Glenda Kay (Damm) Trapp, 44, of Evansville, IN, died at 1:49 PM Thursday at St. Mary's Medical Center.
She was a member of Bethel United Church of Christ; was a secretary; and former editor of the Tri-State Packet (the quarterly journal of the Tri-State Genealogical Society). She was a published genealogist, and was a past member of the Scott Township Fire Department Auxiliary. She had been baptised, confirmed and married (to Glynn Alan Trapp) at Zoar United Church of Christ. Alan and Glenda were blessed with two children: Mariah Ann Trapp and James Alan Trapp.
All of us at the Tri-State Genealogical Society were taken by surprise when word came that long-time Editor of our quarterly, The Tri-State Packet, Glenda Trapp, had died at age 44. Most of us knew that she was suffering with heart problems, but reports of her improving health were encouraging. We are sadden to lose Glenda as a friend, and will miss her significant contributions to the genealogical world.
Glenda was the Packet Editor for about seven or eight years and before that time she was the Packet typist. She had typed up almost every issue of the Packet for 12 years. Our first Editor, Mike Cook, created a first class, top-notch genealogical journal and Glenda kept it that way. In September of 1991, I reported in the President's column, "The Ship's Log," what one of our long distance members wrote to me: "I really enjoy your publication [The Tri-State Packet]. I think your club has the best publication that I have seen in a long time..." This member summed up the work that Glenda contributed as Editor of The Packet. In Glenda's very last issue of The Packet, she wrote in her column, "The Pilot House," (quoting Bob Hope) "Thanks for the Memories." And now most of us can look back on Glenda's time with us and say the same thing to her. I would like to recapture a few of those memories with everyone.
I remember one time in particular when we were working in Union Township in an old cemetery that was flooded often each year by the Ohio River. We were probing for the covered markers. I was busy digging up a found marker and Bonnie Fehd, Glenda's sister-in-law, and Glenda was working behind me. Bonnie was working hard using a pitchfork to probe the topsoil. She was finding tombstones faster than we could dig them up, the pitchfork really worked well. Suddenly I heard this scream!!! I turned around and Bonnie was white with shock. She had accidently plunged the pitchfork into Glenda's sneakers (shoe). One of the tines went through the top of her canvass shoe and through the sole of the shoe and several inches into the ground. Glenda did not know what had happened until she tried to move her foot. It seems the tine went right between her toes without even a scratch. After we realized that Glenda was alright we laughed until tears came to our eyes. I mentioned that something had happened with a pitchfork in a cemetery in one of my President's columns of the Packet, but never told what happened, so TSGS members now you know the rest of the story!
As I mentioned in the previous story, Glenda Trapp took the job of transcribing cemetery gravestones very seriously. It always turned out fun doing the work, but it was going to be done right if Glenda had anything to do with it!
But, before I tell you about the burning cemetery, I want to tell you about Glenda working as a Judge of the 4-H Family Tree Projects at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Fair. I have served as the County Superintendent of this project since it began and the second year Carol Lantaff became my Assistant. That year, or the next, Glenda was roped into being a Judge of the 4-H Fair Notebook Exhibits. She was assigned the Clover Division (the youngest age group), these kids were the beginners and Glenda soon set the way these projects would be done and how they would be judged by the judges of the other two divisions. No one ever questioned her leadership in this matter, simply because it made everyone's job a little easier and more consistent year after year. Glenda entertained all of us involved with the judging of these projects with her keen sense of humor and wit as she discovered again and again the funny side of what a kid did or said in the exhibit. She never belittled them, she just saw humor anywhere she looked for it. She was a Judge for at least eight years. No one will ever be able to judge these projects with the intense serious level that she maintained and still point out tons of humor to us all. There is a reason for telling this story before telling the story of the burning cemetery, so now I can go back to it.
Several of us that were working on the Cemetery Committee found ourselves in Union Township again and Glenda was passing out axes, tree trimmers and chain saws to clear out an overgrown cemetery, so we could read the monuments that were hidden in the underbrush and thicket of small trees, briars and ivy. We worked and worked trying to clear all this mess when the farmer who owned the land suggested that we just burn it out. There would be no safety hazard to be concerned with since the cemetery was surrounded by a large concrete wall to protect it from flooding from the Ohio River. So, I was assigned the job to spread the gasoline around and light it to start a blazing fire to burn away the underbrush. Glenda was good at delegating such duties. The fire took off very rapidly, and me and my jug of gasoline quickly retreated to the wall of which I had a little difficulty negotiating my freedom, but as the fire shot up the 20 foot trees and I began to feel the heat of the fire I easily climbed over the wall. There was no doubt about it we were going to always go the extra mile to transcribe the information on these stones. Some of these markers were very heavy, but if it was lying face down on the ground, Glenda was not leaving until we got it turned over so she could scrub it down and read it. We would probe for buried markers, dig them up, turn them over, chop down brush to get to them and even burn the cemetery down to copy its hidden information. Glenda took hundreds of photos of us doing all these odd tasks of "unearthing" or "burning" out a cemetery's secrets.
One Christmas, the Tri-State Genealogical Society asked Glenda to make a presentation concerning the Cemetery Committee's work. Out came the slide projector and some very interesting slides on what it takes to really do a thorough job of getting this very useful genealogical resource available in book form. For years as the TSGS 4-H Coordinator for the 4-H Family Tree Project TSGS Awards Program, I would invite the Champion 4-H exhibitors and their notebooks to the Christmas meeting. Glenda was aware that these kids and most of their parents all knew me, so she pointed me out in the slides from time to time, showing how involved I was in doing genealogy work. As she concluded her presentation, she wanted to show one more slide. It was of me with the most outlandish look on my face fleeing from that fire as I was struggling to climb over that wall. That was at least 15 years ago and 4-H'ers and TSGS members are still talking about that slide and they are still laughing about it.!!!
Saturday morning (8 Feb 1997), I woke up early because I had to go to work. It had snowed and with it were all the thoughts that snow usually brings: cleaning off the car, slippery roads, coldness, etc. I felt a bit depressed, and remembered on top of all this my good friend, Glenda Trapp, had passed away on Thursday! While going through the drudgery of getting ready for work, I reflected on memories of Glenda hearing her chuckles and laughter, remembered her sense of humor, remembered some of the really fun times several of us had reading tombstones for the Cemetery books that Carol Lantaff and Glenda compiled. How could I ever forget the blazing fire we set to clear a nearly abandoned cemetery, nor the great pitchfork incident. I thought Glenda would not want us to feel sad or depressed; she would rather make us laugh. I was beginning to feel a little better about going to work and all. Later, as I was cleaning the windshield of my car, I noticed that it didn't feel cold outside and the snow did not seem hard to remove from the windows. And, great! the roads were not slippery. As I drove I noticed how beautiful the snow looked on the trees and bushes. The snow looked so majestic, pure and peaceful. It made me think of the greatness of the Lord and reassured me that Glenda was with Him and was at peace. Amen.
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