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Custodian retires from Pangborn Elementary

September 05, 2007|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

When he said good-bye last week, Richard Stouffer left a family and a lot of smiling faces.

Stouffer retired Friday after 31 years as a custodian for Washington County Public Schools. He spent 23 of those years at Pangborn Elementary.

Stouffer, 54, of Hagerstown, attended the school, enrolling when it opened in 1957. The school will be torn down next year, when a new Pangborn Elementary School opens.

"That played a part (in my decision to retire)," he said. "It wouldn't be the same. Pangborn hasn't really changed much."

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Stouffer said he will miss the students and staff he saw every day, but that he got a nice sendoff from Pangborn. Students made him hundreds of cards, and Stouffer said he'll read each one. He also received many gifts - and a lot of hugs.

He began his career with the school system at Williamsport Elementary, where he worked for six months before accepting a lead custodian job at Smithsburg Middle. He worked there for nearly three years before working as a custodian at Smithsburg High for five years.

When he saw the job open at Pangborn Elementary, he said it was appealing because the school was only one mile from his home.

"It was mostly just the commute, but it happened to be the school I went to," he said.

Stouffer's two children, Jessica Keefer of Maugansville and Richard Stouffer Jr. of Hagerstown, also went to the school. His daughter was in kindergarten when Stouffer began working there.

"I don't know how she felt about it at the time, but it was nice for me," he said.

Stouffer said that leaving the job he held for so long has been hard. But he's enjoying retirement and said it will give him time to get some projects done at home.

He's also going to be working part-time for his son, who owns Rick's Auto Service in Hagerstown.

Stouffer first worked as a custodian for about two years at Hagerstown Junior College. He then changed tires at Montgomery Ward in Hagerstown before taking a job with Washington County Public Schools.

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