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In loving memory of Bobbe Hackman

Posted by on January 18, 2019

In loving memory of Bobbe Hackman

July 4, 1922 – December 20, 2018

It is with full and heavy hearts that we remember Eileen “Bobbe” Hackman, our much beloved friend and Deer Run hero. Bobbe served as the first Deer Run Director, from 1964-74. She set Deer Run’s standard for “Camping with Excellence.” Deer Run has evolved since her tenure, but you can find her fingerprints everywhere.

My friendship with Bobbe was one of the highlights of my job. When I first walked into her condo in Wheaton, IL 14 years ago, I had no idea how this lovely and wise Deer Runner would impact me. Life would take me to Chicago once a year and getting on Bobbe’s calendar was always my first priority. I treasured my visits with her; we could have talked for days. I loved her camp stories—the time they did a night hike up Mt. Washington (she admits that this might not have been a great idea) and when it was just girls eating in the Dining Hall. She was happy to hear my camp stories from the 1980s and to look at the current pictures I pulled up on my laptop. Every time I left her house, I thought to myself, “I want to grow up to be just like her.” So confident, so generous, so smart, so thoughtful, and last but not least, stylish‑way more stylish than I ever will be.  We exchanged many notes over the years and I hope that I still have them. She was always happy to take my call. I smiled ear to ear when she sent See’s Candies for my counseling staff the summer I directed Deer Run, and I was overwhelmed when she remembered my 50th birthday.

Close friends with Miles and Grace Strodel from Wheaton College, Bobbe was recruited by Miles in 1951 to be the first girls camp director at Camp Sandy Cove, located in North East, Maryland on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay. (At the time, Miles was directing Camp Sandy Hill, the brother camp located 5 miles down the road.) Bobbe directed at Camp Sandy Cove for three summers. After leaving Sandy Cove, it didn’t take her long to get back into camping as she went on to serve as the girls’ program director from 1955-58 at HoneyRock, Wheaton College’s camp, in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. While at HoneyRock, Bobbe started the candlelight tradition where campers, holding their candles, walked from the chapel to the pier. There was an anchored boat at the pier, which held a large cross where the campers placed their candles. Gathered around, campers recited verses, shared their testimonies, and sang choruses as the cross was towed across the water by canoes. Bobbe would later go on to serve on HoneyRock’s Board of Directors.

In 1964, Miles and Grace called her again. When Laurence Andreson (Doc A., Brookwoods’ founder and owner) and Uncle Miles started seriously looking for property to start a girls’ camp, Miles told Doc A., “If you‘re going to start a girls camp, the only person you should hire is Bobbe Hackman.” At this point in time, the Strodels had lost touch with Bobbe. They located her in Denver, CO and she agreed to come back east and start Deer Run. Bobbe served through the summer of 1974. She enjoyed the challenge of establishing new programs, activities, and traditions. Bobbe brought the tradition of candlelight campfires to Deer Run that we still enjoy to this day. (In the Deer Run files, there are notes of those sacred campfires down by the water—staff in their canoes at dusk.)

Bobbe’s staff in their Sunday whites. Bobbe is 4th from the left in the front row.

Bobbe was the epitome of class, always wearing “crisp whites” on Sundays to Chapel, (we might argue, she was the first person to be “Staff Sharp”) as well as white gloves for White Glove Inspection. She was known for always being available to talk to her staff and made sure each camper felt welcomed. Bobbe encouraged campers to be creative, to try new things, and to accomplish goals that they never dreamed of attempting. At each session’s closing campfire, she made a point to recognize staff and camper accomplishments alike. As I talked to those who knew her well, one thing in particular came up several times—they deeply admired her and also wanted to be like her. She was professional, authentic, full of class and grace, thoughtful, and hard working.

Bobbe was dedicated to education and learning. She completed her Bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College in 1944 and received her Master’s degree from University of Pennsylvania, both in the field of Physical Education. She started a doctoral program, but gave it up to spend her summers working at Deer Run. Her teaching career included Denver Public Schools, Assistant Professor at Wheaton College, and she served as an Associate Professor at Elmhurst College (IL) for nearly 30 years. Bobbe was not only the Chair of the Health and Physical Education Departmentat Elmhurst, but she also coached the women’s basketball team to a winning season in 1972-73 (10-4).

Over the years, she enjoyed photography, listening to jazz, bird watching, playing tennis, sailing her Daysailer on Lake Winnipesaukee, crossword puzzles, and travel. As a life-long learner, Bobbe enjoyed engaging conversation on nearly any topic.

