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Friends recall N. Hopewell shooting victim's joyful life

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser

Friends recalled Nancy Folcomer saying that when she died, she didn't want a funeral.

Members of the Girls Night Out club, from left, Donna Broadt, of West York Borough, Natalie Thompson, of Red Lion and Donna Maclin, of Airville, laugh at a photo while gathering as a group to remember their friend Nancy Folcomer while assembling photos on a poster board at the home of Nancy's sister-in-law, Kelly Folcomer, in Red Lion, Friday, June 30, 2017. