Retired professor gives 1967 Beetle to EMUBy Jim Bishop Eastern Mennonite University
HARRISONBURG, Va. — At 88, Margaret Martin Gehman has lost a little of her trademark drive, largely because she has parted with a faithful friend.
Gehman has donated her trusty, albeit a bit rusty, mechanical steed — a blue 1967 Volkswagen Beetle — to Eastern Mennonite University, where she served with distinction on the faculty for five decades.
Gehman taught art and physical education from 1944 to 1987 but continued teaching a watercolor course until 1996. During that time she exemplified the moniker bestowed on her by a student — “Speedy.”
“I wasn’t using the car very often these days and decided it was too much upkeep and not good stewardship to hang on to it,” Gehman said.
“I have transportation where I need to go, including Sundays to Gospel Hill Mennonite Church in western Rockingham County, and didn’t want to either cause an accident or have someone run into me, so why not give it away?”
In so doing, Gehman gave up her driving privileges.
“EMU has been good to me over the years, and this is another way I can express my appreciation,” said Gehman, a longtime donor to the university fund and capital projects.
She established the Margaret Martin Gehman Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide financial aid for physical education and art students.
The VW joined the Martin-Gehman family the same time that Margaret and Ernest G. (E.G.) Gehman were joined in marriage, July 27, 1967, at the Mennonite World Conference assembly in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
At the time, Ernest Gehman was professor of German at EMU and already in Germany doing family research.
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