(Oct. 26, 1928-Aug. 25, 2015). Pauline Jontz Lennon (née Prather) was born on October 26, 1928, in Ohio. She spent her childhood in Indianapolis and graduated from Shortridge High School. Pauline then attended Indiana University, majoring in journalism and political science. After graduating in 1949, she took a job at the Indianapolis News as a copy editor. She married Leland D. Jontz in 1950. The couple had two children, James Prather Jontz and Mary Lee Turk (née Jontz).

In the early 1960s, she began working at The Children’s Museum as its public relations and development director. After 19 years, she moved on to become the executive director at Conner Prairie, a role she would serve from 1982 to 1996.

Her leadership helped transform Conner Prairie into a robust living history museum with national recognition. During her time there, the institution saw an increase in attendance, membership, and the number of artifacts owned. Pauline helped usher in a new visitor’s center, start Symphony on the Prairie, restore the William Conner Estate and Golden Eagle Inn, and introduce the Hearthside Suppers program.

After she left Conner Prairie, she became the director for Seminar for Historical Administration at Colonial Williamsburg. Here she solidified herself as a mentor in museum management. It was also during this time that her husband passed away. She married again in 1998 to Paul A. Lennon.  

She returned to Indianapolis in 2001 and served as an interim leader for several organizations including the Indiana Historical Society (2001), the Indiana University Center on Philanthropy—now the Indiana University Lilly Family School Of Philanthropy—(2001-2002), and Seminary Advancement for the Christian Theological Seminary (2004-2005). In addition, she served on many boards such as the Rotary Club of Indianapolis, the President Benjamin Harrison Foundation, and of course, the Conner Prairie William Conner Society.

Pauline Jontz Lennon was presented with many awards for her achievements over her lifetime. Among these was the Sagamore of the Wabash, which she was awarded twice (1988 and 1995). She also received two Distinguished Alumni awards from Indiana University (1985 and 1999).

Revised February 2021

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