National Penn Bank: Boyertown Branch - Walking
National Penn Bank—Boyertown Branch: Mary Beary
About the artist:
Candi Haas-Simmons has close ties and fond memories of Boyertown. Her recollections follow:
“I spent many summers playing behind the Orioles or in the alley behind Third Street. My mother Mary was valedictorian of the Boyertown High School class of 1945. Most of my mother’s family lived in Boyertown.
“My great-grandfather was the president of the Keystone Band for so long that no one remembers. However, my grandfather maintains that when Pappy came to a part of the music that he had forgotten, he always stopped to blow his nose so that on one would know.
“That same great-grandfather had the dubious distinction of being the fireman whose leg was broken during the Carver Dairy fire.
“I have a tremendous affection for my family’s history and that of the Pennsylvania German people as a whole. I am so happy to be able to add to that history. Thanks for inviting me to be part of the project.”
Before I was born a Haas and married a Simmons, I was a Croll, a Frey, a Mutter, a Nagle, and a Freiderich. These are the names of my past, the names of my family and the names that link me with the cultural richness that belongs to the Pennsylvania German. My mother’s family came here to America before the American Revolution. They came seeking space, dignity and peace. They left most of the material goods they had behind. But it was what they carried in their hearts that would transform Pennsylvania and America forever.
The people who came to be called the Pennsylvania Dutch were rich in the spirit. They held fast to their art and craft, their skills and their love for music and education. They brought their teachers with their children in the hold of those ships. They decorated the surfaces they built and they lifted their voice in song all in the name of their love of God. The passion for art and learning was bred into their bones.
The family was every man. Their story is not a grand one. They were humble people. They were farmers and dairymen, eventually townsmen who worked in factories and stores. My grandmother rolled cigars in Boyertown and baked raised cakes during those gray days of the Depression. My grandfather worked at various factories. My great-aunt and uncle owned a store. They will never show up on the pages of a history book, yet they changed the world forever.
These are the common people. They held fast to the traditions of their ancestors. They loved music, art, and education. They held a songbook for generations because they loved the decorations and the music. They gave their time and energy to the spirit of music and have produced an entire family of musicians, one that still can be traced today. They devoted time and their energy to a myriad of civic groups from the Orioles to the fire companies. They broke down the walls of bias by embracing the first Catholic priest to serve the area. They generated athletes whose names still echo in the memories of those who truly love the game. They valued education and nurtured one child who overcame poverty to become the first to go on to college, to graduate cum laude. In the end, this family contributed to Boyertown and beyond in a thousand tiny ripples of cause and effect.
So, I am here today. I am the product of the countless generations of Pennsylvania Germans who settled Penn’s Wood and graced the land with their passions. Their faith, their love of art and culture, their work ethic, their desire to serve humanity and their commitment to education still resonate in my blood. Mary Beary is an homage to their lives and most particularly Mary C. Haas, my mother. She is gone but she will always be with us. She lives in our lives and our hearts because she changed our lives by her gentle grace and steely mind. She was truly Mary Beary.
Mary Beary: The “Distlebear”
This bear is a labor of love and honor, undertaken for my late mother Mary Croll Haas. It is my intention to honor her Pennsylvania German heritage through the designs I have selected for the bear.
Mary Beary’s imagery has been borrowed and adapted from three separate places. The first and primary source is a songbook that belonged to my family. The work was created by the Hereford Artist in the early eighteen hundreds and was given to a family ancestor.
The secondary image is from the 1945 Bear Yearbook, my mother’s graduating class. She was Valedictorian of that class. They used a Pennsylvania German theme for the decorations.
The third source is the National Penn logo, the stylized
tulip associated with the Pennsylvania German culture. All
three designs are worked together to form an integrated pattern
that I hope will pay tribute to my mother, her family and
our Pennsylvania German heritage. Candi Haas-Simmons April
National Penn Bank
Bear Fever owes assorted folks at National Penn Bank lots and lots of bear hugs. Our first three hugs are go to National Penn Bank for our very first orders for bears. Not one bear…three! The bank demonstrated their belief in our project where and when it counted the most. We can’t thank you enough.
National Penn Bank’s bears were placed at three different branches: watching over Boyertown at the Boyertown branch, is “Mary Beary” created by Candi Haas-Simmons ; “Paws” guards the Bally branch, created by mural artist Bob Williams; and at the New Hanover branch, decorated by Mary Chisak, stands “Bella,” a bear with images from nature representing the eastern part of the United States on one side and images from the western landscape on the other.
Catharine Bower, speaking for National Penn Bank, noted that National Bank became involved with the Bear Fever project “because we believe in supporting the civic and cultural lives of our communities and Bear Fever certainly fit that criteria.”
She added, “I think the bears will bring a smile to peoples' faces and serve as a reminder of what a good idea, combined with energy and focus, can bring to a community.” She expressed the bank’s appreciation for the “opportunity to work with such talented artists, who skillfully incorporated our signature tulip into their beautiful designs.”
We owe another hug to National Penn Bank for allowing Townie, one of our first two bears—one of our prototypes—to live in its Boyertown branch lobby all last summer and fall. To help our sponsorship team, the bank provided a convenient, well-known place to send folks who were considering sponsoring a bear. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” they say; and seeing a real Bear Fever bear “in person” was worth a million of them.
Promoting assorted community projects is certainly one of the things Bear Fever loves best about National Penn Bank. The Boyertown Holiday Open House Tour, Movies Under the Stars, Dick Powell’s PCTV video features about Bear Fever and Building a Better Boyertown, the March 2005 Coming Out of Hibernation event are just a few recent projects close to the heart of Bear Fever that National Penn Bank has helped to support in the past few years.
And Bear Fever thanks National Penn Bank for its assistance in installation: not only did the bank assume the installation of their own bears, but the bank’s team helped us secure the cement pads for 12 additional bears. People helping people helping their community: that’s what we appreciate about our hometown bank. –Candi Haas-Simmons