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EMU honors long-time basketball backers

A Harrisonburg couple was recognized during half time of a men’s basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 3, at Eastern Mennonite University for their “unending encouragement and support to the players, coaches and staff of the athletic program.”

Paul T. Guengerich, 95, and Marjorie Guengerich, 93, residents at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, received a “Royals Service Award” for their 42 years of involvement with EMU in a variety of roles. Gina Troyer, president of the Loyal Royals athletic support group, presented the plaque to Marjorie Guengerich. “P.T.,” as he is known to everyone, was unable to be present for health reasons.

The Guengerichs came to EMU from Iowa in 1964. P.T. served as dean of men, dean of students, registrar and an associate in the admissions department, retiring in 1981. He worked another 25 years part time in the alumni and parent relations office, retiring again in 2006.

Marjorie earned a BS degree from EMU in 1968 and taught first grade at McGaheysville Elementary School until her retirement in 1982. The couple then worked with another local couple, Norman and Dorothy Kreider, in establishing a Mennonite Central Committee Self-Help store on North Main Street, called “Gift and Thrift.” Marjorie managed the thrift part of the store from 1983 until 1996. They are the oldest members of Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, where they have attended since 1976.

David A. King, EMU athletic director, said that “P.T. was a walking encyclopedia of people’s names and family connections. He and Marjorie were regulars at nearly all home sporting events, sitting in the same spot where they could interact with people.

“They are persons of strong Christian faith, committed to the church and the education of young people,” King added.

Following the award presentation, Majorie rejoined her son, Phil, and daughter-in-law, Susan, in the bleachers to watch the EMU Royals defeat the Hornets of Lynchburg College in a nailbiter, 89-85.


– Story by Jim Bishop