When Ann McNabb’s father, Lewis Headings, died of a heart attack in 1989, she knew she had to honor his memory in some way.
Headings, a true-blue Penn State fan, was attending a Blue and White game at Beaver Stadium when he was stricken. Paramedics were able to revive him and take him from the game.
“When the paramedics were taking him out,” McNabb said, “he said, ‘Where are you taking me? I only got to see two plays!’ ”
He passed away three days later, but McNabb said it was quick and in a place he dearly loved.
“We said at the memorial, ‘Dad would want to leave this world quickly, and he’s probably up in heaven praising the Nittany Lions.’ ”
At the time, McNabb owned a store in Burnham called the Logan House, a gift and interior accessory shop. One day, she said, a salesman came in with afghans depicting scenes from various Pennsylvania counties.
This sparked an idea. McNabb took her camera and started shooting different sites around State College and the Penn State campus. She talked to people about their favorite spots and spent weeks taking pictures.
After getting approval from Penn State, she said, she began laying out the photographs and creating a design for an afghan. She then sent the design to the manufacturer, a looming factory in the South.
She said she didn’t mind the work, because “my father was such a fan and loyal supporter of Penn State in many ways. I wanted to dedicate this afghan to him.”
The afghan features 10 images: Eisenhower Chapel, Old Main, the Nittany Lion Inn, the Horse Barn, the Penn State Blue Band, the Main Gate, Beaver Stadium, the Pavilion Theatre and the University Creamery, all surrounding an image of the famed limestone Nittany Lion.
McNabb’s father’s Buick can even be found on the image of Beaver Stadium, she said — the same car he drove to the stadium on that fateful day.
“I still get a little teary about that,” she said.
McNabb has been selling the afghan since the early 1990s, she said, initially selling it out of her store as well as the Student Book Store on East College Avenue. It’s still available in the book store, she said, and is priced $65.99, according to the store website.
The afghan measures 50 inches by 70 inches and is great for hanging, tailgating or simply used as a blanket, McNabb said.
She said she has also been thinking of designing a pillow with the same images as something smaller Penn State fans could use.
“I think that would maybe have some market value,” McNabb said, “because it would be affordable and you can always put a Penn State pillow on your sofa.”
She also sells the afghan out of her own business, the Hill Store Guest Cottage and Event Place, in Belleville.
McNabb said she sells “a few dozen a year,” which is enough for her.
“(The afghan) has done very well,” she said, “and I know my dad would be very proud.”
“I sort of think he knows about it,” she added.