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Like her mom, Stickell was an animal advocate

A Life Remembered

A Life Remembered

June 10, 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 Margaret Elizabeth Stickell, who died June 3 at the age of 95. Her obituary appeared in the June 5 editions of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Friends and colleagues of the late Margaret Elizabeth Stickell will remember her as an animal advocate above all else. After all, it was in her genes.

"You know, Margaret's mother, Mary Stickell, started the SPCA here," said Carol Johnson, who was president of the Washington County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the 1970s.

Carol described Margaret as the foundation of the shelter on Maugansville Road. Carol also said Margaret was an honored guest for the grand opening of the current shelter building several years ago.

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A graduate of a private school in Hagerstown, Margaret retired in 1967 after 31 years at the former Nicodemus Bank on West Washington Street.

Cindy Baker first met Margaret in the early 1990s while working for an at-home health service.

"I used to take her to the grocery store and from that, we just connected," Cindy said.

Joyce Fields provided Margaret with cleaning services in her home for more than 20 years. That beginning led to lunches, yardwork and shopping trips.

With no close family, Margaret soon counted Joyce and Cindy as her friends and, after a while, almost like family.

Three years ago, when Margaret needed 24-hour care, Cindy and Joyce continued their visits.

"I rearranged my schedule for her," Cindy said of her visits to Margaret's North End home. She worked the day shift and took care of Margaret.

In 2004, when Margaret lost her beloved poodle, Cindy talked her into getting a cat, which she grew to love, to provide her company at night.

"She always had pets around, but she had had dogs," Cindy said.

In their visits, Margaret often would talk about her childhood and the former Stickell family mill on Baltimore Street. Margaret also talked about growing up during the Depression.

A great deal of their talks were about animals and how important their welfare was to Margaret.

"I remember once she told me how she helped dig the well for the shelter," Cindy said.

Margaret also taught Cindy a lot about flowers and gave her a book on gardening.

That friendship spread to Cindy's two children, Ashley Neville, 19, and Earl "Bubba" Neville, 18. When they were younger, both accompanied their mother when she took Margaret to the store and on drives through the community.

"I can remember Miss Stickell all of my life," Ashley said. "She came across as prim and correct, but we'd talk about school and things."

Bubba said he believes Miss Stickell, as he also called her, loved the company of him and his sister. He said he enjoyed it, too, including riding on the back of her scooter in the grocery store.

Several of Margaret's favorite trips included seeing Christmas lights and going to the senior fair, which Margaret always called "trick or treat for old people."

Contacted by phone, Joyce said Margaret considered Cindy, her children and Joyce to be her extended family.

"Cindy and I met through Margaret, and we have remained close friends, too," Joyce said.

Margaret's love for animals continued throughout her long life.

"She never wavered," Carol said.

Another "shelter" friend agreed with that description.

"Margaret was truly a guardian angel for animals in Washington County," said Marie Wampler, who has spent many years championing the humane treatment of pets and other animals.

A former president of the SPCA, now the Humane Society of Washington County, Margaret "stuck in there through thick and thin and kept the shelter going," Marie said.

In the days following Margaret's June 3 death at the age of 95, Cindy said she was trying to get used to not having her around. It hasn't been easy.

"There's a big emptiness in my life now that she's gone ... we're all feeling it," Cindy said.

A former president of the SPCA, now the Humane Society of Washington County, Margaret Elizabeth Stickell "stuck in there through thick and thin and kept the shelter going."

- Marie Wampler, who has spent many years championing the humane treatment of pets and other animals

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