In 1922, Leo Shuller’s father opened a small cafe that went on to become the well-known College Hill restaurant, Shuller’s Wigwam.
“I was trained as both a B17 pilot and B29 co-pilot in the Army Air Corps for two and a half years,” Leo says. World War II ended before Leo put his training to use, though he did stay in the Army Reserves for six months. “After the Army, I began studying business at the University of Cincinnati while also working at my father’s restaurant. Eventually, I decided I should be doing that full time. And that’s what I did until the Wigwam closed in 2000.”
“I was more of a manager,” chuckles Leo when asked if he spent time in the kitchen. Leo fondly recalls hosting Ronald Reagan as a lunch guest in the 1950s. He also employed Jean Shepherd, author and narrator of A Christmas Story as a WSAI disc jockey broadcasting from the restaurant. I remember Jean Shepherd coming to work in a ’52 MG TD convertible with a British cap and a scarf around his neck that blew in the wind with the top down in the middle of winter, laughed Leo. “That was Jean.”
After Shuller’s, Leo decided to try something new and started working with his son in the therapeutic shoe fitting business. “I learned how important it is to take care of your feet,” he says, having never had a joint replacement and staying as active as ever at 90 years of age. However, Helen, Leo’s wife of 66 years, did have an arthritis issue that caused several replacements -- and that dynamic motivated the couple to be active as volunteers with the Arthritis Foundation.
Leo and Helen joined the Pavilion in 2001. “I look forward to coming to the Pavilion as much as I hate it,” Leo says. "Helen liked to come with me so she could get a workout walking in the heated pool, which she enjoyed”. Even with being one of the oldest Pavilion members, Leo tries to make four visits to the Pavilion each week. His routine consists of swimming a half a mile one day, weight machines the next, and golfing as much as possible at the Bel-Wood Country Club. “Helen was always the golfer; I picked it up in my early 40s and it stuck,” says Leo.
Leo is committed to staying healthy and as sharp as always. He enjoys time with his family in Cincinnati, Oxford and Phoenix.