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Drewry Harpold had much devotion for family

October 23, 2005|By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Two of the pictures on display at Drewry Elizabeth Harpold's viewing showed her posing next to her husband - first in 1929 and again in 1999. What couldn't be conveyed was how close they remained to each other during the 70 years between the two snapshots.

"At the end of their 71 years of marriage, they continued to act like teenagers in love," said their son, the Rev. John A. Harpold. "I have actually used them as examples in my pre-marriage classes when I talk about keeping love alive."

Drewry Harpold died Oct. 14 at the age of 92.

Drewry was the "perfect preacher's wife," according to another son, George M. Harpold, who also is a minister. "She was always a part of dad's life."

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Dad was the Rev. William C. Harpold, who died in 2000 at the age of 98. Remaining active in the pulpit until he was 95, he served churches in Maryland and nearby West Virginia.

Bill and Drewry met in 1928 in a movie theater in Washington, D.C., where he was a U.S. Marine moonlighting as an usher. In his autobiography, Bill said he looked at her face and knew immediately she was the girl he would marry.

In July 1929, Drewry - then just 16 - and her 27-year-old bridegroom began their journey together. Eight children were born to the couple.

"I knew her the longest," said Juanita M. Cutler, the oldest child. "All through her life, she kept her old friends and made new ones at each church."

Drewry's love of people and for people was a leading characteristic when the people who knew and loved her shared their memories of her recently.

"She never used her ATM card because she always said she wanted to interact with the people at the bank," Juanita said of her mother. "Everyone knew her for that reason."

Granddaughter Tami McDonald said that quality was evident last year, when Drewry was undergoing radiation treatments for cancer.

"Grandmommy talked about how wonderful the women were at the treatment center and how much she would miss those angels, as she called them, when her radiation treatments were over," Tami said.

A friend, Joann Klatz of Cumberland, Md., said she touched base with Drewry during that same time period when she was undergoing her treatments.

Joann wrote her a note with a "treat" in it, to which Drewry wrote back and told her how much she enjoyed the Belgian waffle with strawberries.

Still driving a car when she was 90, Drewry wasn't one to stay at home when she could be out and about, George said. He added that in 72 years of driving, she never got a ticket or had an accident.

"We took mom to Branson, Mo., last fall - she had always wanted to go," George said. "We saw 17 shows in six days and still managed to go to church on Sunday."

Throughout her years as a pastor's wife, Drewry was active in Sunday school and women's groups at all of Bill's churches, Juanita said. But there always was time for family and children.

"She played hide-and-seek with us and a lot of games ... she loved games," Juanita said.

Later, when her grandchildren came, Drewry kept tabs on them, tracking them through school and their studies.

John said his mother was very special.

"There was such an abundance of love present," he said. "She was deeply devoted to dad - a great helpmate who was always there for him."

Juanita described Wednesday's service for her mother at Washington Square United Methodist Church as a celebration of life rather than the mourning of death.

Family members participated in the service, offering musical numbers as well as co-pastoring by George and John, both of whom followed in their father's chosen profession.

A luncheon/get-together after the service gave family and friends time to share stories and memories of Drewry. All remarked on the impact Drewry made on them and how much she will be missed.

"I felt singularly blessed to have had this woman in my life," Juanita said.

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