by Contributor Mary Fox
Barbara “Barb” Van Scoit daughter of William, a school bus driver many years at Colonel Crawford; and Betty Gerstenslager Brown, an RN during WWII, a night supervisor at Bucyrus Hospital. Barb’s sister, Susanna Robbins, is a retired RN. Barb started school at Whetstone and went to Colonel Crawford in 8th grade when they consolidated. She was in band and played the flute and piccolo, sang in the choir and graduated in 1966.
Following graduation, Barb worked at Miller’s Drive In and the Clover Farm grocery. Next she worked at Swan Rubber for a couple of years. She married Robert Van Scoit who also worked at Swan Rubber. They had a son Robert Jr., and Christopher. She went on to work at Mac’s Drive In and worked at the hospital for two years in Respiratory Therapy and 14 years at the Brown Derby until they closed. In the meantime, Barb had a heart attack and didn’t work for awhile until she started with The Long Shot (where the Brown Derby had been.) Barb’s last big job in 1994 was at the GTE telephone company in Marion until Verizon took over. She spent 10 years with them until another company took over and Barb finally retired in 2013.
Barb was always very involved in community service and church. She joined the Bucyrus Hospital Twig #16, when she was 17 in 1966. They were known primarily for their baking skills, including the little quick breads. One of their most famous adventures was the Pickled Peppers (See Twig #16 in 2015.) Barb’s mom, Betty, was president in 1972 and they decided to make 14 pints of peppers. They turned out to be ‘hot sellers’ – cabbage stuffed with red, green or orange miniature peppers. 1985 it was a batch of 1,100 pints which sold out in 6 hours. By 1986, they reached sales of 1,200 pints. Lucina Cress grew the peppers from seed, cans were washed by hand, they had an assembly line, and they also canned other ‘yummy’ items. Many people helped with the process.
The Whetstone Grange was a part of the Brown’s family life, including mom, dad, Grandpa Thayer and Grandma Olive Brown, Aunt Lucina Cress and Aunt Marian Sprouse. Barb is now a member of the Leesville Grange, the only one left in the county. One of the things they were known for is how they championed starting the rural mail delivery, their legislative work and helping various charities.
Barb was one of the 4-H leaders for the Merry Kids 4-H Club, a county club specializing in goats. They had around 30 kids and several leaders, including Barb Nigh, Marcia Burkhart, Marcheta Gibson, and others. They had different projects, including sewing, cooking, poultry and all kinds of animals, except horses and dogs. They had a double booth to feature their projects at the Crawford County Fair. Barb served 15 years as a leader. Some of the members took the project in Genealogy locating their ancestors. This was quite normal for Barb; she has been a member of the Crawford County Genealogy Society since the early 1980’s. She served as their Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, and Board of Trustees. When she was Corresponding Secretary one of the big jobs was mailing letters to different societies and libraries about the Crawford County Obit files.
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Bucyrus is close to Barb’s heart, she has been a member since her baptism in 1949 by Rev. “MP” Paetznick who served the parish for many years. She was confirmed there, sings in the voice choir, and joined the Bell Choir when it was started about 30 years ago. She used to do flute solos and accompanied the choir or whatever was needed. She was a member of the Relay for Life Team and later became their leader until Bucyrus stopped having the project. They went to Mt. Gilead’s group until it ‘petered out.’ They even had a food stand at the Farmer’s Market at Crestline. Nancy Edgington started St. Paulie Pups, hotdogs, and then it was passed on to the Relay Team. Barb said they sold a lot of Paulie’s pups. Currently, Barb is on the Church Council, the choir and the Bell Choir.
Barb is known for her baking talents in many areas, including prizes at the Crawford County Fair. Perhaps she got her interest in the fair since her dad, William, was a part of the group who helped get the Arts and Crafts building. Its called the William B. Brown Building. Awards are giving according to the categories of items people enter to be judged. While they got a small amount of money, in the end, it doesn’t cover expenses. They auction off the baked goods on Monday night of the fair, they share with the fair and the exhibitor.
The girls in Barb’s school class get together, share stories, and reminisce about everything. She feels that living in Crawford County, growing up on a farm, and being involved in so many projects has been a good life.
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