Meet the Friendly People
of Caruthers Corners
“I grew up in … a little town in the northeast corner of Indiana. It’s a rural community; about two thousand people, a very much hometown U.S.A. kind of thing.”
- Kevin A. Ford, a NASA astronaut
Note: The following lists are meant to be a handy reference for those of you who want to keep track of the characters found in the Quilters Club books. However, you don’t need to be on a first-name basis with all these folks unless you decide to move here.
We wanted to introduce you to some of people of Caruthers Corners. The leaders, the townspeople, doctors, teachers, firemen, and policemen. They are nice, friendly people. Maddy is proud to call them her neighbors.
The Town’s Benefactors
Even though a small town, a large number of the residents have deep pockets. And they have been willing to share that wealth whenever there’s a need – projects such as Perricock Museum of Science & History, Hoople Quilting Heritage Museum, Strays and Rescues Animal Shelter, Town Square’s Ferris Wheel, Home for Retired Circus Folk, Haney Bros. Petting Zoo and Exotic Animal Refuge, the Caruthers Corners Restoration Coalition, and more!
• Bobby Ray Purdue – One of the Lost Boys. Second wealthiest person in town, due to a cache of rare Grand Watermelon banknotes found stuffed inside a family quilt. He sold them to collectors for more than $200 million. Now he’s a major philanthropist.
• Capt. Perceval Perricock – A wealthy raconteur, former a merchant marine, and packrat extraordinaire. Known at the VFW as “Commander McBragg” because of his tall tales. Looks like the Monopoly Man. He donated his mansion to become a museum.
• Plus Boyd Aitkens, the biggest watermelon farmer in the county, as well as Boyd’s daughter Suzy Q.
• Also Maddy Madison and Maisie Walters, contributors in their own small ways now that they have their own Trust Funds.
• And most generous of all is Hilda Hoople, still the wealthiest resident in Caruthers Corners with her control of the Hoople Quadruplets Trust Fund.
Civic duty calls – and several worthy citizens have answered. Beau Madison did his stint as the Town’s Mayor, and now his son-in-law Mark Tidemore holds that post. There’s also a devoted core of Town Officials, as well as an active Town Council.
• Thomas Dancy – Known as “Old Tom.” The long-time Town Clerk.
• Percy Palley – The Town’s Treasurer.
• Ferdinand Gilmore – The Town Planning and Zoning Commissioner.
• Arthur Rutledge – Town Property Tax Commissioner.
• Eric Johnson – Tax Assessor.
• George Wilkerson – Director of Public Works. A big hunter.
• Ken Wurgler – Head of the Caruthers Corners Chamber of Commerce. A one-man organization.
• Martha Barnswell – Beau’s one-time administrative assistant. A very efficient young woman. Moved to Indianapolis.
• Rebecca “Becky” Marsch – Beau’s one-time administrative assistant. A little flighty. Becky’s first job out of high school.
• Mitzi Templeton – Mayor Mark Tidemore’s administrative assistant. A pretty blonde with a crush on her boss.
• Plus current Mayor Mark Tidemore, former Mayor Beau Madison, and former Mayor Henry Caruthers (along with his mayoral assistant Nan Beanie).
Businessmen and Merchants
Caruthers Corners has a miniscule Business District, mainly two short blocks of shops on South Main Street. But these scrappy retailers, service providers, and restaurateurs satisfy the Town’s basic needs. And what you can’t find here is only an hour’s drive away in Burpyville. Or one or two day’s delivery from Amazon.
• Daniel Elisha Sokolowski – Known as “Dan” to his friends. Proprietor of Dan’s Den of Antiquity. A wizen little man in his 80s, said to be a Polish refugee who had come over from Europe with his parents at the beginning of World War II. (See Deceased.)
• Casper Anthony Crane – Born Kacper Antoni Żuraw, he is a distant cousin of Dan Sokolowski. A former 6th-grade schoolteacher in Cincinnati. Tall and gawky, called “Ichabod” behind his back by his students. The temporary owner of Crane’s Antiquities Attic.
• Phil Kupnick Jr. – Owner of Kupnick’s Pharmacy. Took over business from his father.
• Ed Kensinger – Manager of the Food Lion.
• Ethel Kensinger – Ed’s wife, mother of Donnie. Works as a cashier at Food Lion.
