By DAVE McMILLION
3:46 PM EDT, July 23, 2011
Holly (Sue) Henry Healy decorated Christmas trees at Ringgold Church of Christ, and her husband remembers one in particular.
She came up with the idea of having people place balls on the tree in memory of a loved one stricken with cancer, Jay Healy said.
The money raised from the effort was to donated to Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley.
That story is just one of many recalled about Holly, who was known for her "energetic life" in the church, her wide network of friends and her popularity with children.
Holly died July 17 at the age of 46. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which metastasized to her liver, her husband said.
Holly's popularity was illustrated Thursday night, when her family received friends at Ringgold Church of Christ. A line of acquaintances of the Hagerstown native extended out of the church's sanctuary and down a long hallway during a ceremony that was scheduled to last three hours.
Friends passed by dozens of photographs of Holly and saw images of her displayed in a slide show.
"It will be packed in here tonight because everybody loved her," Revonda Montoya said Thursday.
"She was a very energetic life in the church," said Revonda, who taught Sunday school at the church while Holly was leading a choir group.
Holly was remembered for her enthusiastic approach to life and her wide-ranging interests.
She had a way with children, and once led the children's choir at her church.
Holly is survived by two children, son Zachary and daughter Holly, and she and her husband had a foster child to whom Holly had become very attached, Jay said. The couple recently gave up the foster child because of Holly's illness, Jay said.
Holly spent years as a cheerleading coach at Smithsburg High School, and was involved in the Miss Western Maryland and Miss Washington County pageants in the early to mid-1990s, said Barbara Carson, president of the board of directors for the Miss Washington County pageant.
Holly went on to form her own pageant — Miss Antietam — which she oversaw for several years, Barbara said. Holly also was a judge in the Miss Frederick pageant.
Holly enjoyed cooking, and her favorite chef was Paula Deen. She made several trips to Savannah, Ga., to catch a glimpse of Deen, and Jay said there are a "gazillion recipes" around their house.
Earleen Smith of Smithsburg remembered Thursday how Holly had a way with children and how youngsters referred to her as "Miss Holly."
"Holly was just a great person who gave you all her heart," Earleen said as she paused at a collection of photos of Holly.
Holly's friend Jennifer Martirano of Smithsburg said she met Holly and became friends with her after their daughters met and became friends.
"I guess I'm in shock," Jennifer said. "It's unbelievable."
Jay said he and Holly met at senior beach week in Ocean City, Md., after they graduated from high school. Jay, who was from Northern Virginia, said he and Holly stayed in touch during college before getting married.
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