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Catherine Lutman

December 07, 2008|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 Catherine Kesecker Lutman, who died Nov. 24 at the age of 90. Her obituary was published in The Herald-Mail on Nov. 25.

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - When Catherine and Lloyd Lutman began growing peaches, things didn't go very well at first. But instead of declaring a loss, the couple just switched to raising pigs - letting them feast on what was left of the peach crop.

That experience summed up the couple's work ethic, which their three grown children remember well from their childhoods.

Catherine passed away Nov. 24 at the age of 90. Lloyd died in 1999.

"Our parents were teenagers of the Depression," Gary Lutman said. "We grew everything we ate."

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The Lutmans were still working hard when they reached the age of 70, forgoing Social Security until that time.

"Mom and Dad were a team in everything," Nancy Lutman Hendershot said. She recalled how her parents began a sawmill because they needed money while the orcharding effort was new and not very lucrative.

Janet Lutman said her earliest memories were of the family's chicken enterprise, which involved 6,000 chickens laying 3,500 to 4,000 eggs a day.

"All I knew were chickens when I was growing up," she said.

It was Janet's job to collect the eggs in wire baskets, wash the eggs in the basement and take them to her mother for the final step.

When Catherine finished grading the eggs, a man from Hancock, Md., came and took them to market every day, Janet said.

Catherine and Lloyd raised their three children on the same property along W.Va. 9, albeit in different houses. The Mountain View Orchards Inc. packing shed still stands on that 40-acre tract, as do several outbuildings that saw a lot of activity in earlier times.

The rest of the Lutman property is along River Road, where Nancy and Gary each have homes amid 150 acres of apple and peach orchards.

Janet, Nancy and Gary all remember "toeing the line" when they were growing up. "They were very strict," Gary said of his parents.

Nancy remembered that all three children would surely incur their parents' displeasure if chores weren't done or weren't done in a timely fashion.

No matter what the Lutmans were involved in, they were in it together and 100 percent, their children said. Both were members of the Morgan County Farm Bureau - the men in one group and the women in another, but both met at the same time and participated in the same endeavors.

"That was typical," Gary said. He and his wife are members of the bureau, as are Nancy and her husband, Roger.

Catherine and Lloyd were also both members of the Berkeley Springs Volunteer Fire Department, joining in 1953, Nancy said.

"Once we were all at Dairy Queen in Berkeley Springs (now Sheetz) when an alarm went off," Gary said. The entire family went on that call.

Lloyd and Catherine always took the family on Sunday drives. More often than not, they ended up eating dinner out.

"In later years, Mom didn't want to cook as much, so Dad would often take her out to eat Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights," Janet said.

As Catherine aged and she faced life without Lloyd, her interests changed. That included a deepening involvement in her church, Grace United Methodist in Sleepy Creek.

"I would come on Saturdays and wash her hair for church," Nancy said. Catherine rarely missed a Sunday.

Children also got her attention, especially around the holidays.

"Mom loved kids. We would fix up Christmas cards with $1 in each and sometimes she'd have a new quarter for each child at church," Janet said.

At Easter, the tradition was to put quarters in plastic eggs and take them to church for the children.

Rolled and wrapped pennies were collected and handed out to the grandchildren, Janet said. And they weren't to be spent either.

Catherine lived with Janet in her home toward the end of her life. Then, her days were spent watching hunting and fishing shows on television, listening to country music and working word puzzles.

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