Tahlequah Daily Press

Features

November 5, 2012

Girdner feted as Hulbert icon

TAHLEQUAH — When Fern Girdner arrived in Hulbert with her family 79 years ago, the streets were covered with dirt, and the town consisted of a post office, a drug store and two grocery stores.

She graduated from high school in Tahlequah in 1933 because secondary schooling wasn’t available in Hulbert, where her father owned a business, three lots, and an 80-acre farm.

Girdner, now 97, has called the rural community home for 80 years. She’s been asked by Hulbert Mayor Shirley Teague to serve as grand marshal for the community’s inaugural Christmas parade, set for Saturday, Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.

Folks growing up in Hulbert may remember Girdner from Sunday school at First Baptist Church or a class at the school, where she taught and worked as a substitute teacher.

“She’s been a fixture down here at the First Baptist Church as long as I can remember. She taught my kids. She’s just an icon in the community,” said Teague. “She really has touched a lot of people’s lives. She still gets around and is active in the church.”

The role of grand marshal is traditionally bestowed on someone who shows exceptional leadership qualities. Aside from time spent with school children in Hulbert and Norwood, Girdner was a Sunday school teacher for 48 years, taught Bible school 35 years, and was the Woman’s Missionary Union president, leading a group of 25 Sunbeams.

“I’ve worked in the church. I worked for the Lord for a long time,” Girdner said.

“I just don’t know why they chose me. I taught [Mayor Teague’s] children in Sunday school years and years ago. I was so surprised. I thanked her. It is a privilege to [be grand marshal of Hulbert’s first Christmas parade] and I don’t know whether it’s because of my age or what. I’ve lived long enough.”

Girdner attended school in her earlier years in Sherman, Texas, and after graduating from high school in Tahlequah, traveled back to East Texas State to start college before returning to Oklahoma to attend what is now known as Northeastern State University.

“And you know what? [NSU] just had three buildings. They had an educational building, an agricultural building and the old Seminary [Hall], and look at Northeastern now,” she said. “When we came [to Hulbert], there were dirt roads everywhere – just dirt roads. We had a drug store, a post office, two grocery stores – Wilson’s and Squyres. They had benches on the sidewalk that people would sit on, and oh, my goodness, Hulbert didn’t have a high school when I came in. I was a senior when I came here.”

Regardless of whether she leads the processional, Girdner’s glad Hulbert is hosting a holiday parade.

“I think it’s great. It’ll bring the town out. They’re going to have quite a bit of stuff. We might as well have something like this,” she said.

“If it’s pretty, [my son Dean and I are] going to ride the motorcycle – something called a [Can-Am] Spyder [Roadster]. I would rather ride the motorcycle [than ride in his Hummer]. This is his third motorcycle, and I’ve ridden all of them. It’ll be fun, if it’s not raining or too cold, but of coursem I guess we could just put on extra clothes if it’s cold.”

1
Text Only
Features
  • rf-Faith-7-29.jpg New opportunity opens door for local pastor

    A unique opportunity for ministry training will begin next year in Tahlequah.
    The River Ministries will be launching The River Training Center, a complete ministry school. The training center will also perform community outreach and sponsor mission trips, all beginning in January 2015.
    The founder of the school, Pastor Brandon Stratton, was raised in Tahlequah and previously pastored Calvary Assembly of God Church.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 22ndAmendment.jpg Presidential terms limited by 22nd Amendment

    The past 30 years have been marked by occasional grumbling from one American political party, and celebration from the other - depending on who occupies the White House - about the disqualification of a president after eight years of service.
    For much of the nation’s history, a presidency could last indefinitely.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • sg-Paperbacks.jpg Paperbacks still survive in the digital age

    In an era when mobile technology is always at hand, most people can access an electronic book at any time. Such literary luxuries weren’t widely available to previous generations until the dawn of the paperback book.
    Wednesday, July 30, is set as a day to celebrate the low-cost, portable book during National Paperback Book Day.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-skydiver-tomahawk.jpg Former resident tapped for national skydiving award

    A man known locally for putting Tahlequah on the international map by bringing world-class skydiving events to town is being inducted in the National Skydiving Museum Hall of Fame in October.
    Norman Heaton said he’s very honored to be selected for the prestigious award given to people who have made significant contributions to the sport of skydiving.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20th-Amendment.jpg Inauguration day changed by 20th Amendment

    Sometimes an amendment is added to the U.S. Constitution that is uncontroversial and virtually unlitigated.
    Such is the 20th Amendment, which moved the seating of the new Congress and the presidential inauguration day to January, and enumerates procedure if a president-elect dies or cannot take office.
    Because the “Lame-Duck Amendment” addresses procedure, it is long.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-School-Fashion.jpg Fashion show to feature local teachers

    A fun fashion event that will provide funds for one lucky area school is coming up next weekend.
    Local teachers and students have until Tuesday, July 22, to sign up for the Teacher and Student Back 2 School Fashion Show at Arrowhead Mall in Muskogee.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-actress.jpg TV’s ‘Mistresses’ has second local tie

    Tahlequah has at least two ties to the TV drama “Mistresses.”
    Local florist Josh Cottrell-Mannon designed the flower arrangements for the show’s season finale, and Arriane Alexander, daughter of local resident Sharilyn Young, is portraying a television news reporter.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • rf-Stark-Sequoyah.jpg Stark enjoys making a difference

    Kristin Stark, Sequoyah Elementary Teacher of Year, loves teaching, and has a desire to make a positive difference in the lives of children.
    “I love making a difference in the lives of children; it is a wonderful feeling to make a positive impact on a child,” said Stark.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • sr-19thAmendment.jpg Women got the vote with 19th Amendment

    During its first 140 years, the United States Constitution underwent a series of changes intended to extend voting rights to those who were not white or didn’t own property - but as the American experiment entered the 20th Century, half the adult population still had no protection to vote.
    Though they certainly had political opinions, women could not cast a ballot in most states. That changed with passage of the 19th Amendment.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • renee-storyteller.jpg Cherokee, Tlingit storytellers to share their craft during special NSU event

    Two Native American cultures will be represented during a storytelling workshop featuring Cherokee Gayle Ross and Tlingit and Cherokee dancer and storyteller Gene Tagaban, of Seattle.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating
Stocks