A BIT ABOUT THE BABS CURRAN SENIOR CENTER
It was on January 1, 1970, the newly-elected Perry County-Commissioners
took office and called upon Virginia Kling, of Loysville, to direct the service
for the elderly in Perry County.
At that time, Virginia Eppley was director of what was then known as the
Perry Youth and Aging. This service was under the PA Department of
Welfare. It was decided that this agency needed to be separated into two
unique entities to properly serve seniors and youth.
With Eppley's knowledge of the needs of seniors, she encouraged the
employment of Virginia Kling. She, with her initial $6,000 operating
budget, set up her office in the old County Home in Loysville. She pushed
for senior transportation services to grocery stores, pharmacies and medical
appointments. By accessing funds from the Appalachian Poverty Program,
she began a transportation agency under the Office for the Aging. Virginia
Kling was Director of the Office for the Aging from 1990-1977.
Let's turn our attention to the Meals on Wheels Program. This program
began in 1972 in Duncannon through the combined efforts of the Perry
County Homemakers Services and the Sparkle Restaurant in the square of
Duncannon. In 1973, the monies derived from the Hurricane Agnes Federal
Foods Relief Funds, the official Meals on Wheels Program began.
Eventually the meals would be contracted through a bid process with the
meals delivered to each senior center for local delivery by volunteers.
Harry (Pete) and Betty Boyer were. Duncannon's first Meals on Wheels
coordinators. Many volunteers have followed and all are very much
The official opening of the Duncannon Senior Center was on May 7, 1973.
The Duncannon Senior Center was the first in the county. New Bloomfield
was the second followed by Marysville, Liverpool and Newport. Today
Perry County has eight (8) centers.
Over time the Duncannon Senior Center has had many locations. It began in
the annex of the Presbyterian Church, then moved to the parsonage of the
Asbury United Methodist Church. This property was sold and the building
demolished. The next location was in the old Christian Education building
of the Otterbein United Methodist Church and then it was on to the
Shermanata Grange. At the present time, the Duncannon seniors are looking
forward to the purchase of the property of the Orrstown Bank located at
Market and Cherry Streets in Duncannon.
The very first Director of the center was Helen Bender of Loysville, who
later became the Director of the Office for the Aging in Perry County. Two
more Directors followed each one serving for only two weeks. Their names
are not available at this time. The fourth Director was Elmyra Heicher of
Perdix, serving the center for 13 years. At that time, the center was governed
by a Site Council now referred to as a Board of Directors.
The fifth Director was Brenda Williams who began her duties in the Fall of
1984 and remained in the position for 13 years. Betty Strohm, followed by
her daughter, Pat Palmer, served the center for 15 years. Other Directors to
follow were Mary Rineer, Peggy Miller, Vicki Seeger and Elmira Beam.
We would be remiss not to recall a few of the first individuals who
frequented the early Duncannon Senior Center. The following should be
mentioned: Nelle Bell, a born leader and educator, Blanche Leedy, Rita
Charles, Mamie Albright, Violet Furhman, Sara Spence and Jane Smalty the
famous quilters, Vivian Briner, the pianist, Mary Berrier, Mary Kresge,
Bessie Barrick the partiers, Joyce Collier the chief dishwasher, Ann
Spangenberg the creator of the kitchen band, Martha Sheetz the pie maker,
Dorothy Sload the pinochle organizer and so many wonderful citizens who
contributed to the early success of the Duncannon Senior Center.
The citizens of the Duncannon community are very proud of its Senior Center and what it provides for its seniors. Much excitement and anticipation is now experienced by everyone as we move into our new home, the former Orrstown Bank in Duncannon.