• Andrew Linderman – Produce Manager at Food Lion.
• James Elwood – Bobby’s dad. Manager at Home Depot.
• Lorraine Elwood – Bobby’s mom. A member of the macramé club.
• Edward Jarvis Durkin – The straight-laced manager at Caruthers Corners Savings & Loan.
• Missy Yager – The snippy owner of Clothes Horse Boutique. A former Miss Watermelon Days Queen. Hank Yager’s sister-in-law.
• Bob Yager – Hank’s brother. Married to Missy. Disabled from a diving accident.
• Cindy Yager – Bob and Missy’s daughter. Also a Miss Watermelon Days Queen like her mother.
• Billy Hofstadter – Now the manager of the T-Mobile store. Once dated Leslie Ann Holmes.
• Malcolm “Shorty” Yosterman, Jr. – A clerk at Pic A Pair Shoes. Related to the Yost family.
• Donald Smyth – The manager of Dollar General. Head of Rotary Club.
• Patricia Smyth – Donald’s wife. Member of Garden Club and macramé society.
• Thelma Ann König – Waitress at Dairy Queen, clerk at Dollar General. Sister of Louise König (movie star Missy Montana).
• Betty Lou König – Mother of Louise and Thelma Ann. Greedy, wants a handout from movie star daughter.
• Brenda Sprunger – Head cashier at Dollar General. An older blonde.
• “Fat Karl” Schaeffer – A former Wal-Mart assistant manager, manager of Heirlooms Unlimited. A legend among watermelon-eating contest contenders during Watermelon Days.
• Wanda Schaeffer – Fat Karl’s wife. Lives near Never Ending Swamp. Owns a Chihuahua named Pedro.
• Michael Allen Palley – A small business accountant.
• Gabe Hilty – A barber. Owner of Snippets Inc.
• Mike Bjork – Owner of Mike’s Sporting Goods. Older brother of Bern Bjork.
• Bern Bjork – Manager at the DQ.
• Wanda Bjork – Ex-wife of Bern Bjork. Lives with Ted Yost. Son is a nerd who plays video games 24-hours a day.
• Benjamin McPhee – Joanie’s father. Retired Marketing Director at Eli Lilly. Chairman of annual Watermelon Days festival.
• Arthur Duncan – Owner of the Pic A Pair shoe store on Main Street.
• Dizzy Duncan – Wife of the shoemaker.
• Denny Duncan – Dizzy’s son, a basketball hopeful.
• Roger Christopher Bjorn – A State Farm insurance agent. Bobby’s dad. Bern’s brother.
• Elaine Bjorn – Wife of Roger Bjorn. Bobby’s mom. Bakes pies for shut-ins. An active member of the First Mennonite Church.
• Ezra Yost – Funeral home owner. Elias’s brother, Margie’s cousin. “Solemn and silent.”
• Elias Yost – Funeral home owner. Ezra’s brother, Margie’s cousin. “Outgoing and loquacious.”
EZ Seat Chair Factory
The largest employer in Caruthers Corners, this chair factory cranks out Amish-style straight-back chairs and wooden rockers. The irony is that most of the workers are “English,” despite the number of Amish who live in the area.
• Newcomb Lamont Purdue – Known as “N.L.” Bobby Ray Purdue’s older brother. Owner of EZ Seat Chair Factory. A skinny man with bushy eyebrows and thinning hair. His black suit makes him look more like an undertaker than a furniture maker. Perhaps the third richest person in town.
• Arthur Adelphi – Chair assembly foreman at E-Z Seat factory.
• Keith Blickensderfer – Fat Karl’s brother-in-law. A tough-minded bully. Father of Kris and Karl. A widower. Works as an assembler at EZ Seat Chair factory.
• Ted Yost – A cousin of Margie Yost. Works at E Z Chair factory as a joiner. Lives with Wanda Bjork. Rough around the edges.
• Ethel Osbourn – Wife of Harvey Osbourn. A cane weaver at EZ Seat.
• And dozens of other employees.
This fenced-off area out near the water tower is devoted to new businesses that have been recruited to the area. As an incentive to newcomers, rentals are offered at a substantial discount. Currently, the main companies that occupy space in the park are ZapData, Home Depot, and a small Internet company. The US Post Office takes leftover space. KemLabs went out of business. Even so, Mayor Mark Tidemore gets kudos for continuing to bring in new industry.
