Keystone mirrors will be sold to benefit Old Home Week

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com
At last week's Old Home Week Association meeting, Jeff Stouffer, left, showed Felicia Hollingshead and Jeannie and Bob Johnston how coins representing various years of Old Home Week are mounted on the back of the keystone mirrors his family is donating to raise money for the triennial celebration. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

Jeff Stouffer's love of the community where he and his wife, Margaret, have lived for more than 30 years is reflected in their family's donation to Old Home Week.

He attended last week's meeting of the Old Home Week Association to announce the donation of seven handcrafted keystone-shaped black walnut mirrors to be sold for the benefit of the triennial celebration.

The words Old Home Week are engraved on the top of the keystone with 1902-2019 at the bottom. A separate piece with a family or business name is available to accompany each 26-inch mirror.

Ten coins are mounted on the back: a 1902 coin representing the first Old Home Week; six other U.S. coins representing other Old Home Week years; an Eisenhower silver dollar; a Susan B. Anthony dollar; and a John F. Kennedy half dollar. There is space to add more coins for future Old Home Weeks.

Details about the sale of the mirrors are still being worked out and Stouffer said information will be available at Old Home Week headquarters during the Aug. 3 to 10 celebration. He expects to raise a minimum of $2,000.

"I am very pleased to donate some of my passion and hobby back to our favorite town — Greencastle," Stouffer said.

All of the proceeds will go to support OHW activities and Stouffer said he enjoys, "Seeing all of the smiling faces spanning a week, seeing all of the celebrations, activities, concerts, fireworks, parade, the huge Greencastle picture on the square, seeing many old friends after three years, seeing many people in this town donating a great deal of time for a special cause that they love."

 School days 

The Stouffers have lived in the Greencastle area since 1983, first moving to Coseytown. Their two sons, Adam and Ben, are both graduates of Greencastle-Antrim High School.

Although Jeff Stouffer grew up and attended school in Chambersburg, the Stouffer family genealogy has roots several miles west of Greencastle and he has 21 first-cousins from the extended Stouffer family.

His father, Thomas Stouffer, taught business at the old Greencastle High School and then became the principal of Central Junior High School and later Faust Junior High School in Chambersburg.

Margaret Stouffer retired after teaching kindergarten in Greencastle, mainly at the primary building, for nearly 34 years.

Stouffer himself taught woodworking and mechanical drawing at Clear Spring High School for 10 years, before serving as assistant principal for five years. He also was principal at Smithsburg Middle School, Smithsburg High School and Washington County Technical High School before retiring in 2017.

All told, the extended family includes three kindergarten teachers, five generations of principals and "an awesome woodworking grandfather."

"My grandfather on my mother's side, Calder Greedy, was a professional woodworker, making beautiful walnut and cherry furniture. I learned a great deal regarding his skills," Stouffer said in a email, noting he also took three woodworking classes while majoring in industrial technology at Millersville University.

 The keystone 

"I have a little bit of a skill," Stouffer told members of the Old Home Week Association as he displayed one of the mirrors, which take him 17 to 18 hours to make.

He explained each is heavily reinforced with internal oak splines and 12 coats of polyurethane to ensure they can be passed down for future generations.

He has made several hundred over the last 45 years for family reunions, many educators and fundraising efforts.

"Keystone mirrors automatically represent the wonderful state of Pennsylvania," he said. "The keystone is a beautiful, eight-sided geometric shape, which is not easy to construct ... Constructing these mirrors is like taking a mini-mathematics class, in which errors are not permitted. Each mirror is a challenge of woodworking and detailed math skills, which equates to 1/64th-inch in most of the reinforced walnut joints."