Cover photo of UD dads and reunited childhood friends from Sarah Critchfield
News Staff Writer
Two University of Dayton students discovered during last semester’s Family Weekend that their respective fraternal grandfathers were close friends. After the discovery, they reunited their fathers – who were long lost childhood friends.
The UD campus is always buzzing with activity during Family Weekend. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins come from all over to live like a Flyer for a few days.
As UD students show their parents around their home away from home, they also introduce their families to their “UD family.” When senior political science major Rachel Carr’s parents came for the weekend, she introduced them to all of her friends, including Sarah Critchfield and her family.
Rachel and Sarah met and became friends through their work on Orpheus, UD’s art and literary magazine. Rachel and her housemates were having a cookout that Sarah and her family were invited to. Immediately after Rachel introduced her dad to Sarah and her mom, Rachel’s father asked them where they were from.
The Critchfields replied that they are from St. Louis. Carr then rephrased his question to ask if they had any family from northeast Ohio. The Critchfields clarified that Sarah’s dad, Scott Critchfield, is from northeast Ohio.
Rachel’s dad then asked if Mr. Critchfield’s dad’s name was H.H. Critchfield. It was, and, interestingly, the Hs in Sarah’s grandfather’s name don’t stand for anything.
This prompted the families to discover a connection between Rachel’s grandfather, Richard Carr Sr., and Sarah’s grandfather, H.H. Critchfield.
Mr. Carr explained that one of his dad’s best friends was H.H. Critchfield. So Sarah’s dad had been over to the Carr household several times when the UD dads were much younger.
After putting two and two together, everyone walked down the block to Sarah’s house to tell her dad about the Carr family.
At Sarah’s house, Rachel’s father introduced himself as “Rachel’s dad” and asked Mr. Critchfield where he was from. Critchfield replied he was from St. Louis, just as Sarah and her mother had said. Upon further questioning, Critchfield explained that he was from northern Ohio. Carr Jr. then said, “I’m Richard Carr, my dad Richard Carr Sr. was friends with H.H.”
Once Carr Jr. explained, Carr and Critchfield hugged and immediately started to reminisce on their memories together and relationships with their dads.
Rachel’s grandfather, Richard Carr Sr., grew up in a town in the northwest corner of Ohio called Montpelier. Sarah’s grandfather was from Kendallville, Indiana, and his family owned Kendallville Foundry, which cast iron into metal parts.
Carr’s grandfather and Critchfield’s grandfather knew each other from summers spent in northeast Indiana at a lake called Clear Lake. They grew up together on that lake, making memories that have lasted for years. Both of them then went to General Motors Institute and became engineers and foundrymen.
Rachel’s grandfather went on to run a collection of foundries in Columbus and Dayton. When the Critchfield family foundry in Kendallville was sold, Rachel’s grandfather hired Critchfield because of his esteemed reputation as a metallurgist. Critchfield agreed and came to Dayton where the two of them were excited to work together.
Both Rachel and Sarah’s grandfathers have since passed away, but their friendship lives on in their two granddaughters.
Correction, March 4: The published article referred to Sarah Critchfield’s dad’s name as H.H. Critchfield Jr. This was incorrect. His name is Scott. The article has been updated to reflect that.