The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 5, 2013

Gift of a lifetime: Man receives quilt incorporating family photos

JOHNSTOWN — Karl Scott Jr. appreciates life because he has lived a lot of it.

At 97, not too many things get him worked up, but when he was given a special quilt Easter morning at Westmont Presbyterian Church, he was moved to tears.

Scott, a resident at Westmont Presbyterian Home in Upper Yoder Township for the past three years, received what amounted to a fabric of his life.

The large quilt contains more than 40 photographs focusing on Scott’s lifetime.

The quilt was made by members of the church’s chapter of Prayers and Squares, an international, interdenominational ministry, whose members sew pocket prayer quilts for those in need of solace.

Joyce Norris of Upper Yoder, an original member of the chapter, said the quilt was intended to bring comfort to Scott, who had a stroke three years ago and doesn’t get to church too often.

“We wanted to do the quilt for Karl to say that he is remembered, that we still care about him, pray for him and to let him know that he hasn’t been forgotten,” said Norris.

She stated that God moves in mysterious ways because the only thing she knew about Scott before tackling the quilt was that his favorite color was red.

After discussing the possibility of making a full-size quilt, another member of the group, Inez Salvia of Belmont, said she knew Karl from his days of operating a grocery store in Moxham.

Salvia knew that Karl loved daffodils and geraniums, which are included in the patch work.

Scott’s daughter, Linda Trautwine of Greensburg, was instrumental in providing family photos to incorporate in the quilt.

Photos show his store, baby pictures, high school photo, Army picture and one showing Scott as a toddler in an old car, most likely his parents’.

But the prized pictures on the quilt show Scott with his beloved 1967 Lincoln Continental, which gained a cult following after the car rose to fame in 1976, when it was used to carry Paul Newman and co-stars during the shooting of a parade scene in “Slap Shot.”

The quilt has more than 40 photos emblazoned on it.

“We use a special fabric that allows us to scan the photo and download it onto the cloth,” Norris said.

Norris and her husband, John, who calls Scott a pillar of the church, made arrangements to get Scott to the service Easter morning.

Joyce Norris said the Easter service was quite emotional for everyone involved.

Four quilts were displayed during the service, but Scott was the only one in attendance to receive one.

“The sanctuary was full, and we announced at the beginning of the service that we had a quilt for a special visitor who couldn’t be with his congregation each Sunday,” Norris said. “He was in tears and I was in tears.”

Scott is grateful to Joyce Norris, who comforted him throughout the service.

“She sat next to me and held my hand because it was very sentimental for me,” he said.

The highlight of the quilt for Scott is the four car photos, because the car brought Scott so much pleasure.

Scott is quick to give visitors to his room a guided tour of his life using the photos on the quilt.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said, clutching the quilt as he spoke from his wheelchair. “What wonderful work these women are doing with these quilts. Words can’t express how much this means to me. It’s a treasure that will be handed down to my family to keep forever.”

Scott also spoke proudly about his store that he operated at 608 Grove Ave. in Moxham.

“My store was the first grocery store in the United States to sell Russell Stover candy,” Scott said, pointing to the panel showing the storefront. “Prior to that, the company limited its sales to card shops, department stores and drugstores before allowing me to sell.”

The chapter, comprised of members of Westmont Presbyterian and other churches, continues making thousands of pocket quilts to inspire people.

They started making prayer squares in 2005 for troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The chapter sends its quilted items to Memorial Medical Center, Conemaugh Cancer Care Center and John P. Murtha Regional Cancer Center in Johnstown and to Windber Medical Center and Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber, to name a few.

“Since 2005, we have made tens of thousands of pocket quilts,” Norris said. “We sent 900 pocket quilts to victims of Hurricane Sandy, and we are about to send a box of nearly 800 to those involved in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown (Conn.).”

If Scott is any measure of appreciation, the quilts are a profound ministry.

“I see my quilt as a way to generate prayers and view it as my legacy. God bless them for making it,” he said.

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