• Haim Goldberg – Gary’s dad. Owner of ZapData, a passive investment. Also the backer of Daisy Mouse Kindergarten and owns the T-Mobile franchise. Financially, he’s “doing all right.”
• Jerry Peach – An analyst at ZapData. A nervous type.
• Harvey Osbourn – Assistant manager of Home Depot’s warehouse. Very efficient by all accounts.
• Maxwell “Max” Käser – A/K/A Dr. Maxwell Warburton Kasper. Was the manager at KemLab. Shady past.
• John Eversole – A chemist at KemLab.
• Dr. Fred Gladstone – Senior Researcher at KemLab.
• Paul Ankenbauer – Researcher at KemLab.
• Edward Polk V – A/K/A Eddie Five. Nephew of Polk Sisters. Research assistant at KemLab.
• Dreya Shriner – Max Käser’s girlfriend. A live-in nurse for his mother. A distant cousin of Herb Shriner, the Hoosier comedian.
Health is considered important, although few townspeople rely on local doctors. Most go to the Medical Center that’s affiliated with Burpyville Memorial, an hour’s drive away in the next town. However, for emergencies the Caruthers Corners Fire Department maintains a well-trained paramedics crew.
• Dr. Franklin Delano Medford – A/K/A “Doc Medford.” A physician and acting coroner. Some patients find it discomforting that he both brings babies into the world and pronounces others officially dead. Doc offers a wide range of medical specialties from oncology to reflexology. An old-time movie buff.
• Dr. Harold Habegger – A local physician. He services a number of the elderly patients in town. An old-fashioned country doctor, Dr. Habegger still makes house calls.
• Randall Orange, DDS – A local dentist. He promises “painless extractions.”
• Tim Yost, DDS – A local dentist. Ted Yost’s younger brother, the one that went to college.
• Betty Wainwright – A homeopathic practitioner. Some people call her a witch; others refer to her as a “natural healer.”
• Sven Oberly – A pre-med student and part-time paramedic. A tad pudgy, but he can move fast in an emergency. “A good egg,” people say.
And the trained paramedic crew at the Caruthers Corners Fire Department.
Also see Burpyville Memorial.
Aside from its celebrated Saturday night poker games, the Caruthers Corners Fire Department also puts out fires. Not that there are many in this safety-conscious little town. Chief Freddie Madison has a small paid crew plus a generous number of volunteers, hangers-on, and potential firebugs as his disposal.
• William “Willy” Sutton – A full-time fireman. No relation to the famous bank robber. Sometimes called “Slick Willie.” Good at five-card stud.
• Buster Zinc – A full-time fireman. Has a wooden leg.
• Hans Bitner – The manager of Happy Times Mobile Home Park. Part-time fireman. Has an uncorrected harelip.
• Pete Watson – The retired fire chief. Succeeded by Freddie Madison. Jud’s uncle, Darnell’s brother. Still volunteers at the Fire Department.
Plus Fire Chief Freddie Madison.
Every town has its share of nerds, alienated teens, and juvenile delinquents. Here’s a sampling of those angst-driven outcasts you’ll find in Caruthers Corners.
• Kris Blickensderfer – A petty burglar. Keith Blickensderfer’s teenage son. Karl’s brother.
• Karl Blickensderfer – A petty burglar. Keith Blickensderfer’s teenage son. Kris’s brother.
• Herbert Benson – Known as “Herbie.” A local twentysomething stoner. Billy Benson’s older brother. Smokes too much weed. Deals a little on the side.
• Pincus Bjork – Known as “Pinky.” A gaming nerd. Son of Bern and Wanda Bjork. Doesn’t like Ted Yost, the guy his mother lives with. Misses his dad.
• Gary Goldberg – Uses cyber name of “Gary the Gollum.” Pinky’s gaming partner. Not so smart.
• Harry Gertner – Uses cyber name of “Harry the Hobbit.” An online gamer. Harry’s mother worries that he lives in a fantasy world.
• And, of course, there are such legendary local bad boys as Teddy DiMacchio (known as “Teddy D”), Bruiser Billings (real name is “Percy”), and Johnny Bristol (“Fast Johnny”). Gus Crackleton and others boys at the Crossing belong on this list.
