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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kay Church, 66 of Manchester, July 6, 1946 - June 6, 2013

Kevin Dayhoff - Soundtrack: 20060713 Happy Birthday Kay Church: Happy Birthday Kay Church July 13 th , 2006 by Kevin Dayhoff Carroll County Commissioners Julia Gouge, Dean Minnich, and Perry Jon...

Kay Church, 66 of Manchester, July 6, 1946 - June 6, 2013

On Thursday June 6, 2013 Florence Kathleen (Kay) Church age 66 of Manchester, Md. passed away at the Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, MD.

Born July 6, 1946 in Bluefield, West Virginia she was the daughter of the late Garland Wiley and Betty Jane Shupe and the wife of 43 years to Ronald Church.

Surviving in addition to her husband is daughter Lisa Lynne (Church) Breeden, son Ronald A. Church Jr. son in law Andrew Breeden, and grandchildren Ethan, Chandler, Abby, Hannah and Elijah, sisters Karen Sipe of Columbus Ohio and Jinny Lynn Brooks of North Beach Md. and brothers David and John Shupe of Roanoke Va, Jason Shupe of Laurel Md, and Mason Shupe of Alexandria Va.

Kay Grew up in Silver Spring Md and was a 1965 graduate of Montgomery Blair High School. She was the Main Desk receptionist at the Carroll County Government office building for 20 years, retiring from that position in 2010.

Viewings will be held at Eckhardt Funeral Chapel P.A. 3296 Charmil Drive Manchester Md 21102 on Monday evening June 10 from 7:00-9:00 pm, and Tuesday June 11 from 10:00 am until noon.

Following the Tuesday viewing a memorial service will be held officiated by Father James K. Hamrick.

The family wishes to express their gratitude to the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Company ambulance crew for their exemplary service and care during our trying time. Donations of any amount will be accepted at both viewings to benefit this most worthy cause.

Online condolences may be made to

Happy Birthday Kay Church
July 13th, 2006 by Kevin Dayhoff

Carroll County Commissioners Julia Gouge, Dean Minnich, and Perry Jones surprise Carroll County Office Building receptionist Kay Church with a birthday cake for her birthday.

People Carroll County, Carroll County Commissioners, Carroll County Government News

Related: 20060706 KDDC Aunt Kay Birthday Cake and the Commissioners

Last Thursday was a milestone birthday for the receptionist at the Carroll County office building information desk, Kay Church, aka “Aunt Kay.

How old is she did you ask? Well, here at the Westminster Eagle, we’re not in the business of competing with The New York Times when it comes to divulging state secrets, but we will give you a hint. She’s the same age as President George W. Bush.

So just what does an “information desk receptionist” do? After all, I have always been focused on the fact that she has a friendly greeting, warm smile, and almost always has cookies. She sits almost exactly where the old Crowl ice cream factory used to be, long before the office building was there, so she is continuing a great tradition of hospitality through food.

When I wander into the building, Aunt Kay is quick to tell me where to go. In my years of working for the public I’ve been told where to go on a number of occasions, but no one does it as nicely as Aunt Kay.

According to our sources, Aunt Kay is part guidance counselor, honorary bailiff (armed with a salad shooter and hard carrots at the ready,) tour guide and mother confessor.

She is also the mother of two grown children. Well, three, if you count her husband, Ron, who also works for county government in the Bureau of Development Review.

Aunt Kay has worked for the county since August 1988, when, after working for Black and Decker in Hampstead, the Manchester Pharmacy and the Hampstead sewing factory, she took a job in personnel services (now called production distribution,) on the bottom floor of the building.

In November 1989 she got a promotion and a raise – to the first floor, where she has been found ever since in her “command station” at the main entrance of the building.

As for her job, Aunt Kay says, she’s “taken an avocation and turned it into a career. I like people and I like talking.”

Recently I had an opportunity to sit down with Aunt Kay so she could talk a little about her job. And talk is exactly what she did. It was like opening the flood gates of genuinely friendly southern charm.

Then again, getting Aunt Kay to talk was not only easy, but getting Aunt Kay to take a break is not really that unusual since she always takes time to help citizens as they hustle and bustle by her command post. And usually, no matter how busy she is, she acts like her sole job is to help you.

“I love serving the public. Carroll County citizens are the best,” as she bubbled over with pride about working for Carroll County government and flowery praise and admiration for her co-workers in the building.

She’s not the first to be the friendly public gatekeeper for the building, Bea Sauble had served in the position for ten years. Aunt Kay was quick and adamant to be sure that it was mentioned that she works with a team that includes, Patsy Hughes, Brenda Wetzel, Gina Ellis, Courtney Hammond and JoAnna Crone.

“This building is really something,” she elaborated. “Oh, everyone has their day now and then, but by far, this is the greatest, kindest and most caring group of folks … This building is all one big team.”

She also quickly added that she wished everyone could be aware of the “dedication, hard work and everything that goes into public service” by the county employees.

As Aunt Kay has now worked for county government for three decades and five different commissioner administrations, she has seen some changes over the years.

Every commissioner she “has ever worked with has been really dedicated. They take the time to get to know each employee’s name and they make you feel like an equal and valuable part of a team. Each and every one of them has been especially good to me.”

“Of course, the building was smaller. The county was smaller, but county government is still small enough to know its customers and be in the customer service business.

“I used to walk to work until the traffic began to worry me”, she lamented. Of course, what most readers don’t know, is that when Aunt Kay, the energizer bunny, talks about walking to work, we’re not just speaking of traveling by foot from around the block. “It’s only 10 miles from home to the county office building,” she adds casually.

One of her goals when she retires is the walk the 2,144 mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. But no one wants her to retire anytime too soon.

Asked how the tradition of the cookies began, she said that “cookies have always been a part of who I am. Being raised in the south, when visitors come you feed them. Besides, I love to bake.”

“This job… working with the public has been so good to me that the cookies are the least I can do to give something back. Folks used to be surprised (that cookies are available at the receptionist desk,) now folks stop by her desk before they see the bailiffs and ask for a cookie.”

Always greeting citizens with a smile and a cookie does give way to humor from time to time. When asked for a funny story or two, she lit up and immediately responded, “My favorite one - and it happens every day is the question: ‘Do these stairs go down?’”

For Kay Church everything is always looking up and the county is fortunate to have her and the many other hundreds of great county employees working for our quality of life and future.

Next time you are in the county office building - or call, say happy birthday to Aunt Kay. Her birthday was last week, but when you walk in the county office building, every citizen is special and every day is your birthday.


Kevin Dayhoff writes from Westminster Maryland USA.

E-mail him at: kevindayhoff AT

His columns and articles appear in The Tentacle -;  Westminster Eagle Opinion;  

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