Franklin P. Woodring
Frank and Suanne Woodring are shown on their wedding day on July 17, 1965. (Submitted photo / February 9, 2013)
For 22 years, Frank was the heart and soul of Maryland Cracker Barrel magazine. He was editor/publisher of the magazine that combined his love for writing with his love for history.
“He had a real gift for talking to people and writing,” wife Suanne said.
It was a team effort, with his wife of 47 years, Suanne Woodring, handling the subscriptions and business side of the bimonthly publication. Son Chad Woodring of Boonsboro was their computer guru.
Their 1991 purchase of the magazine coincided with Chad’s graduation from high school. The couple’s commute to work required a short walk to the business office in their home near Fairplay.
“He was restless and looking for something to do,” Suanne said. “He saw an ad for Cracker Barrel in the newspaper. We were a real team and enjoyed it very much. It was a labor of love.”
Frank did most of the research, interviewing and writing, assisted by associate editors. This career came after working as a TTS operator at The Herald-Mail, where he punched the tape that was fed into the linotype machine, as a sports reporter and 31 years in the teaching profession.
“He loved history. Cracker Barrel was something he loved. People said they were going to miss his writing,” said oldest brother Richard Woodring of Augusta, Ga.
Frank was one of Hiram and Nettie Woodring’s four sons. The second oldest, Frank, was 13 when their father died of a heart attack.
Raised in Hagerstown’s West End, the “Woodring Boys” were constant companions and “did a lot of brother stuff, as much as we could,” said youngest brother Deane Woodring of Waynesboro, Pa.
After her husband’s death, family members didn’t think Nettie could handle raising four sons on her own and suggested she put the boys in an orphanage.
Although she had never worked outside of the home, Nettie got a job as a housekeeper to support the family and keep them together.
“To be honest with you, I don’t know how she made ends meet,” Deane said. “We never did without. We were pretty close-knit.”
The boys defied expectations. All four graduated from South Hagerstown High School and went on to college.
“Their mom was so proud all four got four-year degrees, that three were teachers and Richard had a doctorate,” Chad said. “Dad was proud of that.”
Rich served as a youth pastor and Christian education director. He works in continuing education at the Medical College of Georgia.
“She had a strong, silent partner — her Lord,” Richard said. “Her faith in the Lord was very strong. We played and prayed together and stayed together.”
Frank and Suanne, who lived in Funkstown, met in the youth group at Grace Brethren Church in Hagerstown. Suanne’s parents, Fred and Bonnie Kuhn, were youth leaders.
“We laugh about being the best chaperoned couple around,” Suanne said.