Tim and Janet Duperree’s Legacy of Salvation Army Leadership in Delaware
The Duperrees’ contribution to the local Salvation Army is more than just a drop in the bucket.
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It reads like the plot of a cliché-filled romantic novel, but it’s all true:
A boy and girl grow up two doors from each other in a blue-collar neighborhood on Pine Street in Punxsutawney, Pa.—“weather capital of the world.” The boy is the sixth of nine children; the girl the second of three sisters.
The boy’s mother and father met at a Salvation Army evangelical meeting that his mother was conducting. His father, a recovering alcoholic, turned his life around at the meeting. He becomes an independent Baptist minister, opens a church in Punxsutawney. The girl’s father becomes Sunday school superintendent at the church.
The two families do things together—roller skating, picnics, basketball in the alley behind the two houses. No movies: these are strict Baptists.
Then, on Christmas Day, 1968, the boy’s mother goes into labor with her ninth child, and her husband has a heart attack. Both are taken to the hospital. He doesn’t return. She raises the nine kids, never remarrying. Her husband’s church folds, but soon after his death a Salvation Army representative visits the house, and the family starts going to that church.
The boy helps his mother with expenses, cutting grass and doing other chores for neighbors. Sometimes he finds time to help the girl, who also mows lawns and cleans houses. Meanwhile, they both maintain honor roll grades at Punxsutawney Area High.
Finally—finally!—when she is a junior and he is a year out of high school and working for Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., they start dating. On the first date, he realizes she is the one for him. (It takes her until the third date.) They marry in August 1981, and settle into a new condominium in Rochester. He is making good money—“More than I’d ever seen,” he says—and she opens a housekeeping business, quickly acquiring 20-plus customers. Their first child, a daughter, is born in December 1982.