John Guy Prindle was born on July 4, 1890 in Williamstown, Massachusetts, the son of John F. and Lucy Ann Bridges Prindle. He attended Williamstown schools and graduated from Williams College in 1913. He served as Class Marshal during his college days. He was a member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity and Gargoyle Honorary Society. He exhibited extraordinary athletic ability and played four years of varsity football and baseball during his college years.
In the fall of 1913, Mr. Prindle began his career in academics, as a science teacher, by joining the faculty of Little Falls High School in Little Falls, NY. In 1916, he also filled the position of Principal for the Benton Hall. In addition to his administrative duties, he coached football baseball and basketball for the Little Falls School.
On December 23, 1915, Mr. Prindle wed Ruth Decker in Little Falls.
In 1920, the Ilion Board of Education offered Mr. Prindle an unsolicited offer for the position of Ilion High School Principal. Mr. Prindle accepted the offer that carried an annual salary of $3,300. The Little Falls School District regretfully accepted Mr. Prindle's resignation.
Thus, began the career of Ilion's longest serving Principal, John Guy Prindle. While at Ilion, Mr. Prindle assisted in coaching the football team. For eleven summers, Mr. Prindle also taught Summer school at St. Lawrence University.
Mr. Prindle moved to Ilion and resided at 14 Philip Street. The Prindles raised their only child, Ruth Ann (Prindle) Cranney, in Ilion.
Outside of the school environment, Mr. Prindle devoted his efforts to civic affairs. He served as president of the Ilion Library Board. He was a past master of Little Falls, F&AM and a member of the Knights Templar. He was a member of the Ilion Community Club, Conversation Club, Shakespeare Club, and the Little Falls Country Club. He was past president of the Mohawk Valley Athletic Association, a member of the Secondary School Principals, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Prindle's reputation as a peacemaker and mediator was often lauded in the Yearbook/Annual Class Histories.
The Class of 1936 included comments about Mr. Prindle in their Annual - "...G Man No. 1 and The Great Mediator might be two titles we could ascribe to our understanding principal, Mr. John Guy Prindle. Not content with winning athletic laurels in Williams, his alma mater, he is now a golfer of note and a member of the illustrious faculty bowling team. In addition to these more apparent joys, 'tis whispered that when spring assaults our winter-wearied souls, he longs for "the old fishin' hole." But we hear that perhaps bridge will conquer in the end".
The Class of 1937 credited Mr. Prindle with advocating for them, to the School Senate, so that they would be allowed, in their freshman year, to attend the dance before the Herkimer - Ilion game. They described Mr. Prindle as "...ever the pacifist" when he successfully presented their case for attending the upperclassmen dance to the Senate.
The Class of 1951 mourned the loss of Mr. Prindle. "The only sad note of our graduation will be graduating without our beloved guide and mentor, Mr. Prindle. We shall carry with us all through the years the thought and the sadness that we, the Class of 1951, were the last class graduating from Ilion High School to have had our actions, throughout the four years, guided by his patience and understanding. We shall always remember what he has done for us."
In the summer of 1950, Mr. Prindle fell ill and underwent an operation in New York City. He returned to his school Principal position just before Christmas. By December 23, he suffered a relapse and was admitted to the Ilion Hospital. Mr. John Guy Prindle died on Thursday, January 11, 1951. He was 60 years old. The school mourned his loss by canceling the Herkimer-Ilion Basketball game. Among the many groups that paid their respects to Mr. Prindle was the Ilion Varsity Club, led by ex-Coach Ralph Bemis.
Memorial contributions were received by many individuals and from the High School PTA and the Ilion Kiwanis Club. A fund was established with the suggestion that the new swimming pool be named after the late principal, with the fund used for a suitable plaque.
Mr. Prindle's funeral service was held on Saturday, January 13 at 11 am in the Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Paul Wagner, Presbyterian minister, officiated. Honorary pallbearers included Dr. Earl P Watkin, Superintendent of Ilion Schools, State Senator Walter A. VanWiggeran, Carl Betzinger, Dr. L.P. Jones, Dr. H. M. Russell, Thomas Harrison, Kent McGowan, H.A. Broan, Edward Wilkens, Arvon Jones, William Hughes, Kenneth Edgett, Harold Weeks and Wagner Klippel, members of the Board of Education and James Parker, President of the High School Senate. Active bearers were Joseph Baker, Harold Barnes, Arnold Bronner, Grover Radley, Leo Powers and Kenneth Tillinghast. After the service, Mr. Prindle's body was taken to Troy for cremation.
Mr. Prindle was survived by his wife, Ruth, and his daughter Ruth Ann (Prindle) Cranney IHS '36 and her husband, Peter Cranney. He also left two brothers, Carl of Boston and Cable of Williamstown, Mass; a sister, Mrs. Gertrude Ott of Williamstown, Mass.; and four nephews in Rye.
Students returning to school, in the fall of 1951, saw for the first time a plaque and photo of their late principal, J. Guy Prindle. Custodian Everett Allen put up the memorial plaque over the summer recess. It was made possible by funds from the 1951 Senior Class and the school. The plaque was erected in the second floor corridor across from the principal's office. Above the plaque was a hand painted photograph of the former school official. The plaque carried the legend:
"In memory of John Guy Prindle, principal, 1920-1951,
Ilion High School teacher, athlete, friend, advisor."
Mr. Prindle's legacy was honored, in 1980, when the new senior housing complex, on North Street, was named the The John Guy Prindle Apartments.
In March of 2014, Duane Prosser, an IHS 1937 Alumnus, donated $25,000 to fund an annual $1,000 scholarship in honor of John Guy Prindle. The Central Valley Academy scholarship is to be given to an Ilion/Mohawk student who intends to pursue a STEM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
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