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Rough weekend as we lost a friend

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Column by Jim Clark

The weekend was a little rough around here. Late Friday, Pauline Moore, our former office coordinator and inside salesperson, died at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness after a fairly short battle with leukemia.

When I first came to this paper from Levy County two years ago, there was Pauline at the front desk every day greeting people with a smile. She always used to call me “kiddo,” and at first I thought she couldn’t remember my name. Then I realized she called everyone that.

We eventually got to be friends, which wasn’t hard when you were with her, and some of the moments I remember would come on days around lunch time when she and I would be the only two people in the building, and she’d come back to my office, plop down in a chair and just talk.

Pauline had some severe eye problems and didn’t drive. Every morning her husband Lee faithfully drove her to work from their home in Crystal River, and every afternoon he’d come and pick her up. But lunch was on her own, and a lot of us here would go out for lunch and get something and bring it back.

In times like this you think of little humorous situations. One day I was going to a popular fast food place and asked if she wanted anything. She said yes, get her a bowl of chili.

I did as I was asked. But later that afternoon she stuck her head into my office and said, “If I ever ask you to get me chili again, ignore me!” You can guess what kind of afternoon she was having.

Pauline was always doing things for others. She organized a birthday surprise dinner at a restaurant in Inverness for our general manager, Tricia, and then helped organize a farewell event when Tricia left the company. She was the keeper of the birthday lists, helped by our company’s newsletter, and she always had a little goodie bag for everyone on their birthday, even those of us who really don’t care to celebrate that much any more. But when we got a cake for her on her birthday, we got scolded … but with a twinkle in her eye.

She was our first representative at all the business expos that take place out here. The picture on the front of today’s paper was taken at one of those events.

Last winter, she went on a cruise. When she came back, she complained of a steady sore throat. She finally went to get checked, but was given some antibiotics and sent home. She eventually came back to work, but suddenly that sore throat exploded into a huge swelling in her neck. She resisted our best efforts for a short while, but eventually her husband came and took her to the emergency room to get checked. That was the last time she set foot in the office.

She went home and we were told she was recovering. But one day she had to be taken to Citrus Memorial, and there the diagnosis of leukemia came down, shocking all of us. When we went to visit her, because she was undergoing chemo, we had to wear a surgical mask and gloves to enter her room.

She spent time in and out of the hospital, and even spent a short time at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. But she came back and, just a couple of weeks ago, she actually got to go to the supermarket. Little things like that are important when you’re confined to home for any length of time … I know, I’ve been there.

But shortly after that, it all went downhill. She was back in the hospital, and then, not too long ago, was moved into the hospice unit at Citrus Memorial.

The word came down Friday night that she had died.

As of this writing, there have been no plans announced for a service. She always said she didn’t want a fuss, and evidently conveyed that feeling to her family as well.

There’s a picture of her hanging on the wall in our front office from when she was chosen employee of the month some time back. I hope it’s allowed to stay there as a reminder to us of the type of person she was, so she can continue to inspire us all.

 

Jim Clark is the editor of the South Marion Citizen. He can be reached at editor@smcitizen.com or at 352-854-3986.