'Granny' Staubs-Hackett had many interests in life

November 20, 2005|By MARLO BARNHART

Even though she came from a large family, Cynthia Staubs-Hackett's heart was big enough to include Tonya Butts and her son, Danniel Shatzer, who became like family to her over the years.

"I called her granny and Danniel called her great-granny ? she sort of adopted us," Tonya said as she remembered how Cynthia had welcomed her and her son and treated them like members of her extended family.

Cynthia died Nov. 9 at the age of 83.

Tonya's contact with Cynthia began with her friendship with Rhonda Teter, who was the daughter of Cynthia's son, Roger L. Teter, who died 1 1/2 years ago. Now roommates, Rhonda and Tonya together helped take care of Cynthia's needs during the last years of her life.


Rhonda said her grandmother wasn't very fond of the name "Granny," but she got accustomed to it as time went by.

"Tonya started calling her that, too, and that's when she added her into our family," Rhonda said.

Cynthia survived three husbands. During her years at Broadmore Assisted Living in Hagerstown, she also reconnected with an old friend, John Snyder, whom she had known when she was younger.

After her three marriages and Snyder's one, the couple began "keeping company" when both moved to Broadmore.

"Granny had the mojo," Rhonda said as she recounted how easily her grandmother could attract the attention of gentlemen even into her later years.

For more than 40 years, Cynthia was a waitress at the Holiday Inn. Rhonda said she thinks her grandmother met one of her husbands, and maybe two, during her work at the restaurant.

But Rhonda's fondest memories of being with her grandmother were in connection with her craft and doughnut stands at the Hagerstown City Market ? a vocation that overlapped with her waitressing.

"We'd get there early and I would go to sleep under the doughnut case," Rhonda said, noting she was just a youngster then. Later, when the customers would start to come in, Rhonda would help her grandmother wherever she could.

"She taught me how to make change in my head and she taught me responsibility," Rhonda said.

Tonya said she always will remember last Christmas, when Cynthia got to spend the holidays with them at their house in Hagerstown's North End. Before moving into Broadmore, Cynthia had lived on Antietam Drive.

"I wrapped up a bunch of gifts for her ? things she could use at Broadmore, such as a new outfit, some snacks and some jewelry," Tonya said.

All of those gifts were neatly tucked into a large Christmas stocking.

"She was so tickled that it just made my Christmas," Tonya said.

Throughout her life, Cynthia enjoyed making dolls, crafts and jewelry. In her later years, her membership in the Red Hat Society of Hagerstown gave her a lot of pleasure and new outlets for her energies.

Born in 1921 in Cherry Grove, W.Va., Cynthia had 11 brothers and sisters. Although she loved her hometown and enjoyed visits back there, she moved away from the family farm to the Hagerstown area looking for work when she was very young.

Her first husband, Ressie Teter, was from Cumberland, Md. He married Cynthia when she still was in her teens and they were married a long time, Rhonda said.

Even as Cynthia aged and began to forget some things, Danniel said he was glad she always remembered his name.

"Great-granny always smiled when she saw me," said Danniel, now 15.

He added that she also lighted up when she saw dessert ? any dessert.

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