My dad didn’t know much about his own father, Raymond Wolfe, who died when he was nine months old. So he took whatever information, anecdotes, etc., he could find and ran with them. In an e-mail Dad wrote in 2007, he mentions a letter Ray received while on the school board:
Dad [Ray Wolfe] apparently had a very strong personality, was well liked, and was active in the church and community. I know, for example, that he was on the public school board at a time when [my sisters] Sara and Mary Kay were both attending the parochial school in Delmar! (Somewhere in Mary K.’s stash of memorabilia there is a letter to Dad from a man named Harrington suggesting that Dad’s position on the public school board while his kids attended private school was somewhat of a conflict of interest. At that time Delmar had a parochial high school which Sara and Mary K. attended, and they always defended Dad in that one, but I agree with Mr. Harrington.)
In my dad’s stuff I found such a letter, although it’s not from a man named Harrington but from Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Kinrade—probably Archie Leonard Kinrade (1897–1990) and his second wife, Emily M. Coverdale (b. 1889). It does not charge my grandfather with a conflict of interest, but does chide him a bit and rather provocatively suggests that he does not have the courage to think for himself. Doesn’t necessarily fit with the image of Ray Wolfe handed down—strong personality, etc. Judge for yourself:
Delmar Ia. April 8 ’38
We were utterly shocked at your reaction at the school board meeting Tuesday night. I was under the impression that you were a man that would hold your own ground and stand on your own two feet. I did not think I was misjudging you when I merited you as a very capable man, who would be a benefit to the school and its surrounding society.
Can’t you see that we need a man who will use his own mind to do his thinking with and not rely on someone else’s gray matter, which is not always too good?
Mr. Wolfe if you had children in the public school I am positive that you would think differently. But it won’t be long until you will have and you certainly want to keep the school in the superior condition that it is now in. You have nothing against Mr. Reid have you? Not even any personal difference when he came into the school three years ago it was in bad shape but he pulled it through. So why kick him out when he alone is responsible for the excellent condition of our school.
You are a smart man Mr. Wolfe and I know you will think this over and do the right thing.
Mr. & Mrs. A.L. Kinrade
Here are scans of the original letter.
[July 13, 2013]