Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society
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Source: April 1967 Volume 14 Number 3, Pages 57–60

Robert F. Goebel and the Berwyn Post

Katharine M. Stroh

Page 57

Robert Goebel was born in Radnor, coming to Berwyn at the age of two with his parents, brother and sister. He graduated in 1933 from Tredyffrin-Easttown High School and in the fall of that year he attended Admiral Farragut Academy. Robert played the tuba. Being in the band he had much marching to do. He developed trouble with a knee; coming home for an operation. After that he was confined to his room.

The idea of a home-town newspaper, to be sent to young men and women in the service during World War II, was born to Robert. He volunteered to head the task as editor; the communications were to come to him.

The first issue was put out April 1, 1943. Rev. Price M. Collins, pastor of the Berwyn Methodist Church, was the columnist. It was mailed out to 130 men and women in this country and overseas. The preparation of this first number was done by Mrs. Harry T. Williams, Mrs. Claire Hughes, Mr. Theodore C. Lamborn, Jr., Rev. Price M. Collins, and Mr. Robert F. Goebel. These and Rev. Elbert H. Ross were joined by Mrs. Helen Gleason, Mrs. John Bunce (Robert's sister), and Mr. Robert Warner in preparing the May issue.

Miss Mary E. Wingard, retired teacher of Tredyffrin- Easttown High School, was guest columnist. The enthusiasm of the recipients of the news sheet grew fast and they sent in letters from all states and countries. Rev. Elbert H. Ross was the third columnist. He wanted to be an army chaplain, and was disappointed at being rejected on physical grounds. Rev. Ross was pastor of the Trinity Presbyterian Church, of Berwyn.

The third issue was sent out to 150. The name of Joe Kelly was added to the staff, and the July 1943 number shows that Charles Smith also joined the staff. An earnest little poem by Corp. Joseph L. Kirkner, "Pray for your soldier," was in this issue, now named "The Berwyn Post." Joseph Kirkner is now Rev. Kirkner, pastor of the Church of Goshenville.

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The publication was now being produced so that the public might help finance the costs. The names of donors were listed in the copies. At this time 170 names were on the mailing list.

Starting with the September 1943, issue, it was being sent to all Tredyffrin-Easttown Alumni then in the service. Later all students who joined the forces were included. The additional expense for this was met by the Paoli-Malvern- Berwyn Rotary Club. New names on the staff were Erma Lewis and Joe Carbo. Thanks were given to Mrs. Howard Yohn, Mrs. Robert Hughes,3rd., Miss Eleanor Christie, Mrs. Bud Leamy, all of whom assisted in preparing this issue, and to Miss Bertha Neiman, Tredyffrin-Easttown High School Secretary, who rounded up the home addresses of more than 200 Alumni. Also to Wm. Eadie who was the official sign and poster maker.

A Chaplains' corner was started with different pastors of the Berwyn Churches writing for that corner. Many individuals, groups, and organizations by now were making donations to assist with the growing costs. More and more letters were coming to Bob Goebel from the young men and women in the service, which he in turn had to edit for printing. Another name added to the stenographic group was Miss Mildred Danaker. The January 1944 number of the Post was the first to have a picture. It was the Roll of Honor, a stone monument placed on the north side of the Lincoln Highway opposite Waterloo Road; the picture shows the Dedication Ceremonies, December 5, 1943. This marker has since been moved to Easttown Township Building grounds on the corner of Midland and Berwyn Avenues.

In the April number of the same year the names of Misses Virginia and Phyllis Supplee are on the Stenographic Staff.

A new column signed "Barney," who wrote "Berwyn Barn Stormer," appeared. This proved to be a popular part of the "Post" to the recipients. In the first article the writer describes how the Editor-in-Chief, Bob Goebel, was feeling a bit blue about a year before, feeling that his

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part in the war effort was nil. A lot of his friends had left for the service and more were planning on entering. He could not work in a defense plant, and his chances of ever serving in the armed forces were out of the question. All because a disease generally termed arthritis had set in some nine years before; this resulted in his being confined to bed. He and a friend were having a chess game. Bob had what he called a brain storm, saying that since there was no home-town newspaper, he was going to attempt to work one up, provided he could locate a few persons who might be interested in helping. This was checked, and preparations were soon in progress for the first issue. A more cheerful, determined, and businesslike editor was not to be found.

As we noted earlier, 130 copies were mailed out for that first issue. In April of 1944, 500 were sent to those in the service and 800 circulated locally. It cost the home folks $100.00 a month, with much volunteer work. The writer of the article signed Barney (whom we now know was Theodore C. Lamborn, Jr.) said he had read about "Dollar a year" men in Washington; we have a man here in Berwyn who doesn't get a dollar --the Founder and Editor-in- Chief of the Post - Bob Goebel.

On September 22, 1944, Robert Goebel received the American Legion Citation in recognition of his work as Editor of the Post; this was presented by Wm. H. Kohlmeyer and Clarence L. Reifsneider, Adjutant, on behalf of the Dalton-Wanzel Post No. 646 of Paoli.

Miss Mildred Kirkner's name was listed on the stenographic staff in the February, 1945, Post, and Mrs, Joseph Dudas in the March number. More and more quotes from the letters of the men and women in service are in each issue; more are injured in the service and lives lost.

The April, 1945, issue shows that Mrs. Francis McAdoo, Miss Bertha Christie, and Miss Dorothy Raum were new stenographic staff members.

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On June 13, 1945, Robert Goebel, at the age of 29, passed away suddenly. In the operating room of the Chester County Hospital, having been received at the hospital two days before. The loss was a profound shock to his family, who tendered patient care during Bob's bedfast years, and to the whole community. Also to the friends who had come to admire him so much through the Post which he alone inspired, and under whose direction the paper had been assembled and sent around the world. To the very end Bob displayed the same cheerfulness and faith that helped him meet and rise above the physical handicap under which he had labored, since a football accident twelve years before. The June issue of the Post, prepared under severe pain, is a mark of that undying spirit of courage.

After Robert Goebel's death, his mother still continued to allow the Staff to use the dining-room as their headquarters. The work of editing was divided amongst the staff members. This was enlarged by the addition of Mrs. Louis Goebel, William J. Pyott, and the entire stenographic staff.

The August, 1945, Post tells that 2500 copies are printed each month. The September 1945, Post says that 15 service men marched in a Victory Parade in Berwyn. Later more service men received their discharges.

The final issue of the Post was in May, 1946. A Memorial Day Service was held May 30, 1946, with the Dedication of the Robert F. Goebel Memorial Plaque at the Easttown Grammar School Auditorium. This plaque was secured by the Berwyn Business Men's Association, Louis Lieberman, President. William Tollinger was speaker at the services. At that time he was Supervising Principal of Spring City, Pa., Public Schools. William J. Pyott, assisted by members of Berwyn Girls' Club, dedicated the Robert Goebel Memorial Plaque which was placed in the Easttown Library.

Thanks are expressed to Mrs. Louis Goebel for her information, and for her kindness in the loan of her own file of "The Berwyn Post."

Robert F. Goebel


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