Lockport woman lived to help others
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News October 7, 2012 9:06PM
Updated: November 9, 2012 6:06AM
In November, when Cynde Carpenter, 58, of Lockport learned she had advanced lung cancer, her devoted friend, Bruce Davis of Lockport, said, “Well, now you’ll want to help everyone with cancer.”
That’s because Cynde, a former volunteer for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate Association for abused and neglected children) and director of children’s ministries for the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Lockport, lived to bless the lives of others, especially children and those in need.
“She was very nice and had very strong religious beliefs, but she also liked to go dancing. She was a well-rounded person,” Bruce said. “She had a beautiful smile. I never thought she would die.”
Cynde died April 22.
Bruce was working as a custodian at the First Congregational Church when he met Cynde. He immediately liked her (“I felt like a 16-year-old falling in love for the first time.”) and they quickly began collaborating on projects.
He helped her coordinate a teen night; she began volunteering at the Lockport/Homer FISH Food Pantry where Bruce is president. Cynde even brought a dollhouse on food distribution days to occupy the children while their mothers went “shopping.”
Even Cynde’s cleaning business became an avenue for ministry, especially for lonely or sheltered senior citizens.
“She spent time sharing with them and helping them find purpose in their lives,” Bruce said. “She took care of one guy’s house in Crest Hill and she’d meet with him and his friends for breakfast before she did her job.”
Dana Markiewicz of Lockport, Cynde’s daughter, said her mother was a special “Mimi” to her children, Griffin Markiewicz, 12, and Addison Markiewicz, 7.
Cynde, a voracious reader (especially Nora Roberts novels), took her grandchildren to church with her, bought them books and taught Addison how to crochet.
“She crocheted all the time; she always had something in her hand,” Dana said. “She made baby blankets for everyone in the family. She was horrible at making hats, but she still kept trying.”
Both grandchildren looked forward to sleepovers. Cynde lived in a carriage house above a garage in a wooded area of Lockport. She called her home “The Enchanted Forest” and always had a ready stock of game ideas when Griffin and Addison spent the night.
True, Cynde had her share of struggles. She worked hard for a living and had no health insurance during her cancer battles. But she lived a life that was true to her beliefs, which paved a way for others to follow.
“She had strength; she had faith, and I am very proud of her in so many ways,” Dana said. “My kids are very lucky they had this wonderful woman as long as they did.”
Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at 815-467-5249 or