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Antietam Humane Society loses executive director to brain aneurysm

April 02, 2010|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- By all accounts, Candice "Candy" Clopper, 52, of Greencastle, Pa., was the picture of health.

So, when she unexpectedly passed away Thursday evening, her death left a sudden void in the lives of those she touched, both human and animal.

"She woke up yelling from the pain of a headache and told her husband to call 911. Then she passed out," said her sister, Mary Porterfield. "Not long after, she died."

Clopper died at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center of a brain aneurysm, after suffering days earlier from a headache, her sister said.

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"She will be deeply missed by everyone -- her family, her friends and the animals," Porterfield said. "We all feel such heartfelt loss."

For nearly 10 years, Clopper served Waynesboro as executive director of the Antietam Humane Society on Lyons Road.

Clopper loved animals, so when she began working at Antietam Humane Society in 2000, it was a good fit, said Porterfield, who also works at the humane society.

"I remember her as a child always wanting a horse, but we were military children and it just was not possible."

After graduating from Smithsburg High School in 1975, Clopper soon was able to have a horse, Porterfield said.

In time, Clopper's small "farmette" in Waynesboro grew to be a home for pot-bellied pigs, dogs, cats and rabbits, as well as her beloved horses, Porterfield said.

As news of Clopper's death filtered through the community Friday, those who knew her could not help but feel a deep sense of loss.

"She was such a wonderful person," said April Barr, an animal trainer, groomer and humane society volunteer. "I chose to work mostly with the Antietam Human Society because of her."

Filling Clopper's shoes will be a nearly impossible task, Antietam Humane Society Board President Andrea Haugh said.

Clopper took pride in her work, especially in the small changes she implemented over the years that made a difference in the lives of the animals, Porterfield said.

Barr said she could remember one day when Clopper admitted her disdain for euthanizing cats.

Not long after that conversation, Clopper began a reduced-cost spay/neuter program at the Humane Society in which anyone could bring any cat to be sterilized. Her goal was to curtail the population of unwanted cats, Barr said.

"That was Candy," Porterfield said. "She was really proud of that program."

The Antietam Humane Society will be closed Monday and Tuesday for staff and volunteers to mourn Clopper's passing and to organize to continue in her absence, Haugh said.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Grove-Bowersox Funeral Home in Waynesboro.

Antietam Humane Society's board of directors will meet Tuesday to appoint an interim director and begin the process of finding new leadership for the shelter, Haugh said.

"We are devastated by this loss," said Dianne Barry, an office assistant at the Antietam Humane Society. "We loved her dearly and will forever miss her."

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