset of WWII on January 17, 1942. Their partnership was to last 74 years until her passing in April, 2016 at the age of 94.
She co-owned Clouse's Food Center beginning in 1961, was one of the first members of the Hope Merchants Association and was later inducted into the Indiana Meat Packers & Processors Hall of Fame along with her husband.
She was a member of the planning team for the Hope Fireman's Festival and helped organize the first Heritage Days in 1967. She held membership in the Hope American Legion Auxiliary, Lions Club, Kappa Kappa Sigma sorority, Kill Kare Klub, Eastern Star (50 years) and Bartholomew County Historical Society.
She was also one of the first donors to the Simmons One-Room School project in 1988, and was among a trio of individuals who established the Yellow Trail Museum in 1975.
She was a longtime member of the Hope Moravian Church and active in Ladies Society and Kola Sunday School class.
The team of Norma and Merrill exemplify the best of community leadership. Their decades of dedication as business owners and to a variety of local projects have made their hometown a truly special place.