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Knox woman leaves $1.35 million to community
By Rodney L. Sherman, CLARION NEWS Editor
Wilma E. “Wid” Logue “thought a lot of Knox and that is apparent from all she was, and all she continues to be to the community.”
That statement was part of the story Lynn Best told a March 27 gathering of Knox community groups as he issued checks totaling more than $1 million from Logue’s estate.
Logue, who passed away at the age of 99 on Sept. 15, 2012, directed Best, a relative she named as executor of her estate, to give $1 million to the Knox Public Library; $100,000 to the Knox Volunteer Fire Department; $100,000 to the Knox Civic Club; $50,000 to the Knox Area Ambulance Service; $50,000 to the Knox Lions Club; and $50,000 to Keystone High School to be used as a scholarship fund. The total of the bequests is $1,350,000.
But Logue’s legacy includes more than those donations – she also leaves a legacy of ardent support of education and community involvement.
Born Jan. 23, 1913, in Triangle/Knox Road area, she was a daughter of Warren Reuben Best and Twila Wesner Best. She graduated from Edenburg High School in 1930. She then attend Clarion State College, receiving her teaching degree. She also attended Duke University in Durham, N.C.
Logue began her teaching career at the Criswell School, a one-room schoolhouse in Richland Township. In 1937, she began teaching sixth grade at the White Memorial School in Knox. She married Joseph Warren Logue in 1943, and he preceded her in death in 1973. Together they owned and operated Knox Appliance and Gift Shop from 1945-70.
She was a longtime member of the Clarion County Garden Club, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution since 1942, the Clarion County Historical Society and the American Legion Auxiliary in Knox.
She was also an active member of the Knox Civic Club for more than 55 years. In earlier years, she was part of a group of members from the Junior Civic Club, which helped establish the Knox Public Library.
O, where did all that money come from?
How did a woman of modest background and business ownership acquire such wealth to leave to the community?
That’s where “Uncle Willis” Wesner enters the story. And no, Logue did not inherit the money.
As Best told the gathering of about 45 people last week, “Uncle Willis” was Logue’s mother’s brother.
“As ‘Wid’ liked to say, Uncle Willis came to visit for two weeks and stayed for 40-plus years,” Best said .
Uncle Willis left Clarion County as a young man and went west to work in the early days of the oil industry in Oklahoma and Texas. He later acquired 160 acres of land in South Dakota under the Homestead Act. There he built a small farm with his wife.
“He ‘tried to farm,’” explained Best. “They had a son, but he died and a year or so later, the wife died, too. ”
Uncle Willis left South Dakota and returned to the western oil fields for a time before coming for that “two week” visit at his sister’s home near Knox.
“Uncle Willis never left,” said Best. “He stayed for the next 40 years and ‘Wid’ loved that man.”
Best explained that while Uncle Willis never had much money, he had a passion for the stock market. Uncle Willis would often go to Oil City where he could watch the ticker tape report from Wall Street.
“He just watched and imagined,” explained Best. “He studied the market and tracked what stocks he would have bought if he had the money.
“And he often took a young Wilma along, preaching to her how to play the stock market, teaching her how to invest.”
Best said Logue took the lessons and advice to heart and followed Uncle Willis’ instruction.
“And she made money,” explained Best.
Logue also followed another habit of Uncle Willis.
“Every evening, Uncle Willis snuck away and had a drink of alcohol and Wid, being the young whippersnapper she was, had a shot with him,” Best told the gathering.
Best said Logue’s investments allowed her travel to nearly every corner of the world.
“And every evening, she drank a toast to Uncle Willis,” said Best.
Best told the group following the issuance of the bequests, he would open a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey Logue had left behind for the event and all present could drink a toast to Logue and Uncle Willis.
Logue’s $1 million bequest to the Knox Public Library will be administered by the Clarion University Foundation. Each year, the library will draw a set percentage from the bequest’s earnings.
In late 2010, the Knox Library Board of Trustees learned an anonymous donor was giving the library $120,000 to be used to purchase and renovate the former Clarion Forest Visiting Nurses Association building in Knox.
The Knox Library was able to move out of the Knox Municipal Building last year and into the new location.
The donor of that $120,000 was Logue.
Knox Library Board of Trustees member and Knox Borough Council member Tom Goble worked with Logue and the Clarion University Foundation to administer the $120,000 donation, however, Goble was sworn to secrecy at the time by Logue.
“It was an honor to be her friend and do her bidding,” Goble said at the March 27 gathering. “It was also an honor to catch hell from her.”
Goble said Logue wanted to ensure the perpetual financial health of the library she helped start those many years ago.
Goble said many other groups and individuals helped with the new library project, but Logue’s generosity and dedication to the library was the foundation of the project.
Knox Public Librarian Roxanne Miller said Logue refused to allow the library to be renamed in her honor.
“So instead, we will name the building itself the “Wilma and Joe Logue Building,” said Miller. “Wid was very involved with library and especially the children’s programs. We still ask ourselves ‘What would Wid think of this?’ when we plan children’s programs.
“We miss her very much.”
Best said about two months before she passed way, Logue called him to meet with her.
Best said even at the age of 99, Logue was still instructing him, acting with her power of attorney, where to invest her money.
“I went to see her and she told me to go get myself a shot of Canadian Club whiskey,” recalled Best. “She asked me to bring her a small glass of wine. I brought the drinks into her room.
