The many, many … many inches of snow and the record cold temperatures have me dreaming of a warmer time and place – summer camp, July 1941. Charles Overly mailed the following postcard to his son, Jack (aged 10), as he and his wife, Jean (nee Kalb), were traveling back home to Huntington, IN after a visit to the city.

Camp Dick Runyan, located north of Warsaw, IN in North Webster is now part of YMCA Muncie’s Camp Crosley. The Muncie YMCA purchased the property from the Parkview Huntington Family YMCA in 2007, with support from the local Lake Tippecanoe and Lake Webster community. According to the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce, in a special publication celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Huntington YMCA, Camp Dick Runyan was founded in 1924 with a $5,000 donation from Win Runyan. The camp was thereafter named for Win’s son, Dick, who died of illness on January 13, 1924 at the age of 15. Camp Dick Runyan served as a resident camp until 2003.


Postmarked: Noblesville, IND. JUL 21 1941 9:30 PM

Hi Jack
Remember this place. Mom & I came down to the leg (log?) factory and are on our way home. Have a good time. Be a winner in some of the games. You can do it.
Love from Dad & Mom

Addressed to:
Jack Overly
Camp Dick Runyon
No. Webster Indiana

Postcard Description
Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monumnet, Indianapolis, IND.  — 25
The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, located in the heart of the city, is one of the finest pieces of colossal sculpture in the United States. Built 1887-1901. It is 284 feet high and is the second tallest monument in the United States, exceeded only by the Washington Monument at Washington, D.C.

A penny for your thoughts …
Charles Overly encouraged his son to “be a winner in some of the games.” What sort of activities was ten year old Jack filling his summer days with at Camp Dick Runyan? Baseball, football, rowing and fishing on Lake Tippecanoe, perhaps.

Do any of you have fond summer memories from Camp Dick Runyan, or another Indiana summer camp? Please share in the comments below.

Image from the Camp Dick Runyan Reunion Facebook group.

Image from the Camp Dick Runyan Reunion Facebook group.

Charles Overly also wrote that he and his wife had come down to Indianapolis to visit the leg (or log) factory. If anyone has information on where this is a reference to, please share!

10 responses to “Penny Post: Be a winner at Camp Dick Runyan”

  1. Kevin Kastner says:

    Awesome find! I spent a lot of time in Camp Dick Runyan as I grew up in Huntington County, and that was the YMCA’s affiliated campground. It was a great experience, and I would like my daughter to attend a similar summer camp some day. My favorite activities there were probably frisbee golf, foursquare, tetherball, and canoeing.

  2. Jill Pittenger Kruger says:

    I spent many, many summers at Camp Dick Runyan as a camper, counselor, and activities director. Many fond memories from my childhood were created on the water front of Little Tippy. My sister met her husband there so it holds good memories for others in my family. Throughout my life there are many times I fall back on things learned there…..songs to entertain my daughters, making lanyards, outdoor games, evenings spent around the campfire, and pure joy of being a part of a wonderful tradition.

  3. Polly Whitted Rushmore says:

    Camp Dick Runyan and ED and Mamie sunley were such wonderful caring people and touched so many lives in positive ways. I am so thankful for he time I had there, friends made and lessons learned and faith found.

  4. Diane Dewey-N orvell says:

    I spent several summers there in the late 40’s. Ed and Mamie Sunley were a great inspiration as well as the counselors who worked there those years especially Murnie the aquatic director. I loved the water activities, swimming, canoeing especially the canoe trips, and swimming across Little Tippie, with a boat of course!!! The songs we learned, I still remember some, the time spent in chapel and the songs we learned, the creamy peanut butter sandwiches when you didn’t want to eat what was served, bug juice, and baloney sandwiches for picnics. Walking in to N. Webster on a Sat. night. What fun and fond memories.

  5. Grechen Throop says:

    I too was a camper at Camp Dick Runyan in the 1970s. My mother was “Nurse Jane” during those summers. She started going to Camp Dick Runyan in the 1940s when Mamie Sunley was there. Murnie worked in the Huntington Y where she met my mom, decided camp would be good for my mom, and helped figure out a way financially for her to attend. My mother is in her 80s now and still goes to adult camp. I loved going to camp. Tether ball on the hill. Archery in the woods. All-camp hide and seek. The wicker couch in the nurses cabin where everyone came for caladryl. The craft shop under the dinning hall. The totem pole. The buddy board at the waterfront. Getting caught sneaking across the cabin while we were supposed to be in our bunks for rest hour. The Candy Story after lunch. Campfires. Songs. Songs. And more songs. And I watched the first man walk on the moon on a black and white TV the camp director put on the roof of the director’s cabin at Camp Dick. Yes, lots of memories.

  6. Jane Ann Weyler Perry says:

    I paid my own way my first year at Camp Dick Runyan as a dish washer (No electric dish washer) for 2 wks. Later I had the privilege of serving as CIT (counselor in training), then as full fledged counselor. Years later I was the nurse for two summers at both the girls camp and the boys camp. Nursey Jane is what they called me and I got to take my 4 kids there with me. Mamie and Ed Sunley who were in charge at the Huntington YMCA and also at the camp for a long time were wonderful people. They gave many kids, including me, opportunities that we otherwise would not have had. These fantastic people have long been deceased. Murnie (Marilyn) Ziegler was swimming instructor at the Y and also Waterfront Dir at camp. She was my mentor and friend. I always wanted to be just like Murnie. She eventually moved West, was PE at a University, and married a Ranch person. She lived out her years on the ranch, which I visited several times before Murnie passed away in December of 2014. Camp Dick Runyan was a very big part of my life. It is sad that this camp no longer exists. At least it is part of the adjoining Camp Crosley, run by the Muncie YMCA.

