John Oliver Guthrie was born in South Shields, England, the last of ten children. He was educated in England and in his earlier years was a shipbuilder. He married Marie G. Havlock on Sept. 1st, 1923. Later John was an oil company engineer and lived in India, Burma and Iran before coming to the United States in 1930. He said they had decided to move to "one of the colonies" either Australia or the United States. They "flipped a coin" and ended up in the United States and they have never regretted it.
The Guthries lived in Cleveland for four years where he was involved in the manufacture of electronic and sound equipment for theater owners. He is credited with inventing a less expensive method of making "movies talk"!
He came to New London one day to visit the theater owner as they had no sound equipment as yet. When I left I hadn't sold him any sound equipment but ended up "buying the theater"!
John and Marie and their daughter, Hope, moved to New London in 1934 where he operated the town's Karolyn Theater for thirty years. In later years with the help of his son-in-law, Charles "Hermie" Myers, he installed "Cinemascope" in their small 280 seat capacity theater. It was considered to be the smallest theater in the country to have "Cinemascope". Their first showing was "The Robe" and it was a big hit with the local folks. By the middle 1960's Televison had cut into the theater business and Mr Guthrie and Hermie sold the theater.
After his retirement from the theater John decided to try his luck at art. His son in law, Charles Myers, had gone to work as a manager at the local tile company where plenty of clay was available so John started to work making clay sculptures, mostly done in caricatures. He is best known today for his sculptures rather than as a theater owner and operator.
His first work was a small bust of himself, wearing his favorite beret. Some of his other work has been as follows: Nikita Kruschev, Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ringo Starr, Winston Churchill, Charles DeGaulle and his favorite, John Kennedy. President Lyndon Johnson was one of his last. Another one of his favorites was of Robert Manry, a Cleveland journalist, who had crossed the Atlantic in a small raft, who became good friends with the Guthries.
John later began working with aluminum wire to make sculptures of "Figures in Motion" with which he received many art show awards.
Mr. Guthrie and his wife both enjoyed classical music real well. John had installed two of the speakers from the old Karolyn Theater in his living room and being a sound technician they enjoyed the best of Brahms, Beethoven, Bach and Tchaikovsky in their retirement. They lived at 138 East Main St. here in New London for many years.
After John suffered a stroke they moved to Owosso, MI to be close to their daughter and son-in-law, Charles "Hermie" Myers, who had moved to Owosso, MI where Hermie had discovered "better employment". The Guthries had three grandchildren and one great grandchild. After just a few years in Owosso, John died at Owosso Memorial Hospital in October of 1976. He was 81 years old. His wife, Marie, died at Shiawassee County Medical Care Facility in Owosso, MI in August of 1999. She was 103 years old. The Guthries now rest at Grove Street Cemetery here in New London, Ohio. The people of New London will remember them for many years to come.
V.K. Neel from family articles their daughter, Hope, had saved.