Madge Pearl Clymer Dukes

Honored by:Dorothy Gerber
Brick location:A:3  map

Madge Clymer was born in rural N.W. Ohio. Hers was one of four families who had settled that area. She married the son of another of those families. There are Churches, school-houses and cemeteries on land donated by their families still bearing those original names.

 Madge went to college - briefly - before she eloped in a horse and buggy to become a farm wife. She worked hard as all farm women do. She always had a large garden and canned foods to feed her hungry family. She had nine children; two sons and three daughters close together in age; then after a span of more than eight years another four girls. All her children were born at home. She was a tiny lady quiet-spoken and morally upright. She always expected her children to do as well as they could and to "be good". She grew up with nice things around her but never had them for herself. Any money she earned from eggs and cream was spent on the necessities of life.

She treasured the things she had inherited and by example taught her children not to put a high value on 'things'. She was proud of all her children for the gains each one made according to their ability. Madge's contemporaries were the soldiers of the First World War. She was one of the older children in her family and none of her younger brothers were old enough to serve. There was great hardship to endure during the Depression. She saw her youngest son go off to war in 1944. He was one of five in his Division of 500 to survive. Junior had been a paratrooper at the Battle of the Bulge. He said that his life was repeatedly spared because he had shared his letters from home. When he would be assigned a dangerous mission someone who knew he had a family waiting for him would step forward to volunteer to take his place. Back home we all sat down together to write those letters even the tiny twin sisters not yet in school. We treasured his letters home and prayed hard when they didn't come for a while.

 All Madge's children married. She had a total of 33 grandchildren and 33 great-grandchildren at the time of her death. She was a quiet heroine. She taught by example and not lectures. We all learned how to work hard and to 'hang in there' through any adversity. Her place literally was in the home. She seemed content there. Neighbors were few and her extended family made up her social life. Now and then when work permitted she attended Church or Ladies Aid Society. She never learned to drive. She saw all the children's school functions she could and appreciated their musical talents as well as scholastic honors. None of her children graduated from college. Those who attended had to earn their own way.

Following is an exerpt from a letter written by one of Madge's older daughters: March 15 1995 I really don't remember too much about Mother when I was little. I can't remember her rocking me or ever reading to me or any of us older ones. Although she must have because when I was four and had pneumonia and a heart murmur she learned to sleep in a chair - she had always said she couldn't rest unless she was in bed. There are some things I remember when I was small but they don't concern Mom. I do remember she rocked Nina and the twins in the evening while Lois and I did the dishes but that was much later. I suppose you could say we were really poor but Mother never let us know that. Anyway everyone was the same during the Depression. She always said being poor was an attitude.