Saturday, March 4, 2017

Prudence Louise Ross's P.E.O. Sisterhood Quilt, Keene, New Hampshire 1973

As a retired magazine editor whose specialty was story development, I know a good story when I see it. We are not talking about fiction, though. The truth is much better, especially when it comes to the story of Prudence Louise Ross and her quilt.

Prue loved to ski and was an instructor with the Ford Sayre Ski Program and at Whaleback Ski Club's annual ski week. 

She loved books, flowers, the Red Sox, especially Ted Williams, and traveling with her family. She had an abiding interest in politics and was devoted to the Stars and Stripes.

She was an accomplished pianist. In addition to giving private piano lessons, she was well known for her volunteer work with the Lebanon School System music programs. She spent countless hours playing piano for the chorus, band concerts and school plays.

Prudence "Prue" Louise Ross was born in Brockton, Mass., March 16, 1933, to Harold E. and Erma L. (Stanley) Luneburg. She grew up in Whitman, Massachusetts, graduated from Whitman High School in 1950 and Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, with a degree in economics. She married Donald E. Ross on June 18, 1955. Her greatest passion was for family and friends. 

A few of her favorite things included the Lebanon School Board, the PTA, Rainbow Girls, and Girl Scouts. 

Prue was a founding member of Chapter H of the P.E.O. Sisterhood in New Hampshire. P.E.O. stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization, and the P.E.O. Sisterhood is an international women's organization of about 250,000 members with a primary focus on providing educational opportunities for female students worldwide. 

The Sisterhood is organized with chapters throughout the United States and Canada, headquartered in Des MoinesIowa.

The official flower of the P.E.O. Sisterhood is the Marguerite Daisy. As of 2014, more than $235 million had been awarded to over 90,000 women from the organization's six educational grants, loans, awards, and stewardship of Cottey College

P.E.O. has awarded Educational Loan Fund (ELF) dollars totaling more than $143.6 million, International Peace Scholarships (IPS) are more than $29 million, and Program for Continuing Education (PCE) grants are more than $43 million. 

P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) are more than $16 million and P.E.O. STAR Scholarships (STAR) are more than $2.6 million. In addition, 8,500 women have graduated from Cottey College.

Prue was the first Past President of the Northeast District Chapter to serve on an International Board. She was dearly loved. Members of Chapter H made this quilt for her. 

She worked tirelessly to empower women through education. It is no surprise she was dearly loved.

I found enough information about Prue Ross to write a research paper. Then, a sad thought occurred to me. She couldn't possibly be alive if her quilt was up for auction on eBay. Deeply personal, it was the kind of quilt you would never let go.

Prudence Louise Ross passed away on June 14, 2009, at her home in Newbury, New Hampshire. Her quilt appeared on eBay just last week. When I saw it, I thought I was looking at something very special, but I had no idea. Prue was an extraordinary person. I am delighted to know her through her quilt, and even more delighted to share her story. For more information about the P.E.O Sisterhood, please visit the P.E.O International website - click here.


  1. What a great quilt, she must have been quite well thought of for the group to make a quilt made for her. Part of me wonders why one of her children or grandchildren didn't keep it, OTOH if they had, we'd never have gotten to see it.

  2. Your story grabbed me in several ways. Keene New Hampshire is where some great friends raised their family. Then there is the Smith College 1950... wonder if she knew my friend Katrina Schmidt from Glenco, IL who was there the same time. Economics major is nothing to sneeze at. So Prue's story has begot some questions of Katrina's story, no quilt thought. Off to write her husband before that source is no longer with us. You are a great read... wish 20% percent of my blog list wrote as well.

  3. Have you search for a photo of Prue? What a wonderful, touching story. So glad you found the quilt and shared it with us.

  4. What a wonderful story to share. You really "fleshed out" many of the quilt blocks. My grandmother was very active in PEO in the 60's/70's. Nice to learn more about that organization.

  5. What a lovely tribute quilt and thanks for the info about Prue. My grandmother was in PEO: she told me the name was a secret. Papa Eats Out was all she would ever say!

    1. My grandmother was also a member of PEO. When I asked about the name, I was told the same thing: it was a secret. My grandfather is the one who told me it was "Papa Eats Out".