Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Uncle Paul's Stories Part 3

Thank you Paul for the stories (seen in blue) and thank you Tena for the scan of the article.



In about 1955, after using worn-out bicycles for her transportation, at seventy-five years of age, my mother visited the Montgomery Ward store at Beaver Falls to look at new bicycles. The salesperson asked if she was looking for a new bicycle for her granddaughter and Mother said, "No, for me." The manager of the store was alerted and he confirmed the story. Sensing the opportunity for a little public relations, he called the News-Tribune and presented her with the bicycle of her choice. The newspaper carried the feature article on page 1 with a picture of her riding it. The Montgomery Ward employee publication also featured the "Biking Grandma".


Click image below to see the enlarged article
Cycling Grandmother Bundle of Energy
By Patty Sposato
The National Council on Physical Fitness would regard her an exemplary model for its program. At 75, she pedals a bike about the city daily, doing errands. Because Americans are an automobile conscious lot. Ruth Turnbull provokes numerous stares as she cycles down the avenues. Her agility amazes spectators and leaves them wondering what kind of a woman dares be such a nonconformist. Mrs. David Turnbull , of 812 Seventh St., Beaver Falls, is the kind of woman who reared 11 children, all of them college educated. She's the kind of woman who had a minister father, minister father-in-law. and minister husband, and who has three Presbyterian minister sons and one Episcopalian rector son. An advocate of peace, she belongs to the National Council Against Conscription. the Workers Defense league, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. A member of the College Hill United Presbyterian Church, she also belongs to the Association of University Women and the W.C.T.U. Mrs. Turnbull is a supporter of hosteling-travel primarily by bicycle and on foot along scenic trails and byways and to places of historical and cultural interest in America or abroad.

Among her hobbies are collecting agates, Indian arrowheads, coins stamps and postmarks, making rugs, and reading. Bike became a household word for Ruth Turnbull when she was eight years old. She learned to ride in the basement of her parents' flats in Chicago. Her father and mother were cyclists, too. Mrs. Turnbull cycled through school, then put her bike aside temporarily. She renewed her cycling during World War II when the bike she had bought for her youngest daughter to ride to school was not used much because it was not in vogue. That same bike stood her in good stead until last week when she decided it was time to buy a new one. Montgomery-Ward Co. was so impressed with her dexterity, it gave her a new English model. Site remembers owning one that never had to have air added after the original pumping, nor having any trouble with it until it was punctured. Mrs. Turnbull parks the bike along the curb in front of her home. She never uses the kick stand.

The nimble woman finds It easier to cycle than to walk, explaining that she can always rest herself against the bike. She has five walking canes, one cut in 1882 on her grandfather's farm in Scotland. People are more attentive to a woman wielding a cane than one on a bike, she says. And the fancier the cane the more attention it gets and the less paid the person. Mrs. Turnbull has had her share of spills. A recent one scratched both lens of her eyeglasses and left her lame enough to be questioned by a friend at a meeting as to what happened. She sidestepped the question. Though she enjoys hosteling, she hasn't made many trips lately. She can't interest anyone in joining her, although a five-year-old grandson recently suggested an outing on a bicycle built for two. She's counting on him as a potential companion! A native of Stanwood, Ia., Mrs. Turnbull grew up in Omaha, Neb., married in 1907, and came to Beaver Falls in 1936. Her husband died in 1932 in Elizabeth, Pa. One short of a dozen, her children are: William, chaplain of a Presbyterian Homes in Ohio; David, an engineer who recently returned from an assignment in Viet Nam; Frank, a minister in the mountains of Alpine, Tenn ; Mrs. Richard (Mary) Menlger , wife of a judge who also teaches at Oregon State ; Mrs. Albert P. (Jean ) Walton, Patterson Heights whose husband is assistant football coach at Beaver Falls Area High School; Thomas, an Episcopalian rector in Napa, Calif; Robert, in charge of agriculture in Egypt under auspices of the Presbyterian board; Mrs. Dell (Sara) Whelan, Mondovie, Wisc., wife of a farmer; Miss Ruth Turnbull, a former teacher, who resides with her mother; and twins Paul, a postmaster in Bushton,. Kansas and John councelor in Chicago schools.

The children range in age from 34 to 54. An uncle who had an unfulfilled desire to become a minister gave Mrs. Turnbull's oldest son financial backing to study for the ministry. He suggested William pay back the money to his mother to be used for the education of the next oldest child. In this manner each child was able to be college educated with some help on his own part too. Mrs. Turnbull herself is a 1908 graduate of Monmouth College. the alma mater of her parents, in-laws, and aunts and uncles. She studied Greek for five years and had aspirations of becoming a librarian, but instead married. Colleges having awarded degrees to Turnbull children include Princeton, Penn State, University of Washington, Geneva, University of Wisconsin, Sterling, University of Southern Illinois, and Westminster. There are now 40 grandchildren whose pictures are being added to Mrs. Turnbull's family album. And all those of age are also being college educated. That's the story of Beaver Falls' 75 - year - old cycling grandmother.

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