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Stuby brothers insist: Painting the U.S. flag on their barn has been years in the planning

September 8, 2011

Lyle (left) and Gordon Stuby stand beneath the 13-by-25-foot painting of the U.S. flag on the side of the main barn on the family farm, Stuby Acres, along Route 119, North Mahoning Township. (Photo by Tom Chapin)

PUNXSUTAWNEY – Brothers Gordon and Lyle Stuby divided their duties when it came to painting a huge U.S. flag on the southern-facing side of a large white barn along Stuby Acres, just past Joyce’s Greenhouse along Route 119, North Mahoning Township.

“Gordon’s in charge of procurement and resources,” Lyle said. “I’m in charge of engineering and tech.”

“In other words,” Gordon added, “I’m the gopher.”

The efforts of the two retired school teachers — Gordon, a sixth-grade teacher in the Punxsutawney Area School District, and Lyle, a retired industrial arts teacher in the Bedford Area School District — have resulted in a 13-by-25-foot painting of the U.S. flag on the side of the main barn on the farm on which they grow hay.

They estimate that the barn dates back to the 1920s on the farm, Stuby Acres, their family established in 1955.

The brothers took only about two days to paint the flag on the side of the barn the week of Aug. 15. The timing of the work coming around the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is mostly coincidence.

“We’ve always thought it would be great to have an American flag on the barn,” Gordon said. “We’ve been thinking of that since Iran, Iraq.

“Everything just seemed to fall in place,” Lyle, of Schellsburg, Bedford County, said. “We’re glad it’s very timely.”

When the brothers’ parents, James and Eleanor Stuby, established the farm in 1955, the barn was adorned with a Sinclair Gasoline sign painted over many years ago.

Lyle said he took measurements and converted the proper proportions for what would fit the space — stars, stripes and everything.

“He figured it out to the eighth of an inch,” Gordon, of Reynoldsville, said.

The work passersby see today was completely done with spray paint – only a pint of blue and about a quart of red – although they would like to give it a once-over with some roll-on paint to further enhance the colors.

Once they painted the flag, the Stubys decided there was too much white space on either side of the flag, so they chose four words to reinforce their patriotism: Liberty, justice, democracy, freedom — “Powerful words to demonstrate what we are,” Gordon said.

Passersby don’t hesitate to express their approval.

“A lot of people beep at us, give us thumbs-up and take pictures,” Gordon said.

The brothers insist the flag is not a current-events display. It’s an effort that represents their family over years and years.

“Our family has always been very patriotic,” Gordon said. “I know they would be very proud of this; I know that.”

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