Plus Tommy Truehart (“Beelzebub666”), that notorious Internet hacker turned Caruthers Corners police deputy!
These folks epitomize the term “Salt of the Earth.” Representing a variety of backgrounds – from alcoholics to angels, mailman to paleontologists – these are the people you encounter along the sidewalks or sitting on a park bench in the Town Square.
• Buckley Wellington Jackson – Beau’s sergeant in ‘Nam and a newcomer to town. Sissy’s grandfather. “Buck,” to his friends. “Sarge,” to his old army buddies. A stand-up guy.
• Mary Alice Hegler – The town’s former librarian. New archivist at Caruthers Corners Historical Society. Ernie Hegler’s sister.
• Ernst Friedrich Hegler – Mary’s brother, an elderly stage magician known as The Great Wizardini. “Ernie” to his friends. He has appeared on The Tonight Show.
• Marguerite Dockery Rutaberger – An elderly widow living on an IBM pension. Recovering from a broken hip. “Rita,” for short. Childhood friend of the Hoople Quadruples.
• Mrs. Elsa Grottman – A widow who babysits Tilly’s children. Her late husband invented the “Reverse Slinky,” a spring that climbs up steps, but it never caught on.
• Francis Morgan – A part-time waitress at Cozy Café. Mostly works weekends. A chatterbox who goes on and on; customers can hardly get in their orders.
• Emmy Buttersworth – Sam Buttersworth’s widow.
• Simon Andrews – A cab driver for Tom’s Taxi Co. Father of the Andrews Sisters. (See Twins.)
• Rebecca Andrews – Simon’s wife. Mother of the Andrews Sisters.
• Victoria Ann Martin – Known as “Vicky.” The art instructor at Hoosier State Senior Recreation Center. A short, pretty blonde.
• Lewis Pascal – Director of Hoosier State Senior Recreational Facility.
• Bob “Flash” Dougan – Freelance photographer. A stringer for Burpyville Gazette. His wife owns Molly’s Candle and Soap Shop.
• Molly Dougan (née Heidecker) – A handcrafter who makes a modest living with her Candle and Soap shop. She has organized a number of Amish women to help make the waxy products.
• Maud Purdue – N.L. and Bobby Ray’s elderly mother. Getting senile. Bobby Ray pays for her care. She doesn’t recognize him.
• Miriam Goldberg – Separated from her husband Haim. A “Woe Is Me” kind of woman. Has no idea why her son Gary the Gollum spends so much time on his computer. Wishes he would find a girlfriend.
• Mildred Gertner – Harry the Hobbit’s mother. Worries about her son’s online fantasy world. He never comes out of his room.
• Howard Gunnar – Oldest man in town, well past the centennial mark. Looks like a mummy. A couple years older than Granny Crackleton.
• Roberta Gunnar – Howard Gunnar’s caretaker. His only living relative.
• Ed McGonigal – A self-employed day trader. Lost a bundle in the last Market crash. An air of desperation about him.
• Alice Schroeder – Margie Yost’s divorced sister. The two are close. Alice is as plain as Margie is flashy (see Out-of-Towners You’ll Want to Know).
• Lucy Yost – Margie and Alice’s aunt. Mother of Ezra and Elias, the funeral home owners. Cousin Margie does the cosmetics for the newly deceased. Lucy sometimes acts as receptionist at Yost & Yost.
• Fritz Berber – A local mailman. Knows everybody’s business.
• Cornelia Tutley – A former bank teller. Now a recluse. Suffers from extreme paranoia.
• Lydia Lazynski – Champion quilter Holly Eberhart’s mother. An avaricious woman by nature. Related to former mayor Henry Caruthers.
• Bitsy Smoot – A Sunday School teacher at Pleasant Meadows. A mousy woman, but devout. She has a secret crush on Rev. Kilroy.
• Beatrice “Birdie” Longstreet – A ditzy old lady with a vivid imagination. Very confused. Sings in choir at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
• Melanie Heidecker – A housewife who sells various goods on eBay. Molly Dougan’s sister. Lives on Melon Pickers Row near the Madisons.
• John David Heidecker – Goes by “John David,” both names together. Manages the Appliance Department at the Wal-Mart over in Burpyville. Melanie’s hubby.
