Richard E. Fouke Sr.
Richard and Shirley Fouke pose for this picture taken on their wedding day in June 1951. (Submitted photo / July 21, 2012)
Now, they have one more chapter.
“It’s hard to lose a parent, but when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much he loved her, it’s easier to let him go back to her to live out the next chapter,” said son Rich, who lives in Brunswick, Md. “When she died, it was sheer desperation. To know they’re back together — grief is nothing compared to that.”
Richard Sr. was born and raised in Hagerstown, with the family living on Liberty Street, Jefferson Boulevard and Cannon Avenue, said brother John Fouke of Hagerstown.
He was the fourth of five children. He attended Hagerstown High School, but did not graduate, Rich said.
John was three years older than his brother Richard. He remembers building a lean-to with Richard along Antietam Creek one summer where they would hang out during the week, then help their father work in the garden on the weekend. They fished, hunted and roller skated at Starland Roller Rink together, and once they had their own homes, helped each other with projects.
John recalled a haircut Richard got when he was about 10 or 11, parted in the middle and standing up in the back, which with his freckles earned him the nickname “Alfalfa,” a character in “The Little Rascals.”
Having grown up in a railroading family, Richard chose that same path and worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad, which became PennCentral, then Consolidated Rail Corp. (CONRAIL) from 1949 until his retirement in 1995. His only break in employment was when he was served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War, working as a baker, but never deployed.
Brother Nevin Fouke of Hagerstown, 11 years younger than Richard, remembers how much Richard liked to fish and that like their parents, enjoyed going to the Charles Town race track.
“He was a winner most of the time,” son Rich said. “If he didn’t win at the ponies, he won at the slots.”
Nevin also remembers Richard delivering pies from his bakery all over town.
“He mostly worked all the time,” Nevin said in a telephone interview.
After his railroad shift was over, Richard would head to work at The Tasty Bake Shoppe, which he co-owned with Jack Kusinski.
Jack was dating Mildred Lefevre, who worked with Shirley Herbaugh at Potomac Edison Co. Mildred set up a double date with Richard and Shirley in January 1950 for dinner at the Palomino Room in the Hotel McGlaughlin in Greencastle, Pa., according to a letter Rich found in Shirley’s bridal book.
The Foukes married in June 1951 and since both shared a love for the beach, had planned to honeymoon in Ocean City, Md. They took the wrong ferry across the bay and ended up closer to Wildwood, N.J., so decided to go there instead, Rich wrote in an email.
Shirley was from Moorefield, W.Va., and like Richard, grew up in a family without a lot of money. She was a college graduate and became the personal secretary to Potomac Edison’s president.
Having two incomes was unusual for the time, with many women working only until they started their families.
After almost two decades, Richard and Shirley celebrated her pregnancy, at the age of 40 or 41, with a dinner at a New Jersey lobster house, Rich said.
With a life filled with blessings, Richard and Shirley sought ways to give back, both volunteering until Shirley’s death in 2004. They were active in their church, The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown.