As many of my readers know, my brother, Evangelist Larry E. Wolfe recently went to be with His Lord. During his 7 year ministry at the I-85 Pilot Truck Stop in SC he published a daily devotional and had many opportunities to share Christ with others. Sometimes in his daily devotional he would share about these encounters. Here is one of them from December 19, 2018:
“Though gone from among us he still speaks!”
In the last week or so, The Lord has sent three men my way with the same name, Darryl. The first was a homeless man who was parked where I park our Mobile Chapel in the car lot. When the van was out for repairs on the carburetor a few weeks ago I lost my normal parking spot where I can view the whole Truck lot. So, when I returned, Darryl was in my spot, but instead of me having to get out and convince him that he needs to move, he immediately pulled out allowing me to park.
When I went over to thank him I found out that he had been here three years ago, so he knew my M.O., i.e. Modus Operandi, saying to me, when I introduced myself, handing him a prayer card/tract: I know you, I was here three years ago, so, I began praying for Darryl again, that he might come to know The Lord!
The second Darryl is a Driver I met just met a few days ago in McD’s. He sat down across from me and his table was dirty. So, I commented on the table’s condition, smiling, and he agreed, then, asked me: Where are you Chaplain? And I responded: Right here, are you a Driver? He said: Yes, so I said: You are one of my victims, laughing, and that led to more conversation and him telling me that he was a 7th Day Adventist. He signed up for The Daily Devotional and also took our prayer card, so please pray for Darryl number two.
Darryl number three knocked on our front door yesterday as I was working on the computer, checking mail, news, weather, writing a message etc. He was looking right at me for the sun was shining brightly, on a very warm December day. He was holding a notebook and at first I though he might be peddling some kind of religion for we have all different kinds of people coming to our door here in The SC Bible Belt, for we have numerous Bible Schools, Institutes, Colleges and Universities, not to mention “A Church on every corner.”
I got up out of my recliner, set aside the computer, and when he saw me he smiled broadly and I handed him our prayer card after he gave me his business card which showed some kind of funeral insurance. He was looking for the woman next door who was not responding to his calls for she had requested him to come over. Well, the third Darryl knew The Lord telling me how his older brother led him to The Lord when he was just sixteen!
The Lord did all this to open up a number of ministry opportunities for me and to bless those who received His Word. But, He also reminded me how my older brother was very instrumental in my salvation as he told me, in 1972, “If you have any questions about God, read The Gospel of John” and read The Gospel of John I did. Eight years later, being desperate and suicidal, I read The Gospel of John, on March 7, 1980, from the Bible my wife gave me in 1973 seven years before, which I never touched until that day!
Her sister led her to the Lord almost eleven years before that in 1969, and she is the lady I asked you all to pray for a few days ago. She does not have long on this planet, but, will soon go home to be with her Lord in Heaven, for death is but A Doorway into Glory. Jesus said: “He that believes on Me shall never die” (John 11:36)! She was the one who initiated The Gospel’s power into our family for my wife called her when our marriage was on the rocks, seeing her sister’s marriage was prospering. She explained to my wife on the telephone how to be saved!
Yes, Drivers, The Lord used all of these people and then, He visited our little Mom and Pop grocery store, north of Harrisburg, in the mountains of PA, and gloriously saved my soul, after reading almost fifteen chapters of The Gospel of John, God spoke to my heart, saying: “Greater love has no man than this, that A Man lay down His Life for His friends.” (John 15:13)
All of these very significant people He put in my path in a marvelous network of events. And, think about it, you just might be the one who needs to give a tract or open your mouth and witness for The Lord, becoming a very significant person in the life of that one you encounter today as you roll down the road! “Souls for Jesus” must be our continuing battle cry, as we become more like Jesus: “Who came to seek and to save those who are lost!!”
By Rev. Larry Wolfe now with the Lord since February 10, 2019.
I can hardly believe it! My dear brother Larry (Laramie as the brothers called him) went to be with the Lord on Sunday February 10th in his sleep! He fondly called me “Brainiac” and I want to honor him with this blog and tell the story of how he impacted my life.
Larry E. Wolfe came into the world on New Year’s Eve 1944. He had just turned 74 years old. He was the son of Irene & Warren Wolfe whose life together was tumultuous to say the least. As a result Larry and brother Warren (Pooch) attended thirteen different schools during their youth as the family moved from house to house just one step ahead of the bill collectors!
Incredibly, Larry still managed to receive a wonderful public school education and was mechanically brilliant! Likewise he was an amazing speller! As demonstrated one day walking home from school, as they passed a local grocer who called out to him and asked “What are you learning in school?” to which Larry replied, “Spelling!” The grocer quickly responded, “Well then, spell antidisestablishmentarianism!” To which Larry quickly responded spelling the huge word letter by letter to a “T” and the shocked grocer replied, “I think I owe you an ice cream cone!”
Larry would be forced to mature very early as our mom, a single mother surrounded by stress, would from time to time have nervous breakdowns and have to go to a mental hospital. So in one particular episode it was decided that our baby brother Stevie would go to live with our oldest brother Pooch and his wife Thelma, our younger brother Fred was taken in by an Aunt and Uncle, and Larry was charged with caring for “the twins” me and my brother Bruce!
So he cared for his two younger twin brothers at home. From August of 1968 to the end of February 1969 he made sure Bruce and I would get up and get ready for school, give us lunch money and cooked our meals. We were seniors in High School but it was still good to have a big brother watching over us. What a brother! Though we were very glad when mom came home!
Larry married Elizabeth (Betsy) Ziegler and started their family and lived in “Ritzy Village” a small development in the mountains which had a community pool. Their house had the look of a modern log cabin with expansive windows in the living room and a stone fireplace.
We had many a family get together in his home which was the largest of the Wolfe Boys homes at the time. They would have 3 children, Wendy, Nathan & Andrea who all married giving them eight grandchildren.
Larry’s career led him into Machine Design and he had a very successful career with some of the major electronics manufacturing companies in the Harrisburg area. His talents were very obvious and he was promoted to Manufacturing Manager at his last position before the Lord called him into full-time Christian ministry. During the time preparing for ministry he continued to work part-time as a designer from home and in one of his projects designed a machine that could automatically fold a blanket!
His talent with his hands was also seen by his fascination with motor head cars, and he had many beautiful cars which he built or bought outright. In particular he loved the Ford Shelby Mustang of which he had two of them. He also loved foreign cars and had two Triumphs, a TR3 and a white TR4 like the one below.
As my BIG brother, it was incredible that he would leave a young 16-year-old use his Shelby and his Triumphs to take my girl friend out on dates! Can you imagine that? What trust he had! Thankfully, I didn’t leave him down and always brought them home in once piece, though I won’t say how fast I might have driven them! But it was VERY cool as a teenager to be able to drive in such style as my friends drooled with envy!
When I was 15 years old I joined a Rock and Roll band called “The Entertainers” as the Lead Singer and eventually Larry joined the band as our Manager and saxophone player. We played in a lot of bad places where booze and drugs were in use but Larry as the oldest member, and strict chaperone over the other 7 teenagers in the band, made sure NONE of us got into ANY trouble and I mean that seriously!
Larry lived on the “edge” as he often said! He came within an inch of his life on at least two occasions I can recall. The first was when he was driving to work in his souped up 1956 Ford Station Wagon on a three lane highway. He was in the passing lane (of course) and a driver who he was passing decided to also pass and pushed Larry’s car into the oncoming lane and a PA State Dump Truck hit Larry’s car broadside driving the passenger door all the way over into the driver’s seat!
He was thrown from the vehicle onto a barbwire fence along the highway. When the police arrived they looked at him hanging there and said, “Well he’s dead” without even checking for a pulse. A womon who saw him hanging there went over to throw a blanket over the “body” and noticed he was breathing but hanging on by a thread! He recuperated with many scars but got right back to living life flat-out standing on the gas.
The second time he was headed home to their apartment on Colonial Road in Harrisburg and was driving “reasonably” but it had snowed and there was ice on the bridge spanning Rt. 81 and his Mint Green 1967 Shelby Mustang GT-500 skidded broadside and slid directly into a huge electric pole. The car hit the pole on the passenger side where the front fender meets the side door, tearing the front end of the car completely off the vehicle!
Larry jumped out of the car through the opening where the windshield used to be and trotted home which was just a few hundred yards down the street! He escaped death with only a few scratches. The Lord had plans for his life and it wasn’t time for him to go!
Larry also had a fascination with motorcycles, the “Chopper” type. He built an amazing Harley 74 Chopper, complete with a custom green paint job and he also collected a number of other bikes including a Harley 74 with a Side Car and a Sportster.
It was at this point Larry trusted Christ as his Savior at the counter of his Country Store when he hit bottom and he remembered that his brother Pooch had told him once that whenever he has questions about God to read the Gospel of John which he did, and the Lord marvelously intervened in his life as he came to John 15:13 where Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” I’ll let Larry’s own words tell you about his life at this point:
My life changed drastically after The Lord saved me. Before, I was running from a violent motorcycle gang, before, my mind was consumed with evil being drenched continually with alcohol and drugs, causing me to live outside of the law, at times, running with the most raucous bunch of men. Then, I was building custom motorcycles living life on the edge. My slogan was “If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” So, madness at the max ruled! But, The Lord in His great mercy wherewith He loved me, intervened, and now, all of the above are gone and my life is like the one: “Who hearkens unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” (Proverb 1:33)
God would move quickly in Larry’s life and with the help of his friend Pastor Bill Haken the Lord directed him to seek training for ministry. Then, with the help of his big brother Pooch, they moved all of their belongings and the whole family to Greenville SC to attend college. When he left for Bible School he had a total of three Harley Davidson motorcycles which as time went by would pay for his tuition as he sold them one by one to pay for college.
After achieving a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible at Bob Jones University he would come home and begin ministry as Pastor in a small Baptist church in Mechanicsburg. But within a couple of years he recognized his Spiritual Gifts matched him better for Evangelism than Pastoring, though it was a career with a much less than guaranteed income flow. His faith and trust in the Lord would be tested as he had to fall back on his engineering skills as a “Tentmaker” so to speak like the Apostle Paul to make a living and depend day by day on the Lord to meet he and his young families needs.
This life would take him going door to door witnessing, street preaching on Front Street in Harrisburg PA, starting a Revival ministry of holding Tent Meetings like the old-time evangelists, plus preaching in churches from time to time as the Lord would open doors.
Eventually he would make the huge decision to get his CDL license and began to drive 18 wheel trucks across the USA. He would often say that the Lord used these times of extended seclusion to draw close to Him and reveal the deeper things of the Faith as he put Scriptures on 3×5 index cards on his dash and memorized a huge volume of Bible verses.
In retirement he moved back to South Carolina where two of his 3 children lived with their families. That was when he began his truck stop ministry. He walked into the Pilot Travel Center on I-85 and walked up to the Manager and asked, “Do you have a Chaplain?” The Manager replied, well no we don’t to which Larry boldly said, “Do You want one?” And so started his 7 year-long fruitful ministry there.
His MO went like this. He would show up very early with his Chaplain name plate pinned onto his trademark black leather vest (which also served as his tract rack) then sit down in a booth in the McDonald’s side of the facility and place his well-worn Bible open on the table and sip a cup of coffee. The open Bible and the Chaplain label was like a magnet to spiritually needy people as they would stop by and ask a question or sit across the aisle or behind him and then meekly engage him in discussion.
Larry reached thousands of people in this manner. He tried to win the souls of many people who were “regulars” and time and time again they would stop at his booth to debate in a friendly manner or to seek God’s will on a particular issue. I remember he often told me of one Lawyer friend who was an atheist but loved to discuss topics with him, but as far as I know he never reached him for Christ.
His other ministry at the truck stop was nightly preaching at 6pm in his old Ford Econoline van in which he tore out the bench seats and added chairs for more capacity. He would drive by the line of parked 18 Wheelers who had settled in for the night with his sign boldly inviting them to come to his service. Even some local people would come regularly to be ministered to by his excellent Bible teaching and discipleship.
My big Brother Larry was more than a brother in the flesh, he was a Brother in the Lord. He was always on fire for Jesus! He was a no-nonsense Servant of the Lord. He knew more about the Bible and the Christian life than ANY one I have EVER known in my 40+ years of walking with Jesus. He encouraged me to memorize and meditate on Scripture, share my Faith with others and read through the Bible on a yearly basis.
He was an expert on the Prophecy surrounding the End Times and the Tribulation Period which you can read about on his website. He also wrote two books on the End Times, “The People of the Apocalypse” in 2007 and then “The Priesthood of the Apocalypse” in 2009, plus many other helpful pieces of literature found on his below website.
Most Christians that I know (myself included) have highs and lows in their zeal for the Lord and for sharing their faith. Larry was not perfect to be sure, but I never knew of a time where he grew lukewarm in his faith. Like in everything, he always ran FULL TILT and FULL SPEED ahead!
Just take a look at the picture below which I took of his Study when we visited him last year. That’s his well-marked Bible on the reading stand. On the right is his microphone which he used to record his “New Song” Psalm of the Day which was a verse of the Psalms he sang to a melody he created out of his Love for the Lord. Yes, some were sung out of key and a little quirky but they were done to encourage the listener to make the Psalms a part of their daily lives. He would include his “New Song” recording in a daily devotional which he sent out 7 days a week to his Truckers and others in his family like me plus many friends. I will play and treasure those little “quirky songs” in the coming years from time to time when I long to hear his voice.
Studying the Word of God was his passion.
Then look to the left, those are pictures of people he prayed for on a daily basis. Also, see the big book on the left side? That’s his Bible Concordance which he used to look up different word meanings so he could understand what different words and verses meant in the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the faith and said, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Timothy 3:16
At the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he again wrote to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:7-9
My brother Larry loved studying and preaching about the Lord’s appearing at the end of this age. Now he will have a front row Heavenly seat!
Let me ask you, will you, like Larry, commit yourself to loving Jesus and serving Him by living in the Word of God, Memorizing it and Meditating upon it so that you too can be used for His Glory? I hope you will!
This is a shortened version of my brother Larry’s testimony but is well worth the read!
It’s full of blessings from the Lord. Larry is a Chaplain at a Pilot Truck Stop on I-85 in SC.
My life changed drastically after The Lord saved me. Before, I was running from a violent motorcycle gang, before, my mind was consumed with evil being drenched continually with alcohol and drugs, causing me to live outside of the law, at times, running with the most raucous bunch of men. Then, I was building custom motorcycles living life on the edge. My slogan was “If you’re not living life on the edge you’re taking up too much room.” So, madness at the max ruled! But, The Lord in His great mercy wherewith He loved me, intervened, and now, all of the above are gone and my life is like the one: “Who hearkens unto…
Written by Larry E. Wolfe (edited and compiled by his brother Brian A. Wolfe)
Dad was working in Harrisburg doing interior and exterior painting and somehow decided that we should live closer to his work, so after a while we were movin’ on, on the road again. It was early in 1958 when we moved to Piketown in the mountains of Dauphin County north of Harrisburg. Mom and Dad bought another home with the help of our Great-Grandma Kate Wolfe and it was here that we, the whole family, lived for the longest period together as a family, early spring of 1958 to the spring of 1962, a little over four years!
It was also here that Pooch (Warren) and I received a sound high school education in a good school with the twins attending a modern elementary school in West Hanover township. Fred would start school down the road a little later, and have the privilege of attending one school system for all of his school days! Years later mom’s last son my youngest brother Steven would also have this same blessing of living in one place most of his childhood days, due to Mom’s determination to keep her boys together and raise them the best she could.
Pooch graduated from Central Dauphin High School in 1961, but before he did, Dad kicked him out of the house! This was a traumatic event for Mom and the rest of us kids. Our family was splitting up, it seemed, and turmoil abounded! Pooch moved in with his future in-laws, having dated his future wife, Thelma Moyer, for over a year and soon joined the Navy. But, he was still a strong influence on our family even though he was away for quite a while. He served his country for four years during the build-up to the Vietnam war.
I graduated in 1962, but three months before that happened Mom separated from Dad permanently and divorced him not long after their twentieth wedding anniversary, February 28th, when she was only thirty-nine years of age! Her boys were her priority, and she decided it was time to get a place of her own! We moved on once more into another old farmhouse near Grantville on old Rte.22 where we once again rented one half. This was the twelfth place we had lived in ten short years if you count our stays at the two Grandma’s! I think we were called to be ‘Professional Nomads’ hah!! Maybe that’s the reason we’re so comfortable ‘On the road’!
The twins and I finished our school year commuting in a ’48 Chevy Tudor Fleetline I bought for $75 from U.J. (Uncle John) but it barely lasted me the three months we needed it to get the job done. True to U.J.’s prophecy, the engine blew, throwing a rod out the side, when I exceeded its previous owner’s limits, which was ’50 mph and no faster’ I remember U.J. saying! Hahaha…that limit lasted only about two weeks, and the old Chevy couldn’t take the pressure of 65mph on new Rte. 22, the only four-lane highway in the area!
But, thankfully, Mom’s moving days were almost over. She gave birth to her sixth and last son, my brother Steven, while living there in Grantville in 1966 when she was 44 years old. She lived there for six years, the longest she ever lived in one place since she was a child, until Pooch bought her a mobile home in 1968 and set it up on a beautiful piece of land overlooking the valley, and it was there where she spent her most carefree and peaceful days.
Mom with her Boys at Fred’s Wedding in 1984, From Left: Warren, Larry, Brian, Mom, Bruce, Fred, Steven
She lived there in her trailer twenty-three years, some of the happiest days of her life, in a place which was truly her own, to move on no more…except for her final trip, the one she made to heaven in October of 1991…movin’ on no more…no more tears…resting in the arms of Jesus…Irene…our Mom found PEACE at last! In those sixty-eight plus years Mom spent on this earth, some would say she didn’t amount to much. But, when viewed from God’s vantage point, we will easily recognize that God used her to keep her boys together and influence them all for eternity! Now I’m surely not trying to paint a picture of Mom the ‘Saint’, because she certainly was not, even though she did become a saint, a born-again child of God!
No, she had her faults to which we all would admit, but her determined mindset to do what she could to keep her boys together and raise them the best she could was one of the keys to her great success as a Mother, which is probably the greatest single calling anyone can have here on Earth! Yes, it was and still is the miraculous working of God throughout the history of our family that is the MAIN reason why we can truly say today, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done!!” And as one Bible Preacher has rightly said: “It takes a thousand pounds of Preacher to equal one ounce of Mother”, Amen and Amen!
And so, the sacrificial influence of our Mom who loved us, as she depended on God’s grace and provision to raise us, became the very reason why we, ‘Irene’s boys’ as we are called by the people in the area, are living for God’s Glory today!
“The Life and Times of Irene Violet (Anspach) Wolfe”
By her son Larry E. Wolfe (edited and compiled by his brother Brian A. Wolfe)
It was the day after Christmas in the year 1922, and even though it was the day after The Lord Jesus Christ’s birthday is celebrated, one of the greatest gifts to me, next to my wife and The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, was born into the world. It was the day my mother Irene Violet (Anspach) Wolfe was born!
Born to Margaret Soliday and Clarence Anspach near Indiantown Gap, PA she was the first of their seven children, five girls and two boys. Mom’s Mother, Grandma’ Anspach was the glue that held together their family and Mom learned much from her Mother and her steadfast Christian faith which she learned from her Mother Grandma’ Soliday.
Mom, the oldest, was educated in a one-room schoolhouse along with her siblings, Minnie, John, Wayne, Dorothy and Betty Lou (Mary Anne [youngest] died as an infant). The school only accommodated the first eight grades! Did I say only? Eight grades with one teacher seems like an impossibility but it was the right combination for learning as these schools produced many top notch students, which if I may brag a bit on Mom, she was one of them.
She showed us her ‘Straight A’ report card many a time when we, me and my brothers, were draggin’ behind! We still have that report card of hers and the school picture to remind us of her determined ‘Get the job done’ outlook on life. You can almost see it in her expression in her eighth-grade picture!
Her name, Irene, means ‘Peace’ in the Greek language, but peace never seemed to be something she possessed. Her life since I can remember was filled with turmoil, for the most part due to her father, a reckless sometimes ruthless man, and her husband, a wayward veteran of World War II, my father Warren A. Wolfe. Although Dad was described as a friendly, likeable guy by those who knew him, he definitely came home from the war, a different guy, with a multitude of bad habits including a dependence on alcohol. Drink and the surrounding lifestyle it brings wrecked our home for it was his priority, not his family.
Mom had to go to work to pay the bills and put food on the table before I was in school, and that was only the beginning! We lived in Fredericksburg, PA then, although Dad and Uncle, my mom’s Uncle John, tried to make it in D.C. working in a large supermarket, while we commuted, movin’ on, from an apartment in D.C. to Fredericksburg. The ’41 Buick Mom drove back and forth on the weekends was the first vehicle we owned that I can remember, and Mom knew how to get us home in that ‘ol straight eight, the first car she dubbed: ‘The Jet’.
My twin brothers, Bruce and Brian, were born in October of 1951 while we lived in Fredericksburg. My oldest brother Warren Jr. was eight years old and I was six. We lived in a right nice Brick Rancher which they bought with G.I. Bill money. You had a choice, higher education or a lump sum of money. They chose the money for a down payment on our beautiful brick home.
We walked to school through the town of Fredericksburg, past one of the first cut-up poultry plants in the USA, but it wasn’t long until we moved to Ono, PA where ‘Butch’ later nicknamed ‘Pooch’ (Warren Jr.) and I walked to a one room schoolhouse just across new Rte. 22. We lost our home in Fredericksburg through a storm window scam which caused us not to be able to make the mortgage and the payment on the windows. So, our home was sold, and we used the minimal equity to buy another place in the area.
The twins were still in their high-chairs, just one-year old babies, when we arrived in Ono, only a few miles from Fredericksburg. Pooch and I didn’t realize it then, but Dad was now ‘On the run’, owing money to other creditors! Before we knew it we were living in Annville, renting a house on Sheridan Avenue, no longer owning our home as Dad drank away the money from the sale of our house in Ono. All this in just a few short years…the spring of 1952 to the winter of 1953!
We stayed in Annville for only a couple of months it seemed, and suddenly one day when we came home from school, Dad and Mom were packing up for yet another move, throwing ‘stuff’ into cardboard boxes! The dreadful toll it took on Mom was beginning to surface. She lost most of her lovely belongings and all of her dreams in just a few short but tragic years. It was now the summer of 1954 our next destination was a two-story frame house ‘In the curve’ back in Greenpoint, a few miles from Dad’s home and birthplace.
December 14th, 1954 Mom had a ‘Nervous breakdown’ and was committed to Wernersville, the state mental institution! Pooch was eleven and I was almost ten, and we moved in with Grandma’ Harriet my Dad’s mother who lived in Greenpoint. The twins just turned three years old and they went to Mom’s family. She was released six months later and briefly moved in with her parents, Grandma’ and Grandpa’ Anspach and my Aunt Betty mom’s youngest sister who was just a few months younger than Pooch. This was Mom’s attempt to get away from Dad, and, of course us four kids went with her.
Dad and Mom were now separated. A few weeks later we moved into Billy Stichler’s ‘Trolley-car like’ three rooms in a row cabin in the Appalachian mountains just a mile or so from Grandma & Grandpa Anspach’s place. No running water, just a spring out in the woods, a woodstove, and plenty of wood to chop for us young-uns’! I can still remember the Christmas we spent there in 1955, Pooch’s most memorable he told me recently.
He and I went out into the snowy woods looking for a Christmas tree that would be suitable for Mom and us kids. We topped a few hemlocks after we couldn’t find anything else, and finally, chilled to the bone, we dragged (one of the topped hemlocks) home. With scarcely any of her belongings intact after the harrowing experiences she had gone through in just the past couple of years, Mom gathered ‘Her boys’ together and we had a Christmas regardless of how the outward circumstances seemed!
But, Mom wasn’t really in the best mental/spiritual condition after her stay in Wernersville, and the ‘Cabin experience’ was really hectic with Mom driving Pooch and I to school in Hershey, saying that the ‘One room school’ where she went to school wasn’t good enough for her boys. Her old one room schoolhouse a couple of miles down the road is where Pooch and I were going to school at the time. The twins turned four while we lived there and finally got rid of their baby bottles, throwing them out into the deep snow one wintry afternoon!
I remember Dad visiting on one occasion driving a black ’40 Ford four door sedan, and after the dust cleared, he went on his way with one half of the windshield broken thanks to Mom’s kitchen pot which she threw at him as he backed out the driveway! Mom and Dad somehow reconciled, and eventually they got back together early in 1956. Mom was only thirty-three! What a life!
We were movin’ on, on the road again, moving to a huge farmhouse north of Annville we called Herr’s, which was the name of the other family that rented the opposite side. It was while we lived there in the spring of 1956 that Grandpa A. J. Wolfe (Our Great-Grandpa who owned the store in Greenpoint) died! It was the first death in the family that I can remember and it had a somber effect on us all, especially me as I spent a few summer’s day at Grandpa’ and Grandma’ Wolfe’s place enjoying the beauty and blessedness that was there.
We stayed at Herr’s less than a year, once again movin’ on, on the road again, moving into a garage on old Rte 22 near Ono that had an upstairs where we slept. That’s right…a GARAGE! The downstairs was wide open, concrete floors, with a garage door on one wall. I distinctly remember waking up one morning and all of us were covered in soot! Black faces and all! Obviously, our crude oil furnace had malfunctioned during the night. Our guardian angels must have been working overtime for Irene’s Boys!
It was now the winter of 1957 and Mom’s fifth child, my brother Frederick John, was born on February 21st. Pooch and I treated Freddy like a new toy when he was in his playpen, flashing the camera causing him to throw back his arms…he hasn’t gotten over it since, HAH! Grandma Harriet was there to help Mom during the first few weeks of Fred’s life, and handily caught Pooch and me playing hooky from school to boot!
The twins would turn six in October so off to school they went in September. You guessed it, a one room school was where they started, about a quarter of a mile from where we lived on old Rte.22. I’ll never forget the day Mom dressed them and they just walked out the door, by themselves, off to school as though they had been doing it for years! But, that was life in the ‘50’s.
Written by Larry E. Wolfe (edited and compiled by his brother Brian)
Grandpa at the store was the first of our ancestors to live during our lifetime. My older brother Warren and I spent many a summer at the store ‘helping’ Grandpa and Grandma take care of business…yeah…right! It was a real treat to spend time at the store. Grandma had a beautiful flower garden across the street and the barn, summer house and house were kept impeccable. The white with dark green trim buildings were immaculate.
It was not unusual for Grandma to pick off a couple of pigeons from the barn roof with her .22 rifle when she needed meat for her Pigeon Pot-Pie. She would send us out to get them. Oh, yeah, she was no slouch with the gun, most, if not all, were head shots so that the good meat was not disturbed! The memories abound from those summers when Grandpa was in his late seventies/early eighties. He always seemed somewhat gruff in his manner when dealing with us kids, but, let’s be honest, most of our life was about doing fun things and his life was about getting the job done at his business!
However, I remember the last summer before he died he seemed to mellow somewhat when he and I took inventory of the shoes. Then he talked to me like a father and was very kind, gentle and personal in his manner. He surely understood more than he let on.
That was when our family was going through some very tough times, for 1955 was the first time Mom went to the hospital for a nervous breakdown and we had moved in with Grandma Harriet about a mile from the store. So, we spent a lot more time at the store which was the year before Grandpa died in 1956. Grandpa obviously knew the details and decided to take a more tender approach.
In the 1930 census Grandpa and Grandma Kate were living alone as their only son Clarence had married Harriet Zimmerman. Between them on the same road was our Great-Great Grandpa Samuel still living at the homestead with two of his sons, his wife Ellomanda had died in 1928 from complications suffered after breaking her leg . All three of these properties were occupied by the Wolfe family…three generations in a row…the only census in which this occurred!
Our father, Warren Alfred Wolfe (better known as Barney) was born the second day of May in 1922 to Clarence and Harriet Wolfe of Greenpoint, PA, he was their first child. Clarence (Uncle Junior) Wolfe, and Aunt Kathleen [Thompson] Wolfe would follow completing this family in 1930. Dad’s father Clarence was employed at A.J.’s store as a ‘truck driver’ for over a decade according to the 1930 census record.
Barney himself also worked there and listed his occupation as ‘truck driver’ when he was discharged from the United States Army. So, that makes me, his second son, a third generation ‘truck driver’ by inheritance! But, getting back to my Dad’s story, his childhood was marked by music, playing hooky and spending time in the outdoors trapping wild animals.
Just about forgot to tell of his ‘playing hooky’. For you younger folks, that is what we now call skipping school. He only finished eight grades at the school across the street from his home, and he was known for hiding under the big pine tree instead of going to school. Uncle Junior once told me: “I don’t know how he stayed under that tree all day long” and we all laughed.
Not exactly sure what he did under there, but he must have had a great imagination, huh? This could be the reason he only went to the eighth grade for Uncle Junior and Aunt Kathleen went on to graduate from High School. Maybe Dad was still under the tree when the bus came…this was one of the tricks us guys also pulled…another inherited practice…hah!
Dad got his nickname ‘Barney’ after he injured his eye during a sledding accident. The downhill sledding trail across the street from his home was still in use during the days when we lived with Grandma’ Harriet (1954). Dad had to get glasses and the kids called him ‘Barney Google’ which was taken from the lyrics of a popular song during that day.
Aunt Kathleen told me that Dad was the only child in their family to be taught ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’. I can remember Mom and Dad speaking Dutch when they didn’t want us kids to know the details. So, in a sense he was bilingual, for he was able to speak this local German dialect which should have aided him when he traveled within Germany during his service to our country in World War II.
On the musical side, Dad played the saxophone with skill. He bought his first sax in 1935 with money he earned trapping. He told me of the time when he found a mink in one of his muskrat traps and was paid ‘fifty bucks’ for it which was like receiving five hundred dollars in today’s economy. He was a mighty proud thirteen year old having the good fortune of bagging a mink.
This same sax was played by my brother Fred, my son Nathan, and I played it for a number of years in my brother Brian’s Rock n’ Roll band, “The Entertainers”, in the late sixties. It still plays well even though it is now over seventy years old! Dad’s musical influence permeated our family as did Mom’s for she could play the piano and guitar without reading a single note of music!
Dad told me about a skeleton he found hanging in the mountains during his trapping days. A local man had been missing for quite some time and Dad happened upon the remains of his body hanging by a rope tied to a tree limb. He didn’t mention how old he was when this traumatic incident occurred.
But, back to the musical side. When we were young-uns’ Uncle Sammy [Wolfe] the youngest of A. J.’s brothers would take our family to outdoor band-shell concerts. Uncle Sammy played the trombone, and Dad played the saxophone when we went to these concerts in the 1950’s.
Uncle Sammy would always give us a quarter for candy so we looked forward to jumping in his butterscotch colored 1939 four door Dodge until one day Dad was driving and going faster than Uncle Sammy normally drove…and the engine blew up on New 22 as we headed for the band-shell in Bethel!! Not good, to say the least, Uncle Sammy was not a happy camper!
Dad had five saxophones, a bass, a baritone, a tenor, an alto, and a soprano. The soprano was really ‘cool’ because it was shaped just like the bigger ones but it was only about 12-15 inches tall!! He would usually take a number of his saxophones along and had stands for each of them so that he could switch around depending on the music/march the band played.
He also could sing well and Mom was a great singer too so they would harmonize as we drove along in the car singing: ‘Side by Side’, ‘With someone like you’, and “In the Garden” (his favorite hymn) and many, many others. He also would sing tenor with his future father-in-law Clarence Anspach while he was dating Mom.
Here’s an aerial photo of where Dad grew up. You can see the church of God on the right, the one room school across the street and the home of Clarence and Harriet Wolfe in the lower left. By the way, Henry Wise of the “Blue Eyed Six” is buried in the Church of God’s cemetery.
As a young teenager Barney had a peculiar practice of attending the revival meetings at the Church of God which was also across the road from his home. He told of the time when he and his buddy Earl Fake sat in the back row poking fun at the goings on during the service but when the preaching was over he went up to the altar.
He also regularly attended the Chapel which was founded by his Great-Grandfather, Samuel Wolfe, in 1907. Dad’s Grandfather A .J. Wolfe also figured heavily in the initial construction of the building and was a pillar in the Church until he died in 1956.
Uncle Sammy, organized and led the Chapel’s music/orchestra which included Grandpa Clarence who played the cornet and French horn. Dad and Uncle Clarence a.k.a. Uncle ‘Junior’ who, like his Dad, also played the cornet at church, with the entire band sitting in the front rows of the Chapel in those days.
All four of them played in the Annville Cornet Band during the thirties and forties. Uncle Sammy and Dad continued to play with this band during the late forties and early fifties which is when we attended the band-shell concerts mentioned above. The family’s musical influence must have come from A.J. for he was proficient on the piano having his occupation listed as ‘piano teacher’ in the 1910 census. He would walk or ride horseback as far as Tower City and Manada Gap teaching piano to the few who could afford this luxury.
With the great depression and the Stock Market Crash of 1929, Grandpa at the store would play a life-saving role in the days to come when the families in the valley ran out of money, property and hope. He stood in the gap and supplied them with what they needed to live. He was a very, very generous man…God blessed him…He in turn blessed others!
When he died in 1956 over $50,000 dollars was owed by store debtors. Very little of this money was ever paid back. He received a lot of land deeds in those years of the depression only to restore much of this property to the former owners after the tough times subsided. He was a wise, very kind and loving man…reminds me of the Bible story of Joseph… famine in the land…Joseph comes to the rescue!
One of the families that benefited from his generosity was the Anspach family who lived over the mountain near Indiantown Gap. Clarence Anspach, the father, would regularly come over to Grandpa’s store with no money to get food and merchandise for his wife and children…his oldest child was named Irene Violet…our mother.
So, Grandpa Wolfe played a key role in the survival of the Anspach family! This story was told to me by my Uncle, Wayne Anspach, born in 1930, who was one of the Anspach children. This man of God, A.J Wolfe, could have easily said “No” to those who were destitute…but instead he, like the God he worshipped, decided to display the primary character trait of God Himself… Goodness …which A.J. demonstrated in his giving, exactly like the Lord God of Heaven!
The connection between the Wolfe’s and the Anspach’s would pay dividends as years later when their children were grown A. J.’s grandson Warren Alfred Wolfe, my father, would marry my mother, Irene Violet Anspach, still a poor, but strikingly beautiful, country girl, from ‘in front of the mountain’ near Indiantown Gap, on February 28th of 1942 when they were both just nineteen years old. The infamous Pearl Harbor attack had been announced a few months earlier as the two of them exited a favorite movie house on Cumberland Street in Lebanon, Pa.
But, even though Dad got married, he was drafted into the Army in November 1942. Warren, my older brother was born April 13th 1943 and while Mom was pregnant with me she traveled by train with her first son, Warren, a.k.a. ‘Butchie’ to Brownwood, Texas where Dad was stationed. I was eventually born there December 31, 1944.
Sixteen days later Dad left for Germany to take part in the aftermath of ‘The Battle of the Bulge’. The Bulge represented the great mass of German forces that were assembled in the snowy forests of the Rhineland. This pivotal struggle began on December 16, 1944 and when the need for additional infantry became obvious to General Eisenhower, Dad was sent into the fray. He was in the infantry and was a mail clerk/carrier which was his primary job while he was a common foot soldier.
The 1940’s brought tragedy to the Wolfe family as Grandpa Clarence died from sclerosis of the liver October 27, 1945 just a few months before his 46th birthday. Dad came home from the war in Germany just before his Father died. Uncle Clarence tells the story of how he also made it home just in time from serving in the Navy to be with his Father right before he died.
He was addicted to alcohol…the moonshine brewed in the valley was lethal. He was survived by his wife, Grandma Harriet, and three children: Warren our Dad, Uncle Clarence and Aunt Kathleen… and his parents…he was the only living child that Grandpa and Grandma at the store had. It must have been devastating to the whole family.
Warren and Irene went on to have five boys: Warren Jr. (1943), Larry (1944), Bruce and Brian (1951) (twins) and Frederick (1957). Mom and Dad are gone now as Dad passed away in June of 1985 and Mom in October of 1991. For the most part us five boys stuck around the place of our roots, the majority of us living a nominal distance from the old homestead where Samuel and Ellomanda raised their family.
However, in 1980 after living the life of a drunken drug abuser for more years than I care to mention, God in His mercy forgave my sin and saved me giving me eternal life all because of His precious Son Jesus’ dying on the Cross to pay for my sin. A year later, my wife Betsy and I, my daughter Wendy, my son Nathan, and my daughter Andrea moved to South Carolina where I attended Bible school ‘cramming’ a four-year Bachelor’s degree program into five. After graduating we returned to our home in Pa. where I pastored and preached in evangelism for a few years. Since then the Lord has turned me to writing which continues to keep me busy. I also minister to Truck Drivers at a McPilot Truck Stop in South Carolina.
Although scores of years have passed since we spent those memorable days as carefree young-uns’ in Greenpoint with our Grandpa A. J. and Grandmas Kate and Harriet, our hearts still yearn, at times, for that small, tucked away valley in the mountains of northern Lebanon county, and all the grand memories it holds, not to mention those good thoughts of that great company of Wolfs/Wolfe’s who went before.
Written by Larry E. Wolfe (blog compiled by Brian A. Wolfe)
Just a few years after the Samuel Wolfe family picture was taken the Wolfe’s built a church, there in Greenpoint, called ‘the Chapel’. Samuel and his oldest son, my Great-Grandpa’ A. J., lead this effort in constructing the independent church where all could worship God freely apart from any denominational ties. This was their stated purpose for building ‘the Chapel’ being established in 1907. The sturdy building still continues to be used to this day.
However, this interesting story of the circumstances that surrounded the building of the Chapel was told by Molly Meck Long, a long-standing member of the Chapel, who lived to be 101 dying in 1995. She gave the following account to my oldest brother Warren.
At that time, about the turn of the century, the Wolfs were meeting for church services in Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church on alternating Sundays when they were ‘locked out’ of the building much to their surprise one Sunday morning. Having been barred from using the Lutheran church building, they then began meeting in the one-room schoolhouse just up the road. But allegedly, one of the men from Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church ‘spit tobacco juice’ in some of the school books causing much consternation.
While investigating the source of the tobacco juice, the guilty party was determined by the brand of tobacco used somewhat exclusively by a certain man from Sattazahn’s. So, the Wolfs, after losing the use of the schoolhouse for something they did not do, decided to build the Chapel just across the road from the one-room schoolhouse.
Another expanded version told by local historian Francis Ditzler whose family also attended Sattazahn’s at the time goes like this. The historian said that Sattazahns called a new Pastor and the Wolfs and Ditzlers wanted a Calvinist teaching Pastor or Reformed because the church is Lutheran and Reformed but they instead called another Lutheran Pastor.
He said the Wolfs and Ditzlers met downstairs during Sunday School teaching the Reformed doctrine or Calvinist. Then they started meeting in the Ditzler home where they ran a butcher business just up the road. When the numbers grew they moved to the schoolhouse and henceforth the two stories become one because Molly Meck told Warren why they got kicked out of the school.
However it happened the result was an independent church was established which taught the Word of God every Sunday and the Wolfe’s who remained in the valley supported it faithfully.
Not all Wolfs stayed in the valley as Edwin Martin Luther Wolf left the Greenpoint area before all these events took place moving sometime around the turn of the century to Derry Church which would later be named “Hershey” after the ‘chocolate man’ Milton S. Hershey. My wife Betsy and I visited Wolf Bus Lines in York Springs as we were pretty sure the founder was in our line of Wolfs. We struck it rich as we discovered that Edwin’s grandsons Bradley and Edwin were still at the helm of the business. They provided the below Wolf family picture and directed us to their ‘Uncle’ Walter Wolf who lived in Lebanon PA. Walter gave us the following account concerning things he recalled about his immediate family.
‘My oldest sister Elizabeth was born in 1902 in Derry Church which was later named Hershey. My father Edwin made ice cream for Milton S. Hershey. One of the flavors he specifically made for him was onion. Now, Hershey didn’t just want the onion juice to flavor the ice cream, he wanted the onion in it too, all chopped up, the whole onion! My Dad later moved to York Springs when Milton S. Hershey established a creamery there. He worked for him for a while and started an automobile dealership, garage and bus service.
We began in 1926 with a seven passenger Pierce Arrow and a Flint sedan. We took school kids from the country to York Springs. In the 30’s we went to Johnstown and bought two used school buses. Then we started charter work to ball games in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Then my sister Elizabeth took over the business. I drove bus for thirty years.’ He went on to tell us various stories of ‘Uncle Al’ (my Great-Grandfather) and ‘his boy Clarence’ (my Grandfather), as Walter still had an extremely sharp mind at 88 years of age!
It was through ‘Uncle’ Walter’s first-hand knowledge of his aunt and uncle’s on this family photograph that we were able to identify some but not all of the Seven Sons of Samuel. It wasn’t until my wife and I visited the cemeteries of the Chapel and Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church, that we were able to narrow down the names.
We do have this later photograph taken right around 1939-40. This general time frame was chosen due the late 30’s look of the cars shown on the photograph, also, they would not have been picnicking during the war which started in late 1941, and Edwin, one of the five brothers shown on the photograph, died in May of 1942.
The five brothers are standing by the roadside in the grove across the street from Grandpa’s store with their sister Annie. In order from left to right you see Samuel Jr. (or Sammy as we called him), Charles, Annie, Edwin (E.M.), Alfred Jacob (A. J.) and Walter Loy (a half-brother), with David (nicknamed Wooly), the only other living son, being absent.
David ‘Wooly’ Wolfe who remained in the Greenpoint area, also had seven sons, Albert, Harry, Francis, Charles, Paul, David Jr. and Lester. He was father to five daughters making an even dozen children, which was quite a large family even in those days. Albert died in 1939 at the early age of thirty-three, leaving his only child Albert Jr at age nine to grow up fatherless, but with Grandpa David and six uncles nearby, he must have had plenty of good instruction.
David’s Grandson, ‘Popeye’ (Albert Jr.), so nicknamed because of his once ever-present pipe, lived on the old homestead of Samuel and Ellomanda where Samuel Jr. lived, which ‘Popeye’ purchased in 1961 when Samuel Jr. died.
