Ethel V. Cutshall, an office worker whose career at the Rosebud Perfume Co. in Woodsboro spanned more than eight decades, died Oct. 27 at Glade Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Walkersville of complications from a fall. She was 97.
Born Ethel Virginia Crum in Woodsboro, she was 13 when she quit Frederick County public schools to help support her family, and walked up North Main Street to take a job at Rosebud. Her tenure began during the presidency of Warren G. Harding in 1921, and outside of taking several months off to have her two children, continued uninterrupted for the next 84 years into the second term of President George W. Bush.
The company was founded in 1892 by her uncle, George F. Smith, a Woodsboro educator turned pharmacist, who created Rosebud Salve -- whose slogan is "a reliable family salve" -- from a secret recipe. The original salve is still packaged in blue-and-white tins.
Orders for Rosebud Salve, Smith Mentholated Salve and Strawberry Lip Balm are still filled in the old converted Main Street hotel that serves as the company's headquarters and are sent worldwide, but the products -- including soaps and a skin cream --are now manufactured by Case Mason Filling Co. in Joppa
The company's longtime customers include sisters Nicky and Paris Hilton, actress Jennifer Grant and supermodel Naomi Campbell, and it was Mrs. Cut- shall's job to pack orders and prepare shipping labels on a manual typewriter of uncertain vintage.
"She always said, `I'm going to work until the day I die,'" said her daughter, Ida Virginia Lee of Woodsboro. "She worked all of her life, and liked getting up and going to work. That was her life."
Mrs. Cutshall's last day at work was Oct. 12. That night, she fell and broke her hip, and was admitted the next day to the nursing facility in Walkersville.
Until she was in her 80s, Mrs. Cutshall walked daily between her daughter's home, where she lived, and work, arriving promptly at 8 a.m. and staying as long as there were orders to be filled.
"We'd go to Atlantic City for a week's vacation, and by the end of the week, she'd be saying, `I'd just as soon be at work.' That's what she enjoyed," her daughter said.
"She was as dear as dear could be. She never missed a day's work unless she was seriously ill. She just couldn't wait to get to work in the morning because we have lots of fun at this place," said company president Vivian Clipp, a granddaughter of the founder.
Even though her eyesight began to fail in recent years, Mrs. Cutshall packed boxes while co-workers assisted in preparing shipping labels.
In 2002, Experience Works Inc. presented her an award as Maryland's Oldest Worker of the Year.
Called "Grandma" by area residents and respected for her vast knowledge of local history, Mrs. Cutshall was a longtime member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Woodsboro Volunteer Fire Co. and the auxiliary of the Glenn W. Eyler American Legion Post.
She was a skilled poker player and enjoyed playing the slots in Atlantic City, N.J., and Charles Town, W.Va.
While Mrs. Cutshall followed no particular health or dietary regimen, she regularly enjoyed Whitman's Sampler or Russell Stover chocolates, and sipping an occasional Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola, family members said.
"She also didn't smoke, would eat anything she wanted, and walked up and down the stairs several times a day," her daughter said.
She was married for 34 years to Emory Snyder Cutshall, a house painter who died in 1972.
Mrs. Cutshall was a lifelong member of St. John's United Church of Christ in Woodsboro, where services were held Saturday.
Also surviving are a son, John W. Cutshall of Woodsboro; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.