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Charles "Henne" Henneberger

June 13, 2009|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 Charles "Henne" Henneberger, who died June 2 at the age of 81. His obituary was published in the June 3 edition of The Herald-Mail.

In his remarkable 60 years of membership at the Leitersburg Ruritan Club, Charles Henneberger mowed the grass and kept the grounds looking neat during the warm weather months.

Still going to meetings, still driving a car and still mowing until just before his June 2 death, Charles made his final trip to the Ruritian grounds and just sat on the picnic bench.

"He wanted to look at it one more time," said his daughter, Karen Marie Stuller.

Charles had lived in the family home on Marsh Pike since the late 1960s.

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"His parents had lived there and he bought out his sisters' share," Karen said.

The area of Paramount was home to Charles. Years ago, the backyard of his home had contained a building used by the trolley line when it ran from Hagerstown. The tracks still can be seen on the property.

Though Charles worked for Ewing Oil Co. for 16 years, he always considered himself first and foremost a farmer. In 1964, he was named Young Farmer of the Year by the Hagerstown Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees).

Charles began farming in 1956, first on a 40-acre farm, then on a 150-acre farm he rented.

"I remember him hauling us around on the tractor," said his son, Dick Henneberger said. He later taught his children how to drive that tractor.

Dick and Karen's older brother, Charles Wayne Henneberger, died in January at the age of 59 of cancer. That loss had a tremendous impact on their father, Karen said.

Ella Jane Henneberger, Charles' wife of 59 years, died in 2007 after several years at Coffman Nursing Home.

"Dad visited and took her out for rides when she was there," Karen said.

Their mother never had a driver's license, so it was up to Charles to do all of the driving.

"They came to Alaska for three weeks when I was living there and dad did all the driving," Karen said.

In recent years, Karen and her father continued to take rides whenever they could, stopping for treats along the way.

"Charles was a good and faithful Christian man ... a man of great faith," said the Rev. Terry Culler, pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Free Church in Leitersburg.

Culler, who has known Charles for all five of his years as pastor of St. Paul's, spoke of Charles' commitment to his marriage, his communities and his church.

"I was proud to call him my friend," Culler said.

In addition to his devotion to the Leitersburg Ruritan Club and his church, Charles also was a life member of the Long Meadow Fire Co. and a longtime member of the Washington County Fire Police.

"There were a lot of Ruritaners and fire police at the funeral service," Dick said.

Dick said Charles Rice, a longtime friend of his father and fellow member of St. Paul's, played "The Old Rugged Cross" on the clarinet at the service.

One of the other "duties" Charles performed for the Leitersburg Ruritan was working for 30 years at the former haunted house -- helping get it ready each year and working each night at a special location.

"Dad would be at the bottom of the chute at the end of the haunted house making sure everyone got out OK," Dick said.

A touching tribute to Charles took place the day after he passed away at the Parlor House Restaurant in Waynesboro, Pa.

Karen said a group of 10 to 12 Leitersburg Ruritan members went there for breakfast on a weekly basis. Charles went there for the last time on May 27.

"The waitress set a place for dad and laid down his food," Karen said. The waitress then learned Charles had passed away and she went around and hugged everyone.

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