Stained glass artwork shines on ‘The Willows’ dementia unit at Muncy Valley Hospital
MUNCY – With a pleasant attitude and a kind heart, Muncy resident, Richard Trufant has donated a precious gift to The Willows, the Alzheimer’s Wing at the Susquehanna Skilled Nursing Unit. For he crafted a stained glass window piece with scripted lettering in glass titled, “The Willows” for all to enjoy. It is carefully hung in the visiting area on the second floor of the unit in front of a large window. It reflects soft green lettering scripted with the help of his daughter, Mary Louise who lives in Atlanta and is a graphic artist. Clear white textured glass encompasses the background offering a nice contrast against the hand-pieced lettering.
Mr. Trufant was inspired to bring the gift to the hospital after spending the last few years visiting his wife, Reggie at the care unit. He enjoys the hobby and in fact, it was Reggie who urged Richard to take a stained glass workshop when they were living in State College. “She always wanted a stained glass lamp,” he said with a smile. So he decided to take the class and rewarded his dear wife with his first stained glass project, a two foot lamp that he purchased with a kit.
Trufant said his hobby took off after that. He made hundreds of small pieces, and seldom sold any of his work for profit. All of his pieces were gifts that went to close friends and relatives. Every January he would begin making the items such as a three dimensional star, Penn State ornaments, and glass window panels, about 35 in all. “I made a lot of Nittany Lions stuff.” His specialty is to make favorite emblems from sports teams.
Before moving to Muncy in 2006 with his wife, Trufant worked for the applied research lab at Penn State. He was also employed by the US Navy where he developed homing systems for torpedoes used at the end of World War II. “They were used on the German submarines along the Atlantic Ocean,” he explained. Records state that 109 German submarines were attacked.
After the Navy, Trufant spent much of his time in Palm Coast, Florida where he worked for Cardiac Control Systems. He would put together mechanical designs for pacemakers. “My job was to get them as small as they could possibly make them,” he said, “down to a one-fourth inch thickness.” In the early 50’s he worked at a field station in Newport, RI.
So that they could be closer to their daughter, Joanne Cromley, who was a music teacher for 33 years at Hughesville High School, the Trufants decided to make Muncy their final home. It was also during the onset of his wife’s condition with Alzheimer’s Disease. “She is established now at Muncy Valley Hospital,” he said. “The Willows Wing is taking good care of her. They are doing a good job.”
Dena Dunlap, an RN who works in the unit said, “We were very appreciative that he took the time to make this for us. It brought tears to my eyes when he brought it in to us.”
For the past four years, Richard has been volunteering at the hospital, delivering Meals on Wheels, and visiting his wife every day at the unit. Often at night he will go to his studio which is in Cromley’s basement in Hughesville, to work on his stained glass work. He also attends the Alzheimer’s support group at the hospital, and now wants to help others with loved ones suffering from the disease.