Effort to help man's family

Church, community extend aid after Jim Stein's death

Fund raising to continue

New Windsor

March 29, 2001|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

James Blair "Jim" Stein, a New Windsor man stricken with acute lymphocytic leukemia 17 months ago whose plight was embraced by many in the Carroll community, died Tuesday evening at Carroll County General Hospital. He was 40.

A self-employed auto body repairman who had to quit work when he became ill, Mr. Stein and his family were the recipients of thousands of donations to the Jim Stein Foundation. The foundation placed donation jars around the county and held fund-raisers for the family.

Funds raised enabled Mr. Stein's wife, Stephanie, to stay at home rather than find a job to support the family, which includes three children. Mrs. Stein was also able to accompany her husband to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he had chemotherapy treatments and an unsuccessful bone marrow transplant.

The outpouring of help has extended to funeral arrangements.

Pritts Funeral Home in Westminster has given a $2,400 discount on its services. Dutterer's Florist is donating flowers for Mr. Stein's casket. Mathias Monuments is giving the family a discount on a headstone. A Touch of Elegance Limousine Service is donating two cars to shuttle the family from the church to the cemetery.

Dottie Owings, a member of Church of the Open Door in Westminster, where the Steins also worship, donated a burial plot at Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Finksburg. Evergreen donated a second plot so Mr. Stein and his wife can be buried next to each other. The cemetery has waived its fees, said Mildred Doehrer, who established the Jim Stein Foundation.

"The cemetery let Stephanie walk around and pick a spot she thought would be good, then they donated a second plot next to it for her," said Russ Doehrer, Mildred's husband, who met the Steins while he was at Hopkins recovering from cancer.

"Jim was such a nice guy, he was a real Christian," he said. "He was always out helping people. He'd ride the church bus on Saturdays to get kids to come to church, then go back out on Sunday and pick them up. These were kids that had probably never even seen a church."

Mildred Doehrer said she had no idea how much money has been raised for the foundation from about 30 donation jars and many fund-raisers. It is certainly in the thousands of dollars.

"I want to continue the foundation for a year at least to get [Stephanie] on her feet," Mildred Doehrer said. "She has credits toward a nursing degree and she's going to Frederick Community College to get her degree."

The next fund-raiser will be a silent auction and magic show starting at 6 p.m. April 7 at Runnymede Elementary School near Taneytown. Russ Doehrer said five professional magicians have donated their services. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens.

Mr. Stein was born June 5, 1960, in Olney, the son of Robert Blair and Mary Pearson Stein of Taneytown. He was a 1978 graduate of Damascus High School.

Viewings will be from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tomorrow at Pritts on Washington Road. A visitation will be held one hour before the funeral Saturday at Church of the Open Door. Services will follow at 11 a.m. The church is on Route 140 in Westminster, next to Heritage Honda. Mr. Stein's pastor, Dr. Norris E. Belcher Jr., will lead the service.

Besides his wife, Mr. Stein is survived by a daughter, Blair, 11, and two sons, Jim Jr., 16, and Jacob, 7.

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