• Enid Gochnauer – Deputy Evers Gochnauer’s widowed mother. A dumpy woman, forty or fifty pounds overweight. Sings in the choir at the First Mennonite Church. Lives on Social Security.
• Roger Swartzendruber – Owner of Grumman’s Granary. Married to Doris. Margaret’s brother-in-law.
• Doris Swartzendruber – Roger’s wife. A math teacher at Caruthers High.
• Pete Turner – Owner of Turner’s Trash Heap. Runs a once-a-week garbage collection service called Turner’s Sanitation Transportation. Smells, no matter how many showers he takes a day.
• Darnell Watson – Town’s snow plower and street repair contractor. The uncle of Lost Boy Jud Watson.
• Francine Jenkins – An Amway sales lady. A widow, she’s now the secret mistress of the married Burpyville mayor.
• Veronica Kardashian – Dr. K’s widow. A flashy blonde femme fatale. A cougar looking for greener pastures.
• Ronald “Buddy” Flynn – Owner of Flynn’s Texaco. A handsome rapscallion, lives a bachelor’s life.
• Joseph “Little Joe” Flynn – Buddy’s younger brother. A convicted meth dealer.
• Lionel Wertzel – A mechanic at Flynn’s Texaco. Can make any motor tick.
• George “Possum” Johnson – A local hermit. Nickname comes from his supposed diet. Lives near Never Ending Swamp.
Caruthers Crossing has a small police department that consists of a chief, two full-time deputies, four part-time deputies, two dispatchers, and a couple of school resource officers. Due to a move toward efficiency, the police cover the entire county, there being no local sheriff. The CCPD coordinates with the much larger Burpyville Police Department, the State Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI’s regional office in Indianapolis.
• Peter Dwayne Hitzer– Known as “Petie.” Police deputy. Parents own Old McDonald’s Dairy. Skinny, all arms and legs. Very earnest. Recently married.
• Tommy Truehart – Police deputy. Lives with aunt. Master online gamer known as “Beelzebub666.” Evers Gochnauer’s cousin.
• Harry Teague – A new police deputy, formerly with Burpyville PD. A seasoned pro.
• Viola Fahrner – Police deputy. Called “Poopsie” by her boyfriend.
• Harold Turnbull – Known as “Harry.” Retired policeman.
• Fred Altermatt – Retired policeman.
• Myrtle Dobbler – Police dispatcher. Elvina’s sister. Nerve center of the Caruthers Corners Police Department.
• Elvina Dobbler – Police dispatcher. Myrtle’s sister, interchangeable with her look-alike sibling.
• Bromley Bentley – A part-time deputy. Ben Bentley’s cousin.
• Rufus Barnswell – A part-time deputy. Benjamin Barnswell’s kid brother.
• Carlton Yosterman – Known as “Carl.” A high school resource officer. Shorty Yosterman’s older brother.
• Benjamin Barnswell – Known as “Benny.” A high school resource officer. Married to Martha Barnswell.
• Mortimer Remus – Known as “Morty.” Former high school resource officer. Moved to Florida.
• Frank Crenshaw – Burpyville’s Police Chief. A good cop, by all accounts Married to one on Margie Yost’s sisters. Used to date Bootsie in high school (before she met Jim).
• Herman Vox – Burpyville crime scene tech. A fingerprint expert. A small man with thick bifocals.
• Dustin Poulty – An Indiana State Trooper.
• Neil “The Nailer” Wannamaker – FBI Special Agent in Charge for Indianapolis. A sharp-faced man in a suit and tie. A Tommy Lee Jones type. Started off with the Indiana State Police before moving over to the Feebies.
• Brian Robert Winkler – FBI Special Agent, a CARD team leader.
• FBI’s CARD Team – The Child Abduction Response Deployment team.
• Drake Hammer – Head of Iron Fist Security, a firm in Indianapolis.
• Rex Blouderman – Iron Fist Security’s Agent X-3. N’yen’s friend.
• Tom O’Brien – Iron Fist Security’s Agent X-5.
• Odell Lumley – A licensed Indianapolis Private Investigator.
• Fritz Bruckhalter – A night watchman at Industrial Park.
• Leonard Getty III – Known as “Lenny” to his associates. A CIA officer.