  7. steve Keipper says:

    I had not been back to Huntington in 40 years. On May 5 2019 we were returning North from the Kentucky Derby and we just had to do a loop of Huntington and take some photos for old times sake. I graduated from Huntington High school in 1967. We,then, decided to hunt down Camp Dick Runyan. It has been purchased by the Camp Crosley system and the only remaining remnant is the dedication rock to Dick, the young son of the Runyan family. I do remember the buddy board at the beach, archery in the pines, all camp hide and seek, and water skiing off of “Sandy Beach” in 1957 through 1967. Then, I was a counselor in 1968. I have attached a photo of the original benches of the “chapel” which are still standing like a small monument to attest to the years of time, and the great memories of growing up with “Camp Dick” as just part of my life and the lives of the many others who cherish the memories.
    Steve Keipper – Traverse City, Michigan .

  8. Linda Willman Field says:

    I noticed that many of these responses go as far back as 2014. I, too, was a camper for many, many years as well as a CIT (Counselor In Training). I grew-up in the Marion area, but got connected with the Huntington YMCA through a friend that also went to Camp “Dick”. It was a wonderful experience for those of us growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. Under the direction of Ed and Mamie Sunley, the camp provided many experiences…. campfire nights, swimming, canoeing, sailing, skiing, crafts, in-camp sports, camp songs, chapel, cabin inspection, friendships, and many more experiences. With the experiences provided at Camp “Dick”, I went on to work during the 1960’s as a camp counselor at Cheley Colorado Camps just outside Estes Park, CO. I now live in Kerrville, TX and I recently discovered another neighbor went to Camp “Dick”, also….. such a small world. Thanks to the information from Steve Keipper, I now know the camp is under the ownership of the Muncie YMCA, the buildings are gone, but the dedication rock to Dick Runyan remains. I had a chance to visit with Ed and Mamie during the late 1960’s after they moved to the Fort Myers, FL area. As I look back 50+ years, I am glad I had the chance to talk with them…. just one more time. And, Nursey Jane has a very good memory about Mernie Ziegler . She did marry a rancher and taught at New Mexico State University. The ranch was located just east of Las Cruces near the Organ Mountains. The reason I know this is I met with her good friend, Barbara Hubbard (who was also a camp counselor in the late 1950’s and worked at NMSU). We lived in New Mexico for over 40 years and our daughter is a graduate of NMSU. I understand Mern is now deceased, but Barbara Hubbard’s husband owned a music store in Las Cruces and I believe it is still in business if Nursey Jane is looking for additional information about Mern.

  9. Linda Willman Field says:

    Dear Jane,

    I started a search today to see what actually happened to Camp “Dick”. When I found these posting, I noticed that there have been several since 2014. Some additional information about Mern. She taught at New Mexico State University. Her married name was Cox, but I do not know if she used her maiden name or married name in the teaching arena. The Cox Ranch was east of Las Cruces, NM near the Organ Mountain, and possibly overlooked White Sands Missile Range. Some of these details came from Barbara Hubbard who was a counselor for Camp “Dick” in the late 1950’s and also worked for NMSU. Barbara’s married name was Hubbard and her husband owned a music store in Las Cruces. The Hubbard Music Store is still listed in the yellow pages, but I do not know who owns it now. Our daughter graduated from NMSU, and provided the opportunity for me to meet with Barbara in the mid-2000’s. I am not aware if Barbara is still living or not…. she could easily be in her early 90’s. We lived in NM for over 40 years, but have since moved to Kerrville, TX to be closer to our daughter and her family.

    All of the postings shared the same feelings I had about Camp Dick Runyan. It provided activities for me that I would never have gotten with any other experience. I lived in the Marion area, and just recently a friend shared that she was so envious of me going to camp for 5 weeks every summer. As a camper for many years and CIT for two years, I later went on to work for Cheley Colorado Camps located outside Estes Park, CO during my college years. The experiences and training I had from Camp “Dick” prepared me for this larger camp experience. Cheley is still fully operational and handles several hundred campers for two 4 week sessions or one 8 week session.

    I did have the opportunity to visit with Ed and Mamie Sunley in the late 1960’s after they moved to the Ft. Myers, FL area. I was glad I had the chance to thank them once again for all their support during those camping years.

    I know it has been several years since you wrote your posting, so I hope my reply reaches you.

  10. Michael Dye says:

    My family had a strong attachment to Camp Dick Runyan. My Godparents, Mamie & Ed Sunley, were very strong in their support of the Camp and its operation (In the 1970s, above the passthrough window between the Mess Hall Kitchen and Dining Facility, there was a B&W photo portrait, which I was told was of them, although it just might have been the Runyans). Both sides of my family attended the Camp and during my time there, the Camper sleep Cabins had changed from old, wooden, green-painted structures to newer concrete and steel. A few years back, I rode up there, to take a look. Quite a change; Nobody in North Webster had any idea of what a ‘Camp Dick Runyan’ was, let alone how to get there. Once I finally found the way, the sign overhanging the gravel road was gone (Only the stump of one of the poles remained). Riding down to the Camp’s location, nothing was even close to the same; the only things which I could see (Without trespassing) was what appeared to be the restroom/shower building, the flagpole and the outdoor Chapel’s entrance. Having been told that Camp Crosley had bought the property, I rode there, and one of the Staff people apologized for not being able to give me permission to enter the Camp Dick property, but told me the story of how the Huntington YMCA had let the property fall into ruins and finally sold it to Crosley (Which appeared to use it as a adjunct Teen facility). Well, at least it’s still a ‘Y’ property and I hope that the Runyans would approve.

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