Taneytown woman's gifts will be missed NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

NEIGHBORS

August 05, 1993|By MICHELLE HOFFMAN

In May, I wrote a column about a special lady in the Taneytown community, Judy Carl.

Mrs. Carl was a cancer survivor.

I had only met her a couple of times -- both meetings were for my column -- but I remember her strength, and her incredible optimism in the face of such a harsh reality. And I remember her warm smile.

On July 24, Mrs. Carl passed away at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. She lost the battle she had fought so hard for the past seven years. She was 49 years old.

"It just makes you feel like your heart's been amputated," said Jeff, one of her two sons, who devoted time to care for her.

Judy, as her friends knew her, was very active in the community before and during her illness. She was treasurer of the Ladies' Auxiliary of the Taneytown Volunteer Fire Company. She served for a time as treasurer of the Francis Scott Key High School Athletic Boosters and operated a concession stand for the Taneytown Little League football and baseball teams.

Five years ago, she started a cancer support group that meets the last Monday of every month at Taneytown Baptist Church.

But what made Judy memorable was her love of children. She taught Sunday school at the church and was a teacher's assistant at Taneytown Elementary for 20 years.

"She just had qualities about her," said her husband, James. "There's one gift that she was given. I haven't seen it in too many people, but she just had a gift to be with kids.

"I've had the parents of kids tell me at different times that their kids thought more of her than they did a regular teacher because she just had patience and cared for them."

Debbie Henze, the second-grade teacher Mrs. Carl assisted, said, "She loved working with the kids and being able to see them succeed at something, even if it was just a little thing, like if they recognized a word one day they hadn't the day before. If she had been able to help them in some way to meet with success, that really pleased her.

"The children loved her," added Louann Bowins, another member of the second-grade team. "She especially did well with the little boys. If a child had a problem, and they would clam up around us [teachers], Judy was always able to take that child to the side and talk to them in a nice, trusting kind of way.

Linda Hahn, an assistant who worked closely with Mrs. Carl, remembered her determination to be with the children and perform the job she loved.

"When she used to go for her treatments, no matter how sick she was, she would always try to come back to work. If she couldn't stay all day, she would leave, but the next day she would try to come back. She wanted to be around the kids.

"In her hospital room at Johns Hopkins, her wall was papered with cards the kids would send her from school. Ones she had before, not just from that year. Her whole room was nothing but cards."

Mrs. Carl's quiet strength throughout her ordeal was an inspiration to those who knew her, and those who knew of her. Her love for those around her, and the way she put the needs of others before her own, touched the hearts of everyone she met.

"That's the kind of person she was," said daughter-in-law Patti, who is married to Mrs. Carl's son Greg.

James Carl described his wife as a warrior. "She fought the cancer disease right to the end," he said.

"There's one thing that both of us swore, and committed ourselves to, that we would try to help a lot of other people out, and she did. The [cancer] support group was just something she felt she needed to do."

"Not once did she complain about having to go to Hopkins or about the pain she had to be experiencing," said Mrs. Henze. "Judy just was not a complainer. I don't remember her complaining about anything the whole time I've known her, and especially for somebody to have to go through something like she did without complaining at all, that's a wonderful example."

"Everything about Judy came from the heart," Mrs. Bowins said. "Everything about her was sincere, and nothing phony. . . . She didn't try to change anybody, she just accepted people and life the way they were. She'll just be greatly missed."

Greg and Patti's daughter, 2-year-old Brittany, was Mrs. Carl's pride and joy.

"Mom would do anything for Brittany," Greg said. "You didn't even have to tell her [Brittany] who Grandma was," added Patti.

"We would tell Mom that the little bit Brittany's been around her, it's like Mom's spirit is in Brittany in the way she gets along with other kids," Greg said. "She'll instantly take to the other kids and the other kids would take to her. The other kids will swarm around her and want to be around her just like the way Mom was. When she was in school [teaching], all the kids always wanted to be around her."

More than a thousand people waited in line over 30 minutes to see Mrs. Carl at her viewing at Skiles Funeral Home July 27, and Taneytown Baptist Church overflowed for her funeral the next day.

*

Fund-raisers in the form of hymn sings, yard and bake sales, and a softball tournament were held to help the Carl family with medical expenses. Two funds have been established in Mrs. Carl's memory. Contributions are being accepted for the Judith Carl Medical Expense Fund, c/o Taneytown Bank and Trust Co., P.O. Box 491, Taneytown, Md. 21787, or Taneytown Baptist Church Building Fund, 4150 Sells Mill Road, Taneytown, Md. 21787.

*

Mrs. Carl relied heavily on transfusions of blood platelets during her chemotherapy treatments.

There will be a community blood drive in Taneytown from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, at the Activities Building on Memorial Drive.

If you are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, are healthy and have not given blood in the past 56 days, please consider donating.

Free baby-sitting is available.

Information: Sandra Crouse, 756-6077, or Wanita Sackman, 756-1356.

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