Throughout her life, Bobbe was motivated and sustained by her faith in Christ and her unwavering trust in the love and goodness of her Lord.  She will be greatly missed by her friends, neighbors and family. I’m thankful to have known her. Her shining example and love for me will live in my heart forever.

Eileen “Bobbe” Hackman was born July 4, 1922 in Coopersburg, PA and joined her heavenly Father on December 20, 2018 at the age of 96. If you would like to make a donation to camp in her memory, here is the link.

 

Melissa Yonan is the Director of Alumni Relations for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run and Moose River Outpost, since 2005. First arriving at Deer Run in 1982, she can name the Deer Run Directors in order! These days she is busy planning Brookwoods’ 75th Anniversary. If you have camp stories you’d like to tell, she’d love to hear them, contact her here.

Love your neighbor

Posted by on February 9, 2017

In loving memory of Don Byker

At Brookwoods and Deer Run, we are blessed beyond measure to have such supportive and caring neighbors. Not everyone wants to live next to 300 campers: think cabin nights/noise, Changeover/unusual traffic for those that live around the corner from Camp on Damon Drive. You’ve probably seen the “Woodland Waters” sign many times, with the names of the families… that also call Chestnut Cove “Home.

Of course, this camp story starts before Don and Wyn built their house on Damon Drive. Miles Strodel was serving as Gordon College’s Athletic Director and Wyn was Gordon’s Women’s Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach. Miles, Brookwoods’ Director, had a particularly good sense for people and their talents; he invited Wyn to be the Brookwoods’ archery instructor. Her first summer was 1979. Even though Wyn was technically the one with the “summer camp job,” Don was her biggest supporter, helping set up and take down the range every summer, and everything in between. It was Don who insisted that Deer Run needed more shooting room and a much larger shed. He built that shed and would have cut down most of the trees if we had let him. Everyone that knew Wyn, knew Don, because they were a team, best friends, married for 58 ½ years. He loved her with all his heart and was by her side for everything.

Born in Iowa, raised in Michigan, Don became a New Englander, at the same time as having one foot (if not two) in the Philippines. With a lifelong passion for education, he taught at Unity Christian High School in Hudsonville, MI and then as a professor at Calvin College and Harvard University (PhD from Univ. of Michigan). Most of us are more familiar with Don’s entrepreneurial side, first as a business consultant at Boston’s Bain & Company and then Don co-founded Affinity Industries in Ossipee, NH in 1990. Don “retired” in 2001 and co-founded Dignity Business Partners in 2010. Retire? Our guess is that he has never worked harder or tirelessly than with Dignity and the Community Transformation Plant (Cagmanaba, Oas, Albay Philippines) a missions-oriented business designed to create meaningful jobs and high-quality exportable products that can transform the lives of the people in the Philippines’ Bicol region.

Let’s get back to the neighbors. God calls us to LOVE our neighbor (Mark 12:31). Don modeled this kind of love, God’s love, daily, for all of us. He did this immeasurably. I’m thankful for the love he put into our Leadership Development Program campers, as they worked side by side on Habitat for Humanity projects in Carroll County, Camp’s neighboring county. Don practiced selfless, humble and effective service to the world’s poor and forgotten. His heart for the Philippines is so deep, you could not count the number of people that he touched there, from the Grace Christian Mission School down the road from the Dignity processing plant, to the GCM school in Boso Boso, outside of Manila. I can’t say it better than Don’s Dignity partner and friend Stephen Freed, “It would be difficult to overstate how fully he reflected the character of Jesus, and how deeply he loved and helped so very many of us. How profoundly he will be missed by so many.” And the same is true for our Camp family. Don showed us what it looks like when you share God’s love.

Don is survived by his wife Wyn, his children, and grandchildren: son and daughter-in-law, Patrick and Ingrid Byker and his son-in-law and daughter-in-law Guy and Patience Wood. His grandchildren, Thomas and Helen Wood, have all spent many summers at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run. Wendy Byker Wood, Don and Wyn’s daughter born in 1960, has been in heaven since 1998.

A service to celebrate Don’s life will be held Saturday February 18th at 2:00 pm at First Christian Church of Ossipee, NH (50 Route 16B Center Ossipee).

In lieu of flowers, Don would wish for contributions to be made to the Scholarship Fund for Camp Brookwoods, Deer Run’s, and Moose River Outpost.

Donate to Scholarships Here.

or

Dignity Coconuts

www.dignitycoconuts.com/donbyker

I’m so very thankful to have had this neighbor, this friend, this mentor, and this brother in Christ. We will miss you.

If you want to send a note to Wyn, you can send an email to wyn.byker@gmail.com or send a card:

Wyn Byker

159 Damon Drive
Alton, NH 03809