Karen's Connection

March 02, 2017

Goodville Mutual has a reputation for being a family-oriented company.  But did you know that you can still find relatives of the very first employees working at Goodville today?

Karen Gingrich currently works as our State Filing and Underwriting Programs Coordinator, and she has been with Goodville for over 30 years.  She also has a connection that stretches back to the beginnings of Goodville.

Karen's great-grandfather was George Sauder, the very first president of Goodville Mutual Casualty Company in 1926.  George Sauder is known as a great businessman, but he is also remembered as a family man.

Karen knew her great-grandfather into her early teen years.  He loved reading, studying, and writing about local history.  Karen’s mother remembers visiting him and always finding a stack of books by his couch.  He would attain a fresh supply of reading material from the local library on wheels, which occasionally stopped at the house.  Karen remembers, “It was a special treat to receive books from him for Christmas."

Karen's mother, Ruth Ann, with her grandfather, George, out for a boat ride.  This was around 1950.  Her mother was proud to become his first grandchild to graduate from high school.

Karen’s two great-aunts, Virginia (Sauder) Hoover and Kathryn (Sauder) Hershey, are the last surviving children of her great-grandfather.  They are the younger sisters of Karen’s maternal grandmother, Celestine (Sauder) Eberly.  Virginia proudly reached the age of 97 this past year!

(From left) Virginia (Sauder) Hoover, her sister Kathryn (Sauder) Hershey, Kathryn’s husband Eby Hershey, and Karen.  Their father was George Sauder, and they are Karen’s great-aunts.

The First Office Employee

Karen sat down with Virginia this past December to talk about the family’s connection to Goodville Mutual.  It turns out that Virginia played a large role in Goodville’s success!  “She was the third office employee and was the only person in the office most of the time.  She did everything, except work in claims!”

Virginia worked for Goodville from 1938 to 1940.  She worked out of the “first office”, which was located in Wayne S. Martin Sr.’s home in Goodville, PA.  Wayne Martin was Goodville’s first secretary.  Karen asked Virginia how many people worked with her in the office.  She replied, “It was only me”.  She performed practically every job necessary to keep Goodville running.  The only jobs she did not perform were settling claims, which were handled through the church.

During this time frame, Goodville purchased a typewriter to keep up with the times.  Virginia taught herself how to use it and began to type every policy.

She sent out all the billing statements.  She “squared up the books” at the end of the month.  Occasionally, she would even answer the phones.

Her father, George, came to the office every week to sign the policies.  Virginia would then carry all the signed policies to the Goodville Post Office.  This office was located across the street from Goodville Mutual’s office, inside of the local hardware store.

Connecting the Past to Today

After reflecting on these details of Goodville’s past and her family’s history, Karen shared, “It’s been interesting to have this link back to the beginning of the company”.  Virginia and Kathryn are proud that Karen is still working with the company and “carrying on the legacy”.

With the photos of our past presidents lining our hallway, she often passes her great-grandfather’s picture.  She wonders “what would he think of all the changes in the insurance industry that have taken place during the 90 years that Goodville has been in existence”.

George Sauder’s picture that hangs on the wall in Goodville’s New Holland, PA headquarters.

But George Sauder is no stranger to innovative ideas.  With the emergence of the automobile and the destruction it was proven to cause, George and the other founders wanted to provide a way to help their church members be responsible for accidents.  They believed in bearing one another’s burdens.  For this very reason, Karen believes her great-grandfather would have embraced all of the new technology in today’s world.

Karen also believes her great-grandfather and the other founders “would be proud of the enduring values that are still a part of our business today”.  The strong roots that started Goodville have helped elevate us to success throughout the years and will help us continue serving our policyholders with quality service.