She led a rich, full life

June 28, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back at a member of the community who died in the past week through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Marguerite Stotler, who died June 19 at the age of 99. Her obituary appeared in the June 21 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Debbie Dhayer was just 11 when her grandmother, Marguerite Stotler, took her to Washington, D.C., to watch the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

"I think we sat on the steps of the U.S. Post Office building because my grandmother was then working at the Hancock Post Office," Dhayer said. "We rode the train down - it was a memory I'll never forget."

Stotler, who died June 19 at Homewood at Williamsport just three months shy of her 100th birthday, led a rich, full life that centered around her hometown of Hancock and the C&O Canal when it still was a commercial enterprise, long before it became a national historical park.


"The family was always very close," Dhayer said. "My grandmother's two sisters and one brother, Clifford, are still alive."

Those sisters, Louella Little, 101, and Leola Ott, 96, now live together at Loyalton in Hagerstown. They remember growing up at one of the locks along the C&O Canal.

"The canal boats came by our house all the time," Louella said. "Our father, Thomas Shives, was the supervisor, so we kids did the lock turning during the day."

Stotler, who was the middle sister, went away to college and taught school for several years in Clear Spring and Pearre, a small community along the Allegany County line. She later went to the post office, staying until she retired.

According to official postal records, Stotler was acting postmaster of Hancock in 1964-65 and then postmaster until her retirement in 1971. Fred Vantz, who took over as postmaster and served through the 1980s, said Stotler was working at the post office long before he started there in 1946.

"I believe she had been working there since the late 1930s," Vantz said. "I know she was there during World War II."

Dhayer said one of the reasons there are so few pictures of her grandmother's family is because most were lost during the flood of 1936 when the Potomac River swept through the family home.

But as the Rev. Allan Weatherholt pointed out as he remembered Stotler and her family, they instead had rich stories to tell of the days gone by along the C&O Canal.

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