|Birth: ||Nov. 25, 1901|
|Death: ||Dec. 29, 2010|
Self-Reliant Teacher from Rockwood Enjoyed Long, Rich History
by Chris Ramirez
Saturday, January 1, 2011
When Blanche Lorraine Purbaugh was a child, radio and newspapers were the only way to get and receive news.
Warren G. Harding was president of the United States the year she finished college. And one-room schoolhouses, crammed with children from elementary school to high school, were the norm, especially in her hometown.
Blanche Lorraine Purbaugh, of Rockwood in Somerset County, died Wednesday, December 29, 2010, in a nursing home. She was 109.
According to the age-tracking Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, Mrs. Purbaugh likely was one of the oldest people in Pennsylvania. She was one of six children born to the late John Wesley and Emma Grace Tedrow in Rockwood on November 25, 1901.
She graduated from Rockwood High School in 1920 and from Indiana Teacher's College, now Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in 1922. After college, she took a job teaching in several one-room schools in the Rockwood area, as well as grade school at Rockwood Joint and Area Schools.
"In those days, there were few choices for women. You either were a teacher or a nurse," said Laura McGuire, one of Mrs. Purbaugh's grandchildren. "And she liked to teach. It was in her blood."
She was in her 30s when she met and married Earl Bowman. They ran an insurance business, while he worked as a principal in a school in another town. When Mr. Bowman died of a heart attack in the 1950s, Mrs. Purbaugh studied to get an insurance license to keep the business open.
She rented out rooms to make ends meet for several years during the 1950s. One of them she rented to a man named Lloyd Purbaugh. He stayed in the home only a few months, but the two maintained a friendship for more than 40 years. They married when Mrs. Purbaugh was in her 90s.
McGuire said she lived with her grandmother for a time, and often visited her on weekends after moving out. McGuire never went empty-handed.
"At dinner at my house, we'd fix a plate of food and take it over to her, every weekend," said McGuire, of Greensburg. "I just loved to spend my time with her."
Mrs. Purbaugh was known for dropping one of her pet phrases to uplift people's spirits or teach a lesson. One of them: "If you can get over the dog, you can get over the tail," meaning that once you overcome a significant challenge, those that follow are lesser.
Mrs. Purbaugh stayed at Siemon's Lakeview Manor Estate, a nursing home in Somerset, for about 4 1/2 years after falling in her home.
She is survived by her brother, Dr. John C. F. Tedrow of Edison, N.J.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and 12 great-great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her first husband, Earl Bowman; her second husband, Lloyd Purbaugh; three brothers, Frank, Robert, and Norman Paul; a sister, Eleanor Romesberg; a daughter, Barbara Saylor; and two great-grandchildren, Carrie Beal and Nelson Saylor Jr.
Friends will be received from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Miller Funeral Home and Crematory, 555 Tayman Ave., Somerset. A service will be held there at 10 a.m. Monday, with the Rev. Joe Penick officiating. Interment will be in Rockwood IOOF Cemetery.
John Wesley Tedrow (1877 - 1974)
Emma G Tedrow (1876 - 1964)
Lloyd R Purbaugh (1918 - 2000)*
Blanche Lorraine Tedrow Purbaugh (1901 - 2010)
Frank W Tedrow (1903 - 1979)*
Robert Maurice Tedrow (1909 - 1979)*
N. Paul Tedrow (1911 - 2000)*
John C. F. Tedrow (1917 - 2014)*
Rockwood IOOF Cemetery
Created by: KTC
Record added: May 11, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69664587