Susan McCarney was a woman in motion.
Her family said it was typical for her to have completed several loads of laundry and have the house cleaned by 7 a.m.
“She was always busy. She loved to clean, anything in the house, anybody’s house,” said Erin Gay of Martinsburg, W.Va., the middle of Susan’s three daughters.
Susan was the oldest of two daughters and always was a helper around the house. One of her six brothers remembers her standing on the picnic table as a child to hang laundry on the clothesline because she wasn’t tall enough to reach the line.
Her love for cleaning, which Susan got from her mother and grandmother, translated to a job as cleaning supervisor for the state of Maryland at Catoctin Summit, an adolescent substance abuse treatment facility in Sabillasville. In addition to her cleaning jobs, Susan also worked in the deli for several local grocery stores.
After she was diagnosed with cancer more than seven years ago and had to quit working, Susan threw her energy into cleaning her parents’ home and those of some of their older neighbors, along with driving them to doctor and hair appointments and to the grocery store.
“She loved to help her family,” said Kerri McCarney of Smithsburg. “She packed me and my dad’s lunches. She loved taking care of us.”
The girls had to make their beds before they left for school. Susan tried to get them to do the dishes and their own laundry, but took over when she felt they weren’t doing things to her standards.
“She’d wake us up every Saturday morning and say we’re having a party, a cleaning party,” said oldest daughter Kelly Benner of Maugansville.
Susan also was known for sharing her opinions.
“We never had any trouble knowing what she was thinking,” Kelly said.
“She spoke out of turn a lot, then would apologize,” Erin said with a laugh.
The close-knit family is at a loss without Susan’s support. Her daughters admitted they called her daily, up to four times a day.
“We just have always needed our mom,” Kerri said. “We were spoiled rotten.”
“She did so much for all of us,” Kelly said.
Susan Brezler was raised in the West End of Hagerstown, graduating from North Hagerstown High School in 1972. Leonard “Lennie” McCarney lived a block away and when he was a junior in high school, asked Susan, who was a sophomore, to the prom.
Lennie ended up canceling because he didn’t have a driver’s license and the friend who was driving them to the dance only would drive Lennie if he took his sister.
They connected later, though, when Lennie was tending bar at Club Lakewood in West Virginia and Susan and a female friend started stopping in.
“I like to dance and she was a good dancer,” Lennie said. “She was such a nice girl. She never talked bad about anybody.”