The couple lived in an apartment on Dogwood Drive in Hagerstown until they bought their house on Chip’s Circle in Smithsburg in 1981, with the help of a mortgage program that required moving to a farming community, Lennie said.
All three daughters graduated from Smithsburg High School and are grateful to have grown up where they did.
Susan is remembered as a great cook, but despite her culinary skills, was not a baker. Lennie said early on, she knew he liked cherry pie and surprised him by baking a pie. The real surprise was that Susan hadn’t pitted the cherries.
“I about broke a tooth, but she was a good cook. Her mother taught both of ’em well,” said Lennie, who enjoyed her ham slippery potpie and cucumber salad.
Other specialties included roast beef and mashed potatoes.
“We had a hot meal every night,” Kelly said.
Susan loved to eat and was blessed with a metabolism to match her appetite, in part because she always was moving.
“She’d get an appetizer, entree and dessert and eat all of it, and she was not a big person,” Erin said.
A “french fry fanatic,” Susan would get a big bucket of Thrasher’s fries at the beach, with no intention of sharing them, Kerri said. She also loved chocolate lollipops — chocolate sno-cones topped with ice cream.
Family gatherings revolved around food, and the Lushbaugh family reunion with Susan’s mother’s family was held every September at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park in Halfway.
The family Thanksgiving for 50 to 60 people was held at the Alsatia Club, where Lennie and Susan’s stepfather were members, because no one had enough room for all of the family members. Everyone brought a dish to share and there were several turkeys, ham, roast beef, 40 pounds of mashed potatoes and a table full of desserts.
“We had a wonderful life,” said Kerri, who survived brain surgery after a four-wheeler accident when she was 17.
In addition to family, close friends were an important part of Susan’s life. Susan was part of “The Fab Four,” a group of close friends in the neighborhood who would get together for dinner once a month.
They started the evening at 6 p.m., stretching their conversation well past midnight, often past the restaurant’s closing time.
“Until they chased ’em out,” Lennie said.
The family attended Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg for years, and most recently, Susan went to Ringgold Church of Christ, where she was baptized in January 2012.
“The thing about Mom was her faith in God,” Kelly said. “That’s how she made it seven years.”
It was a colonoscopy in 2005 that led to a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. By 2008, the cancer had spread to her lungs.
Susan’s health was relatively stable until October 2011, when she had to be hospitalized. A lesion was found on her brain.
The gamma knife surgery that works on 90 percent of patients didn’t work on Susan, but she was determined to be around to see the birth of her first grandchild.
Granddaughter Hannah Benner, fondly known as “Hannah Banana,” was born Feb. 7, 2012.
“She was in the delivery room with me and stayed for a week,” Kelly said.
Susan was getting weaker, though. In April 2012, the day after Lennie lost his job, Susan woke up able only to drag her left leg.
She fell and broke her back in the summer, and by August, was bedridden and depressed, but tried to keep her spirits up for the sake of her family.
“She protected us,” Kelly said.
“From more than we ever knew until she died,” Kerri said.
“She was amazing,” Kelly said. “She taught us to be strong and how to do well.”
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 Susan R. McCarney, who died Jan. 11 at the age of 58. Her obituary was published in the Jan. 15 edition of The Herald-Mail.