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Even through the pain, Roger Line kept smiling

March 11, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note:Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes 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 Roger Lee Line Sr., who died March 5 at the age of 63. His obituary appeared in the March 6 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.




Even though it was more than 35 years ago, Patricia Line still blushes when she recalls how she met her future husband in a Hagerstown bar.

"I was just 18 and had to be home by 10 p.m.," Patricia said. Raised by her grandparents, she said her grandmother would have been furious if she had known she was even at a bar with some of her girlfriends that night.

Roger was 25 then - seven years older than Patricia and a Vietnam War veteran.

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"He kept asking me out and asking me out, and finally I said yes," she said.

Their first date was to a drive-in movie, Patricia recalled, though she doesn't remember what movie was playing. Once they got used to the age difference, the grandparents grew to like Roger, and included him in family occasions.

"They even let him cook with them on Thanksgiving," Patricia said.

Married Aug. 29, 1970, on her 19th birthday, Patricia and Roger still had to abide by her grandparents' rules right up until their wedding day.

"We were having a date the night before the wedding, and my grandfather said I had to come in because it was 10 p.m.," Patricia said.

When Roger pointed out that they were going to be married the next day, Patricia said her grandfather fired back, "You're not married yet."

In failing health for a number of years, Roger died March 5 at the age of 63.

"But even when he felt bad, he smiled all the time," said his daughter-in-law Bonnie, who married Roger Jr., the couple's only child.

Their four children, Jakob, Mason, Spencer and Cooper Line, were the apples of their grandfather's eye. They range in age from 6 years to just 2 months old.

Though Roger didn't talk much about his tour of duty in Vietnam, Patricia said she believes his health problems might have been related to the war.

"He had breathing problems since he was 42 years old, and he also had to have all his teeth removed - something about the water over there," Patricia said.

A jack of all trades, Roger had a lot of different jobs, and often worked more than one at a time. For a number of years, he worked with Funk Electric and Arnett's Garage.

"I didn't go to work until Roger Jr. was six months old," Patricia said. She then began a long career in nursing homes, and currently is a nursing assistant at Beverly Living Center.

When he wasn't working, Roger was passionate about classic cars - buying old vehicles and fixing them, then trading up for something better.

"Roger's first car was a red Ford Falcon convertible," Patricia said. "His last car was a 1951 Ford."

Whatever car he had at the time, Roger always would show up for the weekly classic car rallies at Valley Mall.

"He knew all the classic car people and enjoyed their company," Patricia said.

Throughout their marriage, the Lines did everything together, Patricia said.

"We'd go shopping together and to car shows together - I'd dust his cars when he wasn't able," she said.

A yard sale fan, Patricia said Roger would go along, but he would stay in the car while she browsed.

Bonnie grew up near the Lines, and knew Patricia and Roger Sr. as well as their son from an early age.

"Later, when I was just out of college, we ran into each other - in a bar," Bonnie said, noting the irony there. Married now for more than six years, Roger Jr. and Bonnie live in Mercersburg, Pa.

Sitting at her dining room table, Patricia struggled to imagine a future without Roger.

"I told him once I didn't think I could go on without him," she said. "But he said I had our son and Bonnie and the grandchildren to live for."

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