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Hampshire Life ID: Cynthia Stahler

  • Cindy Stahler.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Cindy Stahler.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING
  • Cindy Stahler.<br/>KEVIN GUTTING

Cynthia Stahler moved to the Pioneer Valley in 1980, and now considers it home. She has worked for several nonprofit organizations, including the soup kitchen “Not Bread Alone” in Amherst, the Northampton Survival Center, and Grove Street Inn, a year-round shelter in Northampton. She was ordained as a United Church of Christ minister in 2000, and has served in the Amherst, South Hadley, North Hadley and Huntington Congregational churches. At 66, she says her life has never been better. She loves her work, her friends and family, and enjoys having fun, too.

Full name: Cynthia Stahler

People know you as: Cindy

Date and place of birth: Sept. 27, 1946, Dayton, Ohio

Address: Florence

Job: Pastor of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in Huntington

Who lives under the same roof as you? Just my little dog, Pancho, a 12-year-old Chihuahua mix, but I live in Pathways Co-Housing, so I have close neighbors

Children: Twin daughters, Beth Adel and Sara Wohlleb. I also have six grandchildren — lucky me

Education: Bachelor’s degree in philosophy from DePauw University in Indiana; master’s degree in education from Tufts, and a master’s degree in divinity from Union Seminary in New York City

Hobbies: Playing tennis, bridge, knitting, reading, watching movies, and singing with the Raging

Books you’d recommend to a friend: “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh and “The Heart of Christianity” by Marcus Borg

Favorite movie and TV show: I loved the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson, and I also like “Call the Midwife” on PBS

Five items you can’t live without: Telephone and computer to stay in touch with people, toys and games for grandchildren’s visits, a good book, my Prius C car, and old trees — they give me peace

Last thing you purchased just for fun: Popcorn at my granddaughter’s JFK Middle School band concert

What’s at the top of your bucket list? Work on developing more affordable housing here in the Pioneer Valley

Life-changing experience: Working with poor people — at soup kitchens and the Survival Center. I learned to be grateful

Strangest job you ever held: I was a janitor in a shelter for homeless people with AIDS in New York City

A little-known fact about you: I can spell words backwards really well

Dumbest thing you ever did: Lost the registration sticker for my license plate, got a replacement sticker, and then stuck it on someone else’s car

One trend you’d like to see return: Writing letters — taking time to think about what you want to say

What really sets you off ? Loud talking on cellphones in public places

If you could spend the day with a celebrity from any time in history, who would it be? I would love to have lunch with Jesus and ask questions about whether the Bible stories got it right

Best advice you ever got: Buy local food — the strawberries and asparagus in the Valley are the very best

Favorite place to get a bite: I like Haymarket Cafe for its vegetarian food, its hospitality to street people, and its chai lattes

Favorite athlete: I like the tennis player, Kim Clijsters — she’s friendly, is a good sport, came back to win tournaments after having a child, and doesn’t take herself too seriously

What does your ideal weekend look like? Play tennis, see the free movie at the Media Education Foundation on Friday night, play bridge, eat out with friends, go to church on Sunday morning and take a good nap in the afternoon

One thing you would change about yourself: I could be more patient

What gives you the creeps? I don’t like finding ticks on my dog or on myself. Ick

People who knew you in high school thought you were: Generous

Whom do you most admire? Nelson Mandela. He was able to love his enemies and work with them to create a new South Africa. He even made friends with his prison guard

Parting shot: Life is short, so don’t dwell on past hurts and grievances. There is so much to enjoy and so little time

— Compiled by Brenda Nelson

To suggest someone for ID, send an email to bnelson@gazettenet.com.

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