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Millie Rinehart loved her family, bingo and Billy

November 07, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail will run "A Life Remembered." The story will take a look back - through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others - at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Mildred Madeline "Millie" Rinehart, who died Nov. 1 at the age of 71. Her obituary appeared in the Nov. 3 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.




marlob@herald-mail.com

In 1969, when Warren and Millie Rinehart were contemplating marriage, she gave him a piece of advice he never forgot.

"I wasn't working when I met her," Warren said. "She told me to get a job and I did. I've always remembered that."

Mildred M. "Millie" Rinehart died Nov. 1 at the age of 71.

A career trucker who has traveled to nearly every state, Warren said Millie sometimes accompanied him on his trips as an authorized passenger.

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"She rode with me to Colorado once and then from there, we went to Seattle," Warren said. "Those were wonderful times for us."

In their 35 years of marriage, Warren and Millie also vacationed in Wildwood, N.J., on a regular basis - not only staying at the same motel, but even asking for the same room each summer.

Through the years, Millie's career always was her husband, her family and her home.

"She was more like a sister to me than my aunt because we were only 13 years apart in age," said her niece, Sharon Smith. "We were so very close - whenever I needed someone to talk to or someone to tell a secret to, it was Millie."

Until her own health began to fail, Millie was known for her devotion to taking care of everybody else.

"Her brother, Ralph Harr, died five years ago and she helped take care of him when he was sick," Sharon said.

Only then did Millie's ever-present smile begin to fade, Sharon said.

"She never stopped grieving for him," she said.

Sharon said not a day went by that Millie wasn't on the telephone at least once with her sisters, Violet Kemp (Sharon's mother) and Hazel Butts, both of whom also live in Hagerstown.

Millie loved to play cards and bingo and was lucky at them. She also collected porcelain dolls for her grandchildren.

"She never missed a carnival where Billy 'Crash' Craddock was appearing," Sharon said. Millie apparently liked to tease her family by saying she would run away with the country rock singer if she ever got the chance.

After one of her last visits to Millie while she was hospitalized, Sharon came home and wrote out a three-page tribute to the aunt with whom she shared secrets her whole life.

"Millie had a heart of gold and not one mean bone in her body," Sharon wrote. "She loved holidays and parties and kept them lively for the rest of us."

Sharon said Millie and Warren moved around a lot in their married life. In fact, that became the basis for a family joke.

"We'd say that Millie didn't do spring cleaning like most people - she moved instead," Sharon said.

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