Sue Shard’s sweet success

By on July 8, 2015

The girl who championed Lititz’s candy bar

Maureen on the cover of the local chocolate company's employee newsletter, "Buds and Bars," during Christmas of '46. (from the Sketch Mearig Collection)

Maureen on the cover of the local chocolate company’s employee newsletter, “Buds and Bars,” during Christmas of ’46. (from the Sketch Mearig Collection)

What’s it like to be the face of Wilbur-Suchard Chocolate Company and the host of a WLAN radio show?

Just ask Maureen McEvoy-Farrell.

In 1946, at age 12, she was selected as the lucky winner among four other finalists to portray “Sue Shard,” the advertising icon of what is now the Wilbur Chocolate Company of Lititz.

“Our neighbor at the time told my folks about the contest, and asked if she could send my photo along with her daughter’s picture,” she recalled via email from her current home in Maryland. “My dad kept notes and said that the Wilbur-Suchard Chocolate Company sponsored a contest for a look-alike for the little girl whose picture was their trademark (Sue Shard). John Robert Powers, of the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency in New York, was the actual judge and made the selection based on the photos entered.”

Maureen was chosen from more than 100 submitted photos, and as a result she enjoyed some sweet perks.

“A cash prize of $25 was awarded to me, along with a suit and hat of my choice purchased from one of the department stores in downtown Lancaster,” she said.

In addition to the cash and clothing, Maureen had the opportunity to co-host a program on WLAN radio for several months. The show, which debuted Nov. 22, 1946, also starred WLAN radio personalities Johnny Lupton (who portrayed the character “Uncle Ben”) and Marcia Milley-Hemler (who played the role of “Judy”). Together, they hosted a show about Lancaster County in an effort to get young listeners interested in local history. The trio also toured local historical sites.

Maureen McEvoy-Farrell today, reliving her modeling moment from 1946. (photo provided by Maureen McEvoy-Farrell)

Maureen McEvoy-Farrell today, reliving her modeling moment from 1946. (photo provided by Maureen McEvoy-Farrell)

“These programs were broadcast every Friday afternoon from 4:15 to 4:45 p.m.,” explained Maureen. “The characters of Uncle Ben, Sue and Judy were created as the presenters of these historical events, and it involved photo shoots on location at some of the historical sites.”

Maureen also enjoyed the fortune of appearing on the cover of the chocolate company’s employee newsletter, “Buds and Bars,” in December 1946.

When the radio show came to an end, Maureen went on to star in her own radio show, “Junior Jukebox DJ,” where she played stories and music for children.

Eventually, Maureen’s life returned to that of a typical 12-year old girl.

After graduating high school, she was hired by Armstrong Cork Company in Lancaster, eventually becoming a secretary in their advertising department. She married, moved out of state, and raised a family. Later, she reentered the workforce as secretary to the superintendent of The Maryland School for the Blind, retiring in 1997.

Even though she portrayed Lititz’s beloved Sue Shard more than 65 years ago, Maureen still holds the memory of her local fame, as well as the town of Lititz, near and dear to her heart.

“Lititz is absolutely one of my favorite places in Pennsylvania,” she said. “I lived in Lancaster City up until I got married, so I visited Lititz often as a young woman. It was enjoyable revisiting yesteryear and recapturing those sweet memories of that little girl so pleasantly surprised by all that came upon her as a result of that contest. The Lord Jesus Christ has blessed me through all the years.”

Cory Van Brookhoven is president of the Lititz Historical Foundation and has authored several books on topics involving Lancaster County and Lititz history. He welcomes reader comments at coryvb@hotmail.com. 

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