Time changes for EMC walnut tree

Moses Slabaugh points out features on the clock to EMC President Richard Detweiler. (Photo by Allen Litten, Daily News-Record)

A walnut tree that grew near the original buildings of Eastern Mennonite College has been returned to the school as a piece of art.

Tuesday, the Rev. Moses Slabaugh of Park View presented EMC President Richard C. Detweiler a grandfather’s clock which Slabaugh made from the tree.

The clock has been placed in the President’s Room of the EMC library but will be moved later into Detweiler’s office.

Slabaugh, a 1940 EMC graduate and a retired Virginia Mennonite Conference minister, has made 18 clocks during his lifetime, including one for each of his four children.

His most recent project began about three years ago when he discovered a walnut tree which had been downed in a storm at Park Woods.

Slabaugh struck a deal with EMC – in exchange for the tree, he would return to the school a grandfather’s clock made from its wood. He also made two other clocks from the tree.

The only stipulation Slabaugh put on the arrangement was that there be no time limit for completing the project – a concession to his age, he said.

The clock stands 84 inches high – the standard height of a grandfather’s clock – and is made of solid walnut. Slabaugh said many grandfather’s clocks made from kits have plywood backs, but he feels the solid wood back gives a “firmer chime.”

In thanking Slabaugh for the clock, Detweiler noted that it will serve as a reminder of a man known for “making the most of your time” and for his years of service to others as a minster and advocate for the elderly.

Originally published in the Daily News-Record, Dec. 1981.