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Father says daughter was 'tremendous, fine person'

January 13, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Some of Robert W. Kelley's fondest memories are of times spent sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and in Cape Cod., Mass., with his daughter Tora Kelley Huffman.

"We had a good time spending time together. She was a shy girl but also very adventurous," he said.

Huffman was found dead on Sunday morning in the 300 block of East Antietam Street. Hagerstown City Police haven't ruled out foul play but don't believe a crime has been committed.

A licensed sky diver, Huffman, 33, of 12950 Pennersville Road, Waynesboro, Pa., had completed about 35 jumps during the summer of 1996, said Kelley. She set aside the sport when she became pregnant, he said.

She also enjoyed riding motorcycles and horses, her father said.

Sgt. Ronald Graves said she died after falling down a culvert in a weedy area of Antietam Street near the old unemployment office and parking lot.

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Police are waiting for autopsy reports from the Maryland State Medical Examiner's office in Baltimore to determine how she died.

Kelley, who lives in Hagerstown, said he didn't know why his daughter had come to Hagerstown.

She had many relatives in Washington County whom she might have been visiting, he said.

Kelley said he wasn't sure of the circumstances surrounding his daughter's death.

Her father said she was very close to her relatives and will be missed.

"She was a very quiet-spoken, friendly person - very relaxed and easy-going," he said.

Huffman was a 1983 graduate of Waynesboro High School. She also graduated from York College of Pennsylvania in 1987 with a degree in nursing.

She had worked as a registered nurse for Frederick Memorial Hospital and in a private capacity.

Huffman is survived by her fiance, Robert L. Mong, and her children, Kelley C. Mong, Faith E. Mong and Robert L Mong, all of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.

Her father remembers the last time he saw his daughter on Thursday.

He said she was in excellent spirits.

"She was happy but busy with the day-to-day activities and family," he said.

Kelley said his daughter was particularly excited about plans to get married although no date had been set.

"She was a tremendous, fine person. Everybody who knew her thought highly of her," he said.

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