October 24, 2020

Roger Grandstaff, A Personal Memory

Bachteler 2647 RogerG2017 2 600x800Roger Lloyd Grandstaff, "Papa Dragon"

by Orren Whiddon

Roger Lloyd Grandstaff, lovingly known as "Papa Dragon,"
joined the Ancestors the morning of Friday, October 23rd, 2020. He was 75.

Roger was a tangible link to the early days of Four Quarters, having first come to The Land in the summer of 1997 with his wife Carolyn and daughter Laura to attend one of the very first music festivals. In those days we had but one building, no well, no drum circle and only the barest rudiments of roads. Camping could be quite rough. The first morning of that festival I unbelievingly savored the smell of fresh coffee through the woods, and following my nose came upon the Grandstaff family serving free coffee to every passerby, sweetened with their well-known smiles. Thus was born the Coffee Dragons and a now almost 25 year-long association of the Grandstaff family with Four Quarters.

     In the beginning Roger refused any kind of help with The Dragons, but I scrounged water barrels, bigger stoves and coffee pots as the crowds rapidly grew larger. As his participation in the church grew, so did "The Dragons," with new tents, then a deck, water; and in time full power and drains with the Upper Shower House. Out in the woods the only magic stronger than water mysteriously appearing from a spigot is that same water mysteriously disappearing down a drain!

     Roger soon retired from his career as an Air Force Officer and in his mid-fifties was snagged as an advisor to our Board of Directors. Roger brought a certain rigor to Board meetings of the early years, and rapidly earned my respect and trust. In 2001 he was invited as a seated Member of the Board; in 2005 he became Vice President, and in 2011 assumed the Presidency.

     Roger was fully engaged in making the difficult decisions that defined the first two decades of Four Quarters. Our financial struggles that resulted in our purchase of the core properties in 2005. The huge amount of work installing the sewage and water systems in the following years. Our firm stance as an InterFaith organization and our outreach to a newer, younger generation of people. Lawsuits that enshrined the sanctity of outdoor worship and privacy in Pennsylvania law. During those years Roger was highly visible and present on The Land for every festival, every Moon Service, and every Board meeting. As President he greeted all while bearing the secret burdens of his office. Do not doubt the very real dedication of time and energy that goes with such a commitment.

     Roger did not shirk the difficult parts of the job, and there are many difficult times indeed when you are the head of a church like Four Quarters. It may have been Roger who coined the standing joke within the BoD that they wear the tee-shirts with the target printed on the back! He certainly created our prayer that begins every meeting by asking for guidance as "we make the hard decisions, the difficult decisions for the good of the Church"


This year marked the 26th Stones Rising and the 23rd Rising that Roger attended. That is a long stretch of years for anyone. As those years passed and Roger aged, he slowed down, as we all do. By 2017 Roger had retired from the Presidency and active service, but still advised the Board and intermittently attended meetings. Three months ago, Roger told me at the conclusion of a BoD meeting, that it was likely the last he would attend in person.

     A more recent Member of Four Quarters may only know Roger by name, but we oldsters know Roger, the man; by his actions, leadership and example. Steadfast in honoring his vows made within the Circle of Standing Stones. A rich full life, well lived, and well loved. May we all have such an epitaph.

All are invited to attend a Memorial Service of Honoring and to share our memories of the life lived by Roger Grandstaff; to be held within The Stone Circle at Four Quarters InterFaith on Saturday, the 7th of November, 2020, from 2 to 5PM. Roger's cremains will be interred within The Circle that evening.
     Coffee will be served.
     Feel free to call the church office for information.  814-784-3080 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.