GOP all-star

By on December 5, 2018

Gladys Crowl has long had an interest in local politics, and now, the retired Lititz resident has received an award for her service to the GOP.

Recently, Crowl received the David M. Dumeyer Servant Leader Award from the Republican Committee of Lancaster County. The award recognized Crowl “For outstanding, dedication, commitment and service to the citizens of Lancaster County and to the Republican party.”

“The 17 committee chairpersons were asked by the Republican Committee of Lancaster County’s Chairman Kirk Radanovic to submit a name of an individual committee person who exhibited a dedication to the Lancaster Republican Party,” said Mary Lavender, chairwoman of the Warwick Area Republican Committee. “She is a marvelous person with a long Republican history.”

“It was a great surprise, and I’m overwhelmed,” Crowl said.

“My love of country always ran deep,” she said. “My ancestors fought in the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, and three great-grandfathers served in the Civil War. I knew and loved great-grandfather Jacob Fry who was Lancaster County’s oldest Civil War veteran when he died at age 99.” Then in fifth grade, Crowl had a teacher who told the class the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties, including a lesson that stayed with her all of these years.

“Knowing how hard my father worked to keep his business alive, I readily saw that our nation had to be protected by tariffs and each person had to be productive and responsible for his own life and way of life,” she said. With a sharp memory, Crowl easily recalls a special trip to Lancaster 84 years ago that her and her father took.

Gladys Crowl of Lititz recently received the David M. Dumeyer Servant Leader Award from the Republican Commitee of Lancaster County.

“Weeks before my eighth birthday, dad told me he and I were going to Lancaster Railroad Station to see President Franklin D. Roosevelt,” she said. “It was late in the afternoon on May 30, 1934.”
As they were getting ready to leave, the pair were delayed by a customer. But the sun lowered as they drove the eight miles to the city that evening. By the time they arrived, the station’s platform was packed with people, especially at the foot of the stairs and east towards Philadelphia. “Dad directed me to the left towards Harrisburg where there was a bit of space. He was short and his shorter daughter were urged to go to the front for a better view,” she recalled. “Finally, the train arrived, penetrating darkness. The end platform stopped just in front of us! President Roosevelt seemed to be at only arm’s length away.”

The president looked fatigued as photographers snapped pictures, Crowl said. Colonel James Hale Steinman spoke briefly, and red roses were presented to the president. He then spoke briefly to the crowd before the train departed to Philadelphia. His entire visit to Lancaster would last only nine minutes, but for Crowl, the visit would make a lasting impression on her.

“My very patriotic parents always voted,” she said. “Until I reached the age of 83, I honored my father’s wishes and advice–dad always said ‘If you are in business, you cannot get involved with politics.’ Dad, who was one of the earliest Pontiac dealers, would not reveal how he voted. Mother Emma did. My family members were proud republicans.” And with a little coaxing from a lifelong family friend, Crowl decided to take the plunge into local politics.

“Representative John Bear’s great-grandmother and my mother were friends when they were children,” she said. “His uncle and aunt, and my late husband and I double dated. Over a hundred years, our families have been friends. In 2009, Bear asked me to become precinct committee woman. I replied that I was 83 years old and a widow, but with a much younger male committeeman I would try. I got hooked!”

The award winner has been active ever since, with no signs of slowing down.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at or 717-721-4423. 

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