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Pauline S. Reedy

September 29, 2012|By JANET HEIM | janeth@herald-mail.com
  • The women of the Reedy family gathered for the bridal shower of granddaughter Kristin Carpenter in August in Mount Airy, Md. Shown from left, front row, are daughter Debbie Carpenter and Pauline Reedy. In back, from left, are daughter Cindy Serbin, daughter-in-law Kathy Reedy and granddaughters Kelley Carpenter, Kristin Carpenter and Laura Reedy.
Submitted photo

Pauline Reedy was known for her meticulous organization and high standards, which she expected of herself, her family and those around her.

“She was a great mother. She tried to get them to follow her principles — do your best, be truthful. She did a darn good job,” said husband William “Bill” Reedy of Hagerstown.

“She expected us to do our best. B’s were not acceptable because we could get A’s,” said Cynthia “Cindy” Serbin of Knoxville, Tenn.

“We all have our master’s, so we must have listened,” said daughter Deborah “Debbie” Carpenter of Ellicott City, Md.

Pauline was a firm disciplinarian and believed in dealing immediately with issues, a skill that served her well as a substitute teacher at North Hagerstown High School, a job she took once son Jeff Reedy was in high school.

Jeff, who lives in Durham, N.C., recalled a test of wills with his mother. He did not like peas and recalls his mother making him sit at the kitchen table for several hours one night after dinner until he would eat his peas. He never did.

“I thought I could outlast her,” said Jeff, who since has learned to like peas.

Raised with one brother near Reading, Pa., Pauline Stief graduated from Sinking Spring High School in 1946. Bill lived about three miles away and attended the rival high school.

It was in 1945 that he and a buddy were “cruising” and struck up a conversation with a local girl, who happened to be a friend of Pauline’s. They arranged to meet later that evening with her friend for a quick bite to eat, then to play cards.

When Bill’s friend saw “the good-looking blonde,” he said he’d choose her. Instead, Pauline hopped in the front seat of the car with Bill.

At the restaurant, Bill’s friend sat by Pauline, but on the ride home, when Bill opened the front door, Pauline jumped in the front seat again. They began dating and married three years later, in 1948 when they were 19, the beginning of a 64-year marriage.

“Everybody said Pauline knew what she wanted,” Bill said.

Pauline worked for six years as a telephone operator in Pennsylvania, then the couple moved to Hagerstown for Bill’s job in 1952, back to Sinking Spring for a year, then settled in Hagerstown in 1955.

Bill said his sales job with IBM required him to travel, so Pauline often was on her own to take care of the children.

They moved to their home on the extended portion of The Terrace in 1961, and it became a gathering place for the Reedy children and their friends.

After her substitute job at North High, Pauline worked for 12 years at First National Bank of Maryland. Pauline and Bill both retired in 1987.

Music was a constant in Pauline’s life and she shared that interest with her family. She sang in her church’s choir from age 16 and continued throughout her life.

The Reedy children all took piano lessons and were involved with the church youth vocal and handbell choirs. Cindy took organ lessons and is a substitute organist, and Jeff played trumpet in the North Hagerstown High School marching band. Even Bill joined the party.

“She got me singing in the choir, too, and I’m still gonna stay singing for her as much as for me,” Bill said.

When Pauline took over the children and youth vocal and handbell choirs at Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, she inherited the tradition of a summer youth choir camp at Mount Aetna Camp. The youths would spend a week devoting long days to perfecting their music.

For Pauline, who was not a camper, it took her out of her comfort zone.

“She would put up with primitive cabins and showers. That was a sacrifice for her to make,” Cindy said.

Jeff said summer camp was the highlight of the summer for a lot of children. He described his mother as “a drill master,” but said they were proud of the result of their hard work.

Many of those in attendance at Pauline’s memorial service had been members of her youth choirs, Jeff said.

Over the years, Pauline was active in church women’s groups, with music ministry, with fundraising, especially making and selling buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate) and on the board of trustees.

Pauline and Bill joined St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Williamsport 10 years ago and she was the treasurer of the women’s group until this spring, when arthritis in her hand prevented her from writing.

Pauline and Bill both were involved in their children’s activities, whether as PTA presidents at Fountaindale Elementary School, band and athletic boosters in high school, or other activities.

“We always tried to stay active in our kids’ schools,” Bill said.

Pauline meticulous organizing served the family well when they gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as for summer vacations before the children were married. Then along came the four grandchildren.

“When the grandchildren were born, we’d drop everything and drive down to help out,” Bill said. 

Bill was an avid golfer and in retirement, Pauline took up the game, because she didn’t want to be a golf widow. He said she became a golf “addict,” like he was.

“She really took to golf and got into it. She had her buddies,” Cindy said.

“She got to the point she could play a pretty respectable game of golf,” Jeff said.

Retirement allowed time for travel, worldwide and in the United States. Pauline collected coffee mugs from their international trips and the kitchen wall is lined with mugs from Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, England and most European countries.

Bill golfed with Irv Easterday, who along with his wife, Betty, led a dance group that they took on trips. The Reedys started traveling with the dance group.

Five years ago, Pauline started having breathing problems because of double pneumonia and emphysema, which plagued her the rest of her life. She seemed to be recovering well from a broken hip in October 2011, but was having problems with balance.

A tumor in her colon was detected and removed, but her breathing problems continued. Pauline was so used to being on the move that the need for a walker or cane bothered her.

Debbie said her friends commented that they didn’t remember seeing Pauline sitting down much.

She also didn’t like losing her independence.

“Even though she helped out others, she hated to depend on others,” Debbie said.

Pauline had wanted to attend her granddaughter Kristin Carpenter’s wedding Nov. 11, although she did make it to the bridal shower in August and got to see her grandson get married two years ago.

“It’s been a good, happy marriage. We had our trials and tribulations, but we had a lot of good times. We had common interests,” Bill said.

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Editor’s note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail runs “A Life Remembered.” Each story in 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 Pauline S. Reedy, who died Sept. 12 at the age of 84. Her obituary was published in the Sept. 15, 16 and 17 editions of The Herald-Mail.

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