What a pleasure to knock on the door at East Curtis Street in Stryker Ohio and be greeted by a petite, 95 year old, 4’7’’ ball of fire by the name of Margaret Boynton. Her smile and buoyant personality immediately make a lasting impression on an individual.
Margaret is a lifelong resident of this community and her love for it is very apparent.
She was born on September 26, 1919 approximately two miles north of Stryker on her grandfather’s 200 acre farm in a brick house that he had built a few years earlier. Her parents were Harry and Laura (Mattoon) Meyers. Margaret had an older sister, Ruby (Meyers) Hall that passed away in 2009 at the age of 102.
Margaret’s mother passed away at the age of 44 and her father was remarried later to Laura (Beucher} Meyers and they had a daughter together by the name of Mary Lou (Meyer) Baily.
Margaret attended school in Stryker and graduated from high school in 1937. Upon graduation she did housework and babysitting in various households throughout the community for approximately four years for income.
In 1941 Margaret married Lowell Robert Boynton who was a member of the United States Army. He served as a medic and was discharged in 1945. In 1962 Lowell received the Bronze Star for his service to our country.
It was at this time that Margaret went to work at the Spangler Candy Company in Bryan and she was there until 1947.
In 1948 Lowell and Margaret welcomed into this world a daughter that they named Lynda. Lynda is now married to Terry Wieland and they have one son, Robert (Robby). Through all of this Margaret has three great granddaughters and four great-great grandchildren that she loves dearly.
Margaret’s memories of Stryker over the years are many as she worked at the” 5 and Dime” store downtown from 1953 until 1969 then went to work at Spidel from 1969 until 1985.
It was in 1958 that Lowell and she built the home that she presently lives in on the edge of town. Margaret says that when they built it they felt they were in the country, but over the years houses have sprung up all around.
Margaret can remember and has recorded every business that has been in the downtown area over the years along with the names of the owners. As one might know there have been many changes.
Just to name a few of the businesses, Stryker had a skating rink and dance hall on the second story of Gurwell’s garage. They had a drug store and soda fountain, a dime store, restaurant, hardware, dry goods store, clothing store, jewelry store, dentist office, Drs. Office, barber shop. They also had a food locker, telephone operator’s office, newspaper office, gas station and several more over the years.
Margaret can remember the name of the folks that owned every one of these business and in most cases the years that they owned them.
There was a time when small town America was a bustling place. Especially on Fridays and Saturdays as folks got their checks and came to town for food and supplies.
There were also free movies presented and a regular merchants drawing for store items throughout the village.
But it was also a time of seeing folks throughout the community and sharing conversations, etc. Most everyone had a great smile and a big handshake or hug to share.
It was a world of little technology for many years, and so much news was spread face to face. Margaret says, “Back then you could tell by the look in someone’s eyes whether they were lying or not. Now days folks communicate by cell phone or text and don’t even speak to each other face to face. They really don’t know what they are missing as body language tells you so much about a person.”
Everyone knew everyone else and most everything about them both good and bad. It was like one big family living in this community. “We were always there to help one another in time of need and to share with one another in time of both tears and joy”.
Margaret says that there are five churches in Stryker; a Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, United Brethren, and Mennonite.
When asked where she attends, she says, “Well, I did myself a favor a while back and gave up driving, so one week I attend my Lutheran church here in town and the following week I go with my daughter to her Methodist church in her home town, so I guess I am a Lutheran/Methodist.”
Margaret is also very involved in the local senior center and is there every week Monday through Thursday and enjoys it very much.
She says it is heartbreaking to see the downtown area disappearing. She understands it is because of the big store competition, but it still hurts.
She also can remember a time when she could leave her car keys in the car wherever she went and never locking the house for anything. She says, “Times really have changed but I still love this town and my country.”
One still sees a friendly wave and a great smile and strong handshake here in rural America and Margaret would not be comfortable living anywhere else. She is a big part of Stryker and Stryker is a big part of her.
When asked about her health, Margaret says she has never had a surgery. As one looks around the dining area they will see an exercise bike. When asked if she rides it she smiles and says “Yes I do.” It’s just another great example of this 95 year “young” lady’s liveliness.
Her home is very comfortable and elegant with many photos of different eras of Margaret’s life and you can tell she cherishes it all.
When leaving, the question was asked of Margaret, What has your 95 years here on Earth taught you that you would like to share?
Margaret doesn’t hesitate in her answer: “To make a friend, you have to be a friend”.
What a wonderful citizen of this small northwest Ohio village of Stryker, Ohio.
John may be reached at