A profound loss

Many subscribers knew my wife Amy as the voice on the phone who made annual reminders that their subscriptions were up for renewal. Those simple reminders sometimes became lengthy conversations about any kind of topic – the weather, the economy or a problem that impacted their business – which Amy would promptly pass along to me for editorial follow-up.

That’s what Amy did. Amy befriended everybody.

Early in September, just days after returning from a family vacation, Amy had a heart attack while fighting what was almost certainly covid. Within 12 hours before her passing, she tested both positive and negative for the disease, illustrating the dubious accuracy of the diagnostic testing that is driving global health policy.

Since our small family business – McEntee Media Corp. – was established in 1990, Amy worked mainly behind the scenes, managing circulation, invoicing and overseeing production and mailing while I focused on writing our periodicals and articles for our outside clients.

But Amy’s life encompassed much more than working as “office manager” of our home-based business – the title by which she is identified on the Composting News masthead. Along with caring relentlessly for her polio stricken mother, Amy was deeply embedded in our community – a suburb of 40,000 people south of Cleveland. When our two sons were young Amy practically lived at the schools, coordinating class projects and fundraisers. Amy and I served together for more than a decade as trustees of Arts in Strongsville, our local arts board. She had been vice president of the non-profit for the past several years. While she was not a member of the local Rotary, I rarely volunteered at a club event without Amy at my side, and she has been recognized for her outstanding service to the club and the community.

In our home office, Amy’s desk and now-empty chair are just a few steps from mine.

It’s hard to imagine a time when we were not together. We were born six months apart, in the same hospital, delivered by the same doctor. We met 43 years ago in high school marching band when she was yet to turn 16 years old. We were married 35 years ago. In 1995, Amy left her career in social work to become a full-time Mom, giving us the opportunity to literally spend most of our time together.

When she wasn’t working behind the scenes for Composting News and our other media products, or organizing an annual free kids arts festival or a fundraiser, Amy was most often seen in the kitchen, preparing fresh, home-cooked meals for family inside and outside our home. Amy made a place at the table for anybody who happened to be in – or around – the house during dinnertime. Our dinner always concluded with Amy packaging to-go portions for her mother, my mother and maybe another friend or family member. She kept alive the traditional sauces and recipes of her Italian grandmother and enjoyed experimenting with new cuisine, primarily Indian and Thai. Outside, Amy spent countless hours manicuring the yard, growing flowers and tending to a plot at our local community garden.

Above all, family was Amy’s greatest joy. Through the years, our family has included cherished dogs including two recently adopted rescues.

Thank you in advance for bearing with me as I get Composting News back on schedule over the next month or two.

– Ken

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