“Doggoned if she didn’t toast Uncle Willis.”
© Copyright 2010-2013 The Clarion News, All Rights Reserved
In November 1934, the Knox Junior Civic Club decided to sponsor a membership library. Located in the front room of the Knox Herald Office on the second floor of the Wilson Building, the Knox Library opened on March 1, 1935, with an inventory of approximately 500 books and $500 capital and 75 members. Civic Club members volunteered to act as librarians and the library was open to the public 2 days per week for 8 hours.
In January 1936, the first paid librarian was hired and the library continued to grow through 1938 when it was open to the public 15 hours per week. With 938 catalogued books and 263 borrowers, it was decided to rent a second room and become a free public library. The first contribution drive for maintenance was held in October 1938 with good results. In March 1939, the use of the library was extended to the residents of Beaver, Elk, Ashland, and Salem Townships, and Turkey City and vicinity, and library hours were increased to 25 hours, 5 days per week.
In August 1940, the library was moved across the street to the Harry Klingler building. In May 1942, 477 books were collected for the Army. The book inventory reached 1,718, with 543 borrowers and circulation of 7,137 on a $1,000 annual budget through substantial contributions from community organizations and a door-to-door canvas.
In the summer of 1959, a revitalization of the library was desperately needed and a new governing Board of Trustees and bylaws were adopted. The library was closed for six months to move to the large council room of the Municipal Building with men, women, and high school students of the community giving their time in physical work, talents, abilities and learning. Carpenters arrived to renovate the old and build new fixtures. A charging desk and catalogs were moved from Carnegie Library of Oil City. Other volunteers cleaned, mended, catalogued, and inventoried books, and the library reopened in December of 1959 with a Christmas cookie tree (which proved to be far more popular than the books offered).
Through the following years, the library gradually developed a network of services for children with Keystone Schools, providing story hours, vacation reading clubs, and library visits for area elementary schools. For adults, a Great Books Discussion Group and art classes for 2 different groups. Both activities and services helped to stimulate, almost beyond belief, usage and growth of the library. In the early 1960’s, the Clarion County Library System was established to provide free library service to all residents of the county with the Knox Public Library serving the boroughs of Knox, Shippenville, and Callensburg, and the townships of Ashland, Beaver, Elk, Licking, and Salem. The plan was devised to use forthcoming direct county and state aid to benefit the existing libraries, which would be based on local effort, the amount of money expended through locally raised funds and government appropriations, including tax revenue from Knox Borough and Keystone Schools.
In November 1982, discussion was started on a renovation and expansion of the library adding 1511 square feet formerly occupied by the Knox Volunteer Fire Department. With a tentative floor plan, fund drive efforts began in earnest in 1984, including a variety show, Knox Home Tours, Keystone Elementary Read-a-Thon and letters to the community. By March 1986, Knox Borough Council and the Library Board of Trustees approved the proposed plans for renovation to include energy efficient windows, new doors, lowered ceilings, carpeting, new lighting, a kitchenette, new shelving, and furniture totaling of $53,000 in local funds. In October 1987, a grant of $11,000 from the Phillips Charitable Trust created the finishing touches, which included additional furnishings, handicapped access, media equipment, and the library’s first computer. The final touch, Knox Public Library aluminum letters were installed on the side of the building in September 1989. During the entire project of removing old walls and building new, painting, laying carpet, suspending ceiling and lights, moving shelving and books from one room to the other, the library was open and serving the community (even if it was a bit dusty at times).
Beginning in 2002, technology came to the library. Through the Gates Foundation, Clarion Co. Library System Federal LSTA, and Pennsylvania DCED, the library received 4 fully loaded, patron-use computers on a local area network server, a library automation system and 2 children’s computers, and later 2 additional patron-use computers. And again in August 2009, additional grant funding was secured from Gates Fdn., LSTA, and State DCED to completely update the current network of 7 patron-use computers and 4 circulation/staff computers with broadband internet connection and software applications, 2 printers, and a new circulation system.
In late 2010, the Knox Library Board of Trustees learned an anonymous donor was giving the library $120,000 to be used to purchase the former Clarion Forest Visiting Nurses Association building in Knox. That donation from Wilma "Wid" Logue, a member of the Junior Civic Club that founded the library, and others from community members and businesses, enabled the renovation of the main level. The library moved out of the Knox Municipal Building in late April, 2012 and, after almost 500 manhours by 98 volunteers and staff, the library opened at 305 North Main Street on May 1, 2012. Proceeds from the Logue Endowment, established in 2013, will ensure the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the library building. In September, 2015, the first major improvement to the building was the addition of a dormer extending over the handicap ramp and side entrance, along with a new roof on the entire building replacing the original. A new, more efficient air conditioning system and heating boiler were also being installed, replacing original equipment.
With preschool story hours for area children and children’s centers, 8-week summer reading programs for ages 3 through high school, book discussion groups, books on CD, large print books, magazines & area newspapers, DVDs, eBook and Audio book access, public access computers, WiFi, photocopy and fax services and over 19,000 books, the Knox Public Library has changed since its humble beginnings in 1935. The commitment to serving Knox and the surrounding areas remains the same.
"It is, after all not the few great libraries, but the thousand small ones, that may do the most for the people."