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Two die in crash

Bertha Langenstein, 80, and Mary Jane Weller, 82, were pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital following the crash, which

Bertha Langenstein, 80, and Mary Jane Weller, 82, were pronounced dead at Washington County Hospital following the crash, which

January 20, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Two Hagerstown women died Sunday in a two-vehicle accident on Dual Highway near Foxshire Plaza.

Bertha Langenstein, 80, of 1748 Howell Road, was the driver of a light green 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass that was eastbound on Dual Highway, according to Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Arnold Cerezo. There were no passengers in Langenstein's car.

The other driver, Mary Jane Weller, 82, of 619 Chestnut St., was the operator and sole occupant of a dark green 1995 Cadillac Concours that was westbound on Dual Highway en route to westbound Mount Aetna Road when the accident occurred, Cerezo said.

"I was on the Dual Highway on patrol when I happened upon the accident just after it happened," Cerezo said. "There were no witnesses around when I got there."

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Both women were transported to Washington County Hospital after the 9:11 a.m. accident by Community Rescue Service ambulance.

Both were later pronounced dead, Cerezo said.

Sunday's accident brings to three the number of fatalities in vehicle accidents in Washington County this year. A 19-year-old Shippensburg, Pa., woman was killed Jan. 5 when her car slid off a snow-covered Interstate 81 and crashed into a tree.

Friends and family members of the two women who died Sunday morning described two vital and active members of their community even in their later years.

A friend of Langenstein described her as always ready to help a friend or a stranger.

"Bertha was very vibrant and always talking about her grandchildren," Janet Shaool said. "We've known her for many years."

Known as a master knitter, Langenstein was always willing to share her talent with others, Shaool said, noting that she wanted to improve, so she asked Langenstein to help her with a hat she was making.

"Bertha made me take it apart and start all over again," Shaool said.

Her baking and cooking skills were legendary. Last February, she was one of three ladies who made chicken soup with matzo balls for the annual Potter's Bowl to benefit the Community Free Clinic, Shaool said.

Shaool said Langenstein's mother was a Holocaust survivor.

Weller was the widow of the Rev. Robert M. Weller, an Assembly of God pastor who died in August 2001.

"My mom was quite a woman," said Robert H. Weller, her only son. "I was awfully lucky to have had her for a mother."

Robert Weller said his mother recently spent three weeks at his Columbia, Md., home while his wife was in Africa.

"She kept things very organized while she was with us," he said.

A riveter at the Fairchild Plant in Hagerstown in the 1950s, Mary Jane Weller was a feminist before that term was fashionable, according to her son.

"Even at the age of 83, mom was still working part time for a day-care center in Hagerstown," said Robert Weller. "She said she didn't want to stay home and dry up."

The investigation into the accident is continuing.

Anyone who was in the area of Dual Highway near Foxshire Plaza between 9 and 9:15 a.m. Sunday and might have seen the accident or its aftermath is asked to contact Cerezo at 240-313-2100.

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