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Trees, plaques dedicated to Sept. 11 victims

May 13, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Eerily, thunder, lightning and a sudden downpour struck Sunday afternoon just as a Hagerstown fraternal organization was dedicating a tree at the Jonathan Hager House and Museum at City Park in memory of the victims and families of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

About two dozen members of the International Order of Odd Fellows Potomac Lodge 31 and Gilead Encampment 6 of Hagerstown, their families and visitors scurried for cover as the rains came.

But the storm failed to dampen the enthusiasm and devotion of the organization, which also Sunday dedicated a dogwood tree and plaque to the late Robert W. Shumaker, past noble grand and chief patriarch of the Hagerstown Odd Fellows.

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"My brother has been dead about five years now," said Donald L. Shumaker, district deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Maryland. "I suspect my brother never missed a meeting."

Current club member Page Pyne spoke briefly about Robert Shumaker and said he actively recruited new members to the Odd Fellows during his tenure with the group.

Robert Shumaker, a Boonsboro resident, was an active club member from 1991 until his death in 1997. He held two top positions in 1992 and 1993 in the local organization.

Honoring Shumaker with a tree was first proposed last fall. Then when the Sept. 11 attacks occurred, club members decided to plant two trees and erect two plaques.

Both were accomplished last fall but the dedication ceremony was purposely put off until spring.

The Odd Fellows chose the site of the original home of Jonathan Hager, who founded Hagerstown in 1762, for their memorials.

The first American chapter of the Odd Fellows was established in Baltimore in 1819. The organization raises millions for the benefit of orphans, children and young people.

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