• J. Whipple McGill – Known as “Whip” to associates. A CIA officer.
• Plus Evers Gochnauer, a police deputy and temporary Caruthers Corners Police Chief.
Perricock Museum of Science & History
Capt. Percival Perricock donated his mansion to the town as a museum. It has a world-class collection of dinosaur fossils. One wing is devoted to the Caruthers Corners Historical Society.
• Dr. Henry Pendergast – A professor of Geology at Penn State. Known to his students as “Henny Penny.” Now serves as Director of Perricock Museum of Science & History.
• Dr. Howard Carvel Oakman – Known to his friends as “Howie.” Married to Smithy. Curator at Perricock Museum of Science & History. A paleontologist by training. Formerly with Field Museum in Chicago.
• Dr. Amy Smithsonian Oakman – Known as “Smithy.” Howie’s wife. Assistant curator at Perricock Museum of Science & History. Also a paleontologist by training. Formerly with Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
• Indiana Jones Oakman – Howie and Smithy’s young son. Named after their favorite movie hero. Plays with the dinosaur bones at the museum.
The people of Caruthers Corners are fairly religious, with conservative Midwestern values. There are five church groups represented here: Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Mennonite, and Old Order Amish. Catholics and Jews must go to nearby Burpyville to find places of worship.
• Rev. James Noah Kilroy – Minister at Peaceful Meadows, a Missionary Baptist church. Raises money to support a group of proselytizers in Uganda. Holds a weekly Prayer Breakfast.
• Florence Kilroy – Wife of Rev. Kilroy. An invalid.
• Rev. John Delano Martindale – Pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. He’s known for hosting bake sales, craft shows bazaars, homemade noodles fests, and silent auctions as fundraisers.
• Frances Martindale – Wife of Rev. Martindale. A major organizer of church activities. She oversees the United Methodist Youth Fellowship (UMYF) on Wednesdays and Sunday nights.
• Rev. Phillip Pillsbury – Minister at First Presbyterian Church. A widower. He hosts an ice cream sundae bar each week after church and a monthly “Spaghetti Western Night” that sells tickets to an evening of an old-fashioned western movie while volunteers serve pasta. Both are successful fundraisers.
• Rev. Aaron Beiler Klassen – New pastor of the First Mennonite Church. He’s getting up to speed with the Men’s Fellowship Breakfast, Hobby Fest, Youth Convention, and the Good Neighbor Road Clean Up Program. “We view our worship of God as a 24/7 activity,” he says.
• Hannah Klassen – Wife of Rev. Klassen. She’s busily organizing a women’s volleyball team to compete with other Mennonite church teams in the area. She also conducts the weekly Bible Quiz.
Teachers (and School Officials)
Education is important to the people of Caruthers County. While there are several kindergarten and daycare centers, as well as Madison Elementary and Caruthers High, about half the local youth are home schooled. The town had a public library, but unfortunately it was destroyed by the 2018 Northeastern Indiana Tornado.
• Angela Pawley – The new principal of Caruthers High School.
• Eleanor Pritchard – Known as “Ellie.” The high school Latin teacher. Former girlfriend of Skookie Daniels.
• Roger Moseby – Teaches Science and Biology at the high school.
• Lindsey Binkworthy – A local housewife who works in the high school cafeteria. Assists at the Hoople Mansion.
• Carol Clarkson, – A local housewife who works in the high school cafeteria. Assists at the Hoople Mansion.
• Bob Dorrety – Principal of Madison Elementary.
• Mrs. Emma Grundy – A fourth grade teacher at Madison Elementary.
• Mrs. Ida Burkart – At 82, still a first grade teacher at Madison Elementary. The school board had passed a special proclamation allowing the popular teacher to keep working long past the mandatory retirement age.
• Mrs. Margaret Swartzendruber – A teacher at Daisy Mouse Kindergarten.
• Marnie Zarn – A teacher’s helper at Daisy Mouse Kindergarten. Part-time waitress at Cozy Café.
• Justin Ford Harribald – A retired history teacher. Quite the Lothario despite his frog-like countenance. A Wallace Shawn type.
• Plus former Caruthers High principals Skookie Daniels and Fred Zwicky. And Doris Swartzendruber, a math teacher at Caruthers High.