Residents look back on 2013, ahead to 2014

It didn’t take Reno resident Barbara Leimkuehler long to come up with her highlight of 2013.

A little more than 13 months ago, her husband, Henry, 43, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells found in bone marrow.

“He had a stem cell transplant in May of this year,” said Barbara, 42. “About July, we found out he was in remission.”

That good news transformed the couple’s year and has them looking forward to 2014, when they plan to re-enter the world of competitive barbecuing, something they were unable to join in during the year just completed.

“Makes you ready for the next year, to keep fighting the fight and keep being positive,” Barbara Leimkuehler said.

As 2013 prepared to give way to 2014 Tuesday, area residents looked back on the high points of the year that was and considered what they’d like to see happen in the new one.

2013 was the year Caldwell resident Katie McClarin, 36, married her husband Chuck.

“We actually eloped to Pigeon Forge,” Tenn., she said.

“I guess basically the logistics of trying to get everybody together” and the cost influenced their decision, McClarin said. “We decided we’d rather spend the money on a honeymoon trip than actually having a wedding.”

In the last couple of days, McClarin decided to make a New Year’s resolution, something she normally doesn’t do. It came to her as “kind of an epiphany” as she was looking over seed catalogues and thinking about her annual garden. It’s something she enjoys but also an activity that has become increasingly difficult thanks to her rheumatoid arthritis.

“I gave myself permission not to have a garden this year,” McClarin said. “It was (a) very liberating feeling to not have that pressure on myself.”

2013 was also the year Marietta resident Chelsea Ferguson, 23, became a mom, with the birth of daughter Lexi Coleman on Nov. 26.

“I like it,” Ferguson said of motherhood. “It’s different, but it’s the best thing you’d possibly imagine.”

Ferguson said she doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions – “I don’t stick to them anyway” – but she is looking forward to 2014, as she’ll be marrying fiance Levi Coleman and watching their daughter grow.

“She’ll take her first steps and all of that,” she said.

For Marietta resident Gene Sayre Sr., the year was a good one because of health and fellowship.

“I’ll tell you the truth, I can’t complain about 2013,” he said. “I’m 85 years old and still a-kickin’ pretty good. I’ve had some ups and downs, but nothing life-threatening, thank the Lord.”

Sayre laughed that one of his 2013 highlights was coming in second at a pool tournament at the O’Neill Center in Marietta. As he and fellow billiard enthusiasts Larry Durgon, 75, of Williamstown, and Carl Nau, 70, of Oak Grove, enjoyed a friendly game Tuesday in the O’Neill basement, they expressed their appreciation for having the place to gather and spend time with friends.

Nau said he’d like to have a healthier 2014 and get his diabetes under control.

“If I could get that whipped … that’s what I’d like to get accomplished,” he said.

Health is also on the mind of Marietta resident Carolyn Hoffert, 59. Although she listed spending Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family as highlights of 2013, those pleasant memories came around a health scare when she had a heart attack less than a month ago.

“I’m (up and) moving,” she said Tuesday. “I’m trying to eat better now and just trying to improve my health.”

Coal Run resident Stephanie Brown, 56, had an important milestone early in the year, becoming a full-time employee with Thermo Fisher Scientific, three years after joining the company as a temporary worker. She had worked at the MAHLE plant in Caldwell prior to its closure in 2008.

“It’s just wonderful to know that you’ve got a full-time job with benefits,” she said.

2013 was the year Marietta native Anna Ginsky, 30, felt like she really began the transition into adulthood.

Visiting family in Marietta for the holidays, Ginsky said she moved back to Ohio from San Diego in 2013 to enroll in graduate school at Miami University in Oxford, studying environmental science and “got my first real, amazing, adult car this year.”

On Tuesday, she was looking forward to the birth of her third nephew in the new year. Resolution-wise, she’s hoping to manage time more efficiently.

“If I could master that, then next year would be even more amazing,” she said.