Trib: Face of an ambassador

By Mary Pickels
Monday, December 1, 2008

On the 50-by-21-foot mural painted on the side of Clapper’s Building Materials in Rockwood in Somerset County, Maynard Sembower’s likeness wears a conductor’s cap and checks a gold pocket watch, awaiting an approaching train.

In reality, Sembower is a Pennsylvania Game Commission retiree who at age 99 has spent 16 years volunteering as a trailhead ambassador along the Great Allegheny Passage.

Though Sembower, who will turn 100 on Christmas Eve, was never a conductor, several of his brothers worked on the railroad.

“I was born in (nearby) Markleton in 1908,” Sembower said, “and the railroad went in in 1910-1911. I saw it come; I saw it go.”

It was his work manning the Rockwood trailhead that made him a natural subject for muralist Diane Adams.

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