Hagerstown native remembered as a 'free spirit'

W.Va. woman's death being ruled a homicide

June 01, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • Vickie E. Clem
Submitted photo

FALLING WATERS, W.Va. — Friends and colleagues of Vickie Clem, the victim of a Friday-morning homicide in Falling Waters, W.Va., remembered the North Hagerstown High School graduate Wednesday as a kind, cheerful person and dedicated community volunteer.

“If you asked her to volunteer to do something, she did just that; she gave you 100 percent,” said Mike Mowen, director of emergency services for the American Red Cross of Washington County, where Clem had volunteered for about three years.

Clem was part of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team, which provides support to victims and emergency responders during fires and other emergencies, Mowen said. She also helped with health seminars, fundraising efforts and a campaign to send holiday cards to soldiers, he said.

Mowen described Clem as pleasant, reliable and caring toward the community.

“She was a dedicated volunteer,” he said. “She’s going to be missed.”

Clem was killed at her home at 81 Vinca Lane in Falling Waters, W.Va. during an incident in which her son, Joshua L. Stitley of Hancock, Md., and another man, Roy L. Wisotzkey of Hagerstown, went to the house with a sword and a baseball bat with the intention of robbing the house, according to West Virginia State Police.

Clem’s husband, Jack Clem, was stabbed during an argument, but survived, police said. Vickie Clem’s cause of death was being investigated, but appeared to involve trauma to the head, police said.

Stitley and Wisotzkey have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and malicious assault, according to court documents.

Clem, 57, was a Hagerstown native and graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1971. She received an associate degree from Hagerstown Community College in 1996, attended Hood College in Frederick, Md., and recently obtained a certificate for medical billing from Valley College in Martinsburg, W.Va., according to her obituary. She was employed by Manpower in the medical billing department of a medical practice.

Clem also volunteered with the Washington County Commission on Aging,  Deputy Director Hannah Cramer said.

Clem had been volunteering with the commission for about two years, Cramer said. She worked with the commission’s Legal Services Department, helping seniors prepare power of attorney documents and advanced directives, formerly known as living wills.

“She caught on really quickly to the legal aspects,” Cramer said.

When the commission opened a satellite center in Hancock, Md., Clem helped with refreshments, games and entertainment, Cramer said.

“She would just do anything that was asked,” she said.


Cramer described Clem as soft-spoken.

“She was quite a talker, but at the same time very unassuming,” she said.

Anna Yost of Clear Spring, Md., said she, Clem, and another friend, Sue White, were “like the three musketeers” growing up in the east end of Hagerstown.

“We spent a lot of years together, from playing with baby dolls to going to the movies,” said Yost, whose maiden name was Baker.

Yost recalled long afternoons the friends spent playing softball in the park and late nights spent sitting on the porch talking and laughing.

“She was just sort of like a free spirit, I think,” she said of Clem. “She was just a lot of fun to be with.”

Timothy Thompson, another childhood friend, said he and Clem grew up a block and a half away from each other, went to school together and looked forward to seeing each other at class reunions.

“She was always uplifting, cheerful — just a fun person to be around,” Thompson said.

The friends said they were shocked and saddened to learn of Clem’s death.

“She’s just a really good person,” Yost said of her late friend. “It just seems — it’s a horrible thing that happened to her. I don’t understand it.”

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