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I was born on July 14, 1957 to Robert W. and Alta Mae Taylor Stallsmith of Arrowhead Farm in Carlton, PA, Mercer County. My childhood on the farm surrounded by my loving parents and siblings was nothing short of idyllic. We tended to the animals and toiled in the fields working hard but we also had wonderful times playing equally hard. We learned faith in God, right from wrong, a hard work ethic, the value of education and what is truly important in life.
In the Cochranton School system I received an excellent education, graduated in the spring of 1975 and headed to Clarion State College (now University) that fall where I majored in Political Science and graduated magna cum laude in 1979. Throughout my life I maintained a passion for the politics of the world with a focus on the USA. It was with great honor that I was afforded in my lifetime the opportunity to cast a vote for the first African American Presidential candidate and the first female Presidential candidate. When the final history book is written it will be a very small percentage of Americans who will be able to claim that pair of firsts.
Over my working years I essentially had two careers. My first career was in the financial services industry working for Federated Investors in Pittsburgh, PA and then for Nationwide in Columbus, OH. After returning to northwestern Pennsylvania in 2002 I began my second career in the medical services industry working for Orthopedic Associates of Meadville in the Billing Department until my retirement in January 2019.
If you have read this far, then you already know that I enjoyed reading, cross-stitching, country music, word puzzles, daily devotionals, walking at Woodcock Dam spotting any type of wildlife even if only a groundhog, and pets. From the favorite dog of my childhood Snoopy to my recent cats Banjo and Fiddle and all the pets in between including the perfect cat Twister, I found companionship, solace and simple fun in animals.
I also found boundless pleasure and never waning support from my family and friends. They were my chemo treatment companions, between treatment companions, drivers, caterers, prayer warriors, chore doers, helpers at work and cat caretakers. I tried to wear them out but they were indefatigable.
I was a member of Milledgeville Presbyterian Church in Carlton, PA and served multiple terms as an elder, assisted with Vacation Bible School and for several years was the treasurer. We like to say we were small in numbers but mighty in prayer. It is not a congregation but rather a church family. My mother, father, an infant elder brother (the first person I found in Heaven and he is as wonderful as I always imagined him), loving grandparents and cherished aunts and uncles pre-deceased me. I am survived by my sister Gayle Steck and brother-in-law Jim who loved, cared for, provided for and supported me in every step of my life. They also gave me the opportunity to attend the wettest Kentucky Derby ever (my only one) in 2018, treated me to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2010, and made it possible for me to see one of my favorite singers, Vikki Carr, live in 2016. Gayle and I also visited Alabama, Arkansas, Texas and Wyoming on vacations together making unforgettable memories. I am also survived by my brother Bradley Stallsmith and the world's best sister-in-law, his wife Linda. Linda and Bradley graciously host our family for every major holiday also doing the vast majority of the cooking. The family farm, Arrowhead Head, remains in the family thanks to Bradley who continues to care for it as my parents did. Bradley and Linda have two children, my beautiful on the outside and more importantly on the inside niece Kelly and my wonderfully creative nephew Lucas. Kelly, along with dear Josh, has given me two spirited, loving great nieces Bailey and Chloe Fera. Lucas is engaged to Emily Flack and I am confident they will be happy together for many years. It has been my pleasure and my honor to have been surrounded by such a loving immediate family. In addition, I am survived by aunts Shirley, Louise and Wilda and uncles Albert and Robert plus many super cousins and their families. My life was blessed with many great co-workers and wonderful friends, the best being Cindy Roberts, along with her husband Terry and their children and grandsons. Cindy, Terry and I met while working at Conneaut Lake Park in the summer of 1978 and the rest, as they say, is history - a very rich history which I trust them to continue!
I would also like to thank the doctors and staff at Meadville Medical Center and the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute, specifically Dr. Jason Brown and Nurse Dawnmel Grove. Working day after day with cancer patients takes a certain, very rare kind of special person and the folks at "The Barco" are those people.
You can come support my family and tell them a few stories they may not have heard at my calling hours and funeral service. Calling hours will be Thursday, August 8, 2019 from 2:00 P.M. until 4:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the Ryan M. Warren Funeral Home at 544 Chestnut Street, Meadville, PA and the funeral will be at the funeral home on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 11:00 A.M. with Rev. Brian Ennis of Milledgeville Presbyterian Church presiding.
Please take a moment to share a memory or condolence with the family on Kim's Book of Memories at www.warrenfh.com
In lieu of flowers, if you are so inclined to make a memorial donation, please make it to either the charity of your choice or the Meadville Medical Center Foundation for the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute or the Crawford County Humane Society. Thank you, Kim.
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