Franklin Woman to Be Honored as Venango Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year

| January 11, 2018

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) — A Franklin woman who has left her mark in Venango County and beyond has been named the county’s Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year.

Urania Belle Linn, better known as “Rainy” will be honored at the chamber’s annual awards banquet on February 21 at Cross Creek Resort.

Linn, originally from Washington, Pa., has been active in Venango County for more than half a century.

The Venango County Fair Board, as well as others she has worked with, nominated her for the honor.

She, along with her co-worker Bill Lazar, worked to start the county 4-H Fair.

Tabitha Shaw, the current secretary for the Fair Board, wrote on behalf of it in nominating Linn.

“Ms. Linn currently sits on the Fair Board as our treasurer but has held several titles and positions with the fair over the last 61 years. She is credited as one of the original founders of the Venango County 4-H Fair, back in 1959, and still is a huge part of the work at the fairgrounds as well as friend and ‘Grandmother’ type to many.”

“Rainy has touched the lives of hundreds of children, teens, and families over the years by her dedication and mentoring their development.”

“Rainy’s passion for helping others goes far beyond the 4-H (as she served as a 4-H leader for many years too), but also as she plays a huge role with the Franklin Historical Society and has volunteered for several different community events such as baking pies every year for the Franklin AppleFest,” Shaw wrote. “In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, Rainy’s work can be found with teaching Home Economics to everyone from youth to the elderly, with topics such as “canning, cleaning, and sewing. These life skills are true staples that have helped other people support and build their lives, and most of whom can attribute learning them from her!”

Megan Nye, who worked with Linn while she was a secretary on the Fair Board, also wrote glowingly of her mentor.

“Have you ever wondered who in our seemingly small community exemplifies extraordinary qualities? Who has gone out of their way to make sure the community at large (especially the agriculture and textile) and the history of the area is preserved?”

“I know of one such person, Ms. Rainy Linn, as do most in Venango County and the surrounding areas (especially those who have participated in the Venango County Fair, since its inception),” Nye wrote.

“Ms. Rainy Linn stands out above the rest, with a kind heart, a keen year, a love of teaching and sharing the knowledge she has acquired over her many years. I find myself very lucky to have known Ms. Rainy Linn at different stages of my life, as a young child, a teenager, and again as an adult. I cannot list all of the qualities that make her a perfect candidate, but I will share with you a few of my favorite.”

“Ms. Rainy Linn loves to teach, loves sharing her knowledge with children of all ages. The wealth of information she has is outstanding. She moved away from her family and everything she had known to come to Venango County and work for the Extension Office. She did far more than move, she helped create a family, a community, here in Venango County with the Venango County Fair and the Historical Society.”

“Every person who has come to know her throughout the years looks forward to seeing her smile and her genuine curiosity of their well-being.”

Linn worked for many years in the county Extension Office as its Director.

Her work there earned many accolades as well.

In 1968, she received a Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Extension Home Economists. She was credited with developing an “outstanding” 4-H program in the county and also helped to develop and coordinate the SPARKS program on community beautification in the northwest counties that received national recognition.

Linn, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from Juniata College, worked with 4-H programs in Armstrong and Jefferson counties in the summer of 1955.

In 1956, she was appointed to the Cooperative Extension Service staff of Penn State University.

Linn is also a past Secretary of Pa. Association of Extension Home Economists.

The Citizen of the Year award will be presented at the chamber’s annual awards banquet set for February 21 at Cross Creek Resort.

Reservations may be made by contacting the chamber office at 814-676-8521 or online at

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