CINCINNATI -- Emotional tributes to former astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn poured in Thursday from all over the nation, but his loss was felt just as keenly within the rounded walls of the Montgomery Inn Boathouse in Cincinnati.
The Boathouse was among Glenn’s favorite restaurants in Cincinnati, according to Vickie Gregory, who said she remembers meeting the man hailed as an American hero when she was very young. Her father, who owned the restaurant before her, kept a signed, framed picture of Glenn near the hostess stand at the entrance.
"John Glenn was Americana. He was a true patriot," Gregory said.
John Glenn in a Montgomery Inn bib, Gregory said, was the ultimate Cincinnati image.
Glenn was accompanied on some of his restaurant visits by Brewster Rhoads, who headed his successful ’92 re-election bid to the United States Senate. Rhoads said Thursday that Glenn retained his humble Midwestern attitude throughout his entire life, despite his worldwide renown, and continued working to improve others’ lives for as long as he could.
“You’d think a guy who was one of the most famous people in the world would be all full of himself,” Rhoads said. “Not John Glenn. ”
As a senator, Glenn authored the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, which encouraged the United States to limit its dependence on nuclear power and to guide other nations on the same path, and advocated for his fellow veterans on a national level.
"He not only did something unique in world history, but he contributed to world peace in a very major and lasting way," Rhoads said.