Popular county worker, Cindy Beall dies at 46


Few people are so popular that they are known solely by their first name. But that's how it was with Cindy.

Walk into the county office building and ask for Cindy, and people would know you were talking about the woman who worked in the County Council office.

Courteous, kind, prompt and efficient, Cindy had a perpetual hint of a smile that sometimes grew into an outright grin. A sign of welcome, it sometimes signaled amusement about something she had just heard or read. Cindy was a voracious reader.

Years ago, she married her high school sweetheart -- a man friends say never stopped being her sweetheart. Whatever he did, Cindy did: camping, backpacking, hiking, trips out west to see the family. About the only time Cindy demurred was the white-water rafting trip. One of those was enough for a lifetime, she said.

Despite her quiet, gentle nature, Cindy played bridge like it was a contact sport, says longtime friend and neighbor Gail Bates.

Cindy loved to laugh. But she knew also knew more physical pain than most people.

There was the morning 16 years when she awoke with a severe headache. A CAT scan revealed a blood clot on the brain. She was in surgery all night long. The next morning she was safe, but with some loss of memory and peripheral vision. She would take medication the rest of her life.

Five years ago, she developed breast cancer. She had surgery, and for three years was cancer-free. When it returned, she underwent chemical and radiation therapy. She continued to work in the council office.

There were periods that she was so sick she couldn't come in, but the council never thought of replacing her.

"She was our teacher," says Hugh Forton, council executive secretary. "She taught us strength and courage in the face of some of the most terrifying adversity."

"I complained more about headaches than she did about life-threatening issues," says legislative assistant Barbara Russell. "She had every reason to be bitter, discouraged, angry. But she was ever hopeful, never burdening anyone else."

"When I saw her Tuesday, she had a smile, just like the old Cindy," says co-worker Beverly R. Ambush. "I think she got everything done. She's a really great lady. I'm really going to miss her. She always had good things to say about everybody."

Cynthia R. Beall, 46, died at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. She is survived by her husband, Ralph; her son, Stephen; her daughter, Laura; her brother, John; her sisters, Kim and Peggy; her mother, Florence; and her many friends in the county office building.

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