Kichler, Tony and Gertrude Scholarship Fund
For high school seniors or college students who reside in Green or Noble TOWNSHIPS (not county) in Noble County who are pursuing a college education in music, medicine or religion. One-time payment of $1,500. (cfnc)
Donor Fund Story:
Gertrude McCabe Kichler was born on August 5, 1916 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was raised in Dagsboro, Delaware. Tony Kichler was born on November 6, 1906 in Merriam, Indiana. Tony and Gert met each other in Delaware while he was stationed with the Navy. Gert used to roller skate to see him. On April 30, 1938, they were married in Snow Hill, Md., and then lived in Missouri while Tony was in the Navy. In 1945, they moved to Tony’s homeland of Merriam, Indiana and stayed in that area until the time of their deaths.
On June 5, 1950, Gertrude gave birth to their daughter, Shara Beth and on May 15, 1954 she gave birth to their son, William (Bill). Due to tragic events, both Shara Beth and William died at young ages. Shara Beth only lived to be seven years old due to sleeping sickness (encephalitis) and William died at age 14 due to what they think was collagen’s disease.
Tony was a carpenter at the Wolf Lake Lumber Company and built a lot of homes in the beginning of his career and later on he started making cabinets. He enjoyed rabbit and coon hunting. Gertrude was a homemaker and loved to play the piano. They had a garden, so Gertrude canned food and then put it in their small underground cellar. She did a lot of crocheting and taught her nieces how to tat. She also did an art correspondence course called Art Instruction Incorporated, in which she made sketches of her family. One of her nieces’ favorite memories of Aunt Gert was putting their cousin’s (Shara Beth) hair in rags, to curl it into long ringlets. They also liked it when Aunt Gertrude cut their toast into strips so that they could dunk the strips into their cocoa. Tony and Gertrude’s nephew, Steve Smith, remembers his aunt cutting his hair as well as other children’s hair. Judy Gilbert, Tony and Gertrude’s niece, told of a time when she burnt her hand as a little girl, and Uncle Tony took her on a drive in the car to try to console her from the pain.
Even with the tragedy of losing both of their children, both Tony and Gert reached out to neighborhood children. At Christmas time, Tony and Gertrude would have an area Christmas party for the neighborhood children. About 30 children would attend, and all of them were allowed to help the Kichlers decorate their Christmas tree. Pastor Steve Pulley, who lived in the neighborhood with the Kichlers, fondly remembers his children having a great time going to these special Christmas parties.
Gertrude was a member of the Local Yocals where she played violin, banjo, and guitar. The group got together to play at nursing homes, reunions, parades and other events. She was also involved at Merriam Christian Chapel by working at Vacation Bible School and working in the nursery. Tony and Gertrude also worked as a team and wrote the Merriam News for the Albion New Era. Gertrude collected the news, and Tony wrote the articles. Their first article was published on November 3, 1983. Tony was also the mayor of Merriam.
Gertrude was quiet, very seldom lost her temper, and was mild mannered. Tony was very generous and both he and Gertrude were good-hearted. They both spent a lot of time with their nieces and nephews and spent many holidays with them as well.
In 1966, Tony had a stroke and his legs were paralyzed. Eventually, one of his legs had to be amputated due to diabetes. Bittie, the Noble County nurse, helped Gertrude with Tony’s condition. Gertrude treated Tony well and after he was confined to a wheelchair because of his paralysis, she tried to take him to every event that she attended in their Pontiac station wagon.
Tony passed away on February 24, 1993. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 was a passage that was read at his funeral. It reads:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot”
Gert was put into a nursing home for a couple of years before her death on September 27, 2005. Tony and Gert were laid to rest in the Christian Chapel Cemetery in Merriam, Indiana.