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Gloria Schlee Truax

December 27, 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 Gloria Schlee Truax, who died Dec. 15 at the age of 60. Her obituary was published in the Dec. 17 edition of The Herald-Mail.

There were no fireworks when Gloria Reed first met Ernie Truax in the mid 1960s -- it was more like a warm glow that grew into a love that lasted more than 38 years.

"My dad bought an auto salvage business in Hancock in the 1950s," Ernie said. A Fulton County, Pa., native, Ernie said he first knew of Gloria from her waitressing job at the Park 'N Dine.

Then there was a chance encounter at the Hancock bowling alley/skate rink (now a truck stop) when Ernie learned that Gloria had asked a friend about him.

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"Bud Murray, then the Hancock constable, told me Gloria liked me," Ernie said. That gave him the courage to ask her out, and after five years of dating, the couple married Oct. 2, 1970.

Before their marriage, Gloria had been working at a sewing factory in Chambersburg, Pa. -- she and her sisters traveled there together.

A year older, Ernie then was employed by Washington County Hospital as a surgical technician. He worked there until 1993, when he went to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he works as an educator .

As a young couple, Ernie and Gloria lived in a mobile home in Hancock. Their only child, Kathy, was born in 1971.

"I was a honeymoon baby," Kathy said from the home she shares with her husband, Gary, and their son, Lucas, 6.

Growing up, Kathy said she remembers that the scanner was always on at the Truax home since her father was a Hancock firefighter and had been since he was 16.

"Gloria wasn't really into the firefighting life," Ernie said. "She understood it, but wasn't a member of the auxiliary."

There wasn't much time for that since she was raising a child and working at London Fog in Hancock.

Ernie said he would drop Kathy off at Gloria's mother's house on his way to work and pick her up when he was coming home. Later, when Kathy was in school, she would stay with Ernie's parents, who walked her to and from school.

In 1974, Ernie and Gloria built a home at 210 Virginia Ave. in Hancock. That house and the pool in the backyard became the center of activities for the Truax family.

"We camped a lot and there were many summer picnics," Kathy said. "Mom did a lot of cooking and baking for those."

Over the years, Gloria acquired the nickname "Aunt Tiny" from her nieces and nephews, who often gathered at the Truax family home. When they weren't in the pool, they would play house in the family camper.

The cousins once begged Gloria to let them skinny dip in the pool when they were 8 or 9 years old, Kathy recalled.

"Mom said OK and then would turn off the pool lights," she said.

At one point, Gloria provided day care for a nephew, Ryan Moats, when he was a child. He now lives in Baltimore, and Ernie said Ryan always said Aunt Tiny was a good "cooker."

Kathy's son, Lucas, called Gloria Grammy.

"I'm Pappy," Ernie said.

Both Kathy and Ernie were struggling to deal with Christmas this year, although both admitted it never was Gloria's favorite holiday.

"She just didn't care much for Christmas, but she did it for the kids," Ernie said.

This year, Kathy put up a Christmas tree for her family and included her father in all of the holiday activities.

Struggling to adjust to life without Gloria, Ernie said he is warmed by his family's efforts to help him through the holidays ... and beyond.

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