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Stow-Kent History

The Summa Health Stow-Kent Medical Center is proud to honor the Farris, McNeil and Riddle families, the first Black families to purchase property in the city of Stow.

  • Dr. Melvin and Leona Farris
    Family Physician and Assistant Professor at The University of Akron
  • Dr. Noah and Norma McNeil
    Dentist and Registered Nurse
  • Dr. B N and Winifred Riddle
    Obstetrics/Gynecology Physician and Registered Nurse
Despite previous unsuccessful attempts by the Farris family, the three families together purchased 30 acres of land in 1954. Each family, comprised of medical providers, purchased two acres on Fishcreek Road where they built homes and raised families. The remaining 24 acres were owned by their newly created Winona Hills Corporation. This property is the same site where the Summa Health Stow-Kent Medical Center stands today and continues to provide medical care to the community.
Summa Health recognizes the Farris, McNeil and Riddle families for their momentous achievements in the field of medicine and education, courageous efforts to expand racial understanding, and commitment to engage others in practicing equality. The remarkable legacy of these three families will continue to inform and inspire the Stow-Kent community for generations to come.
To learn more about the history of the Farris, McNeil and Riddle families, visit the Akron Beacon Journal archives:

Learn more about the Farris, McNeil and Riddle Families through the Akron Beacon Journal Archives.

NAACP Luncheon to Honor Fathers
Dr. Farris Honored
Kranker King Otho Wrap Unveiled
AKAK’s Celebrate Scholarships
Schumaacher Academy Students Learn about WWII Paratrooper Heroes
Frontiers Install Officers
Dr. Riddle Honored
Pictorial Review of Black Applause
Akron Frontiers Install Officers
Local Physician Succumbs
Leona Farris Celebrates 90th Birthday
Educator Leona Farris, a Black pioneer in Stow, dies at 104


In Memory of Leona Farris.

Mrs. Leona Farris and her husband, Dr. Melvin Farris, were among the first African Americans to live in Stow, OH. Mrs. Farris was an assistant professor at The University of Akron, while Dr. Farris served as a family physician. In 1954, the couple purchased the site where the Summa Health Stow-Kent Medical Center stands today. Summa Health had the privilege of honoring Mrs. Farris for her family’s legacy at the Stow-Kent Open House on June 26, 2021. Mrs. Leona Farris recently passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 104. 




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