‘Popeye’ had five children, Dennis, Scott, Judy, Connie and Cindy. He was the only descendant in David’s line that we knew personally, having bought many a Christmas tree from him over the years. But, I’m sure with all of ‘Wooly’s’ children there must be many more of our relatives scattered throughout the central Pennsylvania area!
So whats with the Wolf Vs Wolfe spelling you might ask???
The Wolfe’s that stayed in the Greenpoint area added the ‘e’ to the end of their name for some unknown reason. However, my ‘educated’ opinion (through cemetery study and other various and sundry info) points to the likely probability that the ‘e’ was added by certain Wolfs to distinguish themselves from another family of Wolfs that might have been members of Sattazahn’s Lutheran Chuch.
Knowing that there was somewhat of a division or conflict between the Wolfe’s and some of the people at Sattazahns, A. J., David (‘Wooly’), and Samuel Jr., who are those Wolfs who remained in the Greenpoint area, might have decided to set themselves apart distinguishing themselves from this other group of Greenpoint Wolfs by simply adding the ‘e’.
We do know that they added it before February of 1902 because A. J. and Kate’s infant daughter Grace has the ‘e’ on her tombstone. In addition, all of the other Wolf families, with the exclusion of one family which is buried at the Chapel, are buried at Sattazahns. Samuel and Ellomanda did not take the ‘e’ as far as we know, but the only proof we have of that is the engraving on their monument at their gravesite. Edwin, who moved out of the area before the above mentioned division/conflict occurred, never added the ‘e’ while the choice of the other two brothers, Henry and Charles, is not known.
By Larry E. Wolfe (Great Grandson of A. J. Wolfe pictured lower right)
During the 1950’s, in the early years of my life, it was my great joy to spend time in the summers at the store with Grandpa’ and Grandma’ living in somewhat of a dreamland with all the candy and goodies my stomach could hold, not to mention the story-book beauty of the large, outdoor goldfish pond, the towering multi-story Martin birdhouses, the acres of gorgeous flowers Grandma’ would plant, the huge pines, shrubs and lush green grass as thick as a carpet, the farm animals including a big beagle named Jackie and an overgrown Easter rabbit (which I unknowingly ate!) and the meticulously kept buildings, painted dazzling white with dark green trim and a summer-house which housed a grand old pump organ.
The lovely two-story house was complete with working shutters, an artesian spring in the cellar, the dumb-waiter full of pies that sprang up out of the cold cellar into the kitchen at the touch of your foot, the beautiful open stairway with turned wooden spindles painted white, which led to ‘my’ bedroom on the west side of the house, where I would awake and just gaze out the window at the wonderful panorama of all of my marvelous, childhood wonderland!
A. J. and Kate’s first-born was a son they named Clarence, who was born on December 21st, 1899 just ten days before the turn of the century, making Samuel and Amanda proud grandparents. On the twelfth day of September 1901, A. J. and Kate’s daughter Grace was born only to pass away just months later on the second day of February 1902. She is buried in Sattazahn’s cemetery beside her aunt and uncle, Samuel and Amanda’s unnamed infant son and their young five-year old daughter Victoria May. Grace was A. J. and Kate’s last child, so their son Clarence, my Grandfather, grew up as an only child.
Clarence married Harriet Zimmerman who was a classmate of his and without a doubt the best looking of the young ladies in their class. Grandma Harriet, as her then aged eyes sparkled, gave me a vivid account of her wedding day’s memorable events.
Being married in the winter of 1920, in Lebanon, they returned by train through Jonestown to Lickdale, and then boarded a horse and sleigh, riding on through the cold evening and heavy snow along the Swatara Creek, turning left onto the winding snow covered road into Greenpoint, and then turning right just past Grandpa’s store, onto the ‘back road’ to Pappy and Mammy Zimmerman’s (Harriet’s grandparents) home, where they lived during the early days of their marriage.
This must have been quite a memorable and romantic ride for these two newlyweds. They were certainly a handsome young couple, as their wedding photograph reveals. They later had three children, Warren (my father), my Uncle, Clarence Jr. (we always called him ‘Uncle Junior’) and my Aunt Kathleen.
Although I never got to know my Grandfather Clarence, as he died in October of 1945 ten months after I was born, my Dad, Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Junior told me he was a good and gentle man, having a butcher shop at his home, and later working for Bethlehem Steel in Lebanon, Pa.
At one time Grandpa’ Clarence considered the possibility of learning the ‘funeral business’ because the Bavers, his Grandma’ Amanda’s family, had a prosperous funeral home in Hamburg, Pa. which Grandpa’ Clarence could have ‘worked into’. But, he just was not interested, as my Dad recounted the story to me, only a few years before Dad died.
The beautiful home where Grandpa’ Clarence and Grandma’ Harriet lived, is gone now, but the memories of the beautiful Victorian furnished parlor where ‘all humans’ (especially kids) were forbidden to trod, the huge floor model radio in the living room with the big round dial and ‘countless’ buttons, levers and knobs that could ‘pull in China’ on short wave, (would you believe the Chinese district in New York City?), the full length, front porch with the retractable striped awning and the hedge we kids jumped through (though we were told not to).
There was a long, narrow stairway off of the kitchen which led to Uncle Fred and Aunt Lulu’s second floor apartment where us kids could find refuge among the familiar cigar smoke smell of Uncle Fred’s stogies. He always had his pencil engraved tablet containing box scores with all the specific details of the Phillies baseball games next to the radio and the overstuffed bristle chair where he routinely planted himself when he wasn’t at the Greenpoint ‘Hosehouse’ (getting a drink). The coal stove had small orange-colored mica see-through windows in the door which fascinated us kids as we watched the coals burning within.
There was a bubbling creek behind the house where we spent summer days catching crawfish and whatever else we could get our hands on and a gigantic pine in the right corner of the front yard (where Dad hid when he played ‘hooky’) by the meandering country road that we walked, during the mid-fifties, a few miles to the one room schoolhouse, unless ‘Butchie’ (my older brother Warren Jr.) and I were playing ‘hooky’! It was the same one-room schoolhouse across from the Chapel where the ‘Wolf clan’ met some fifty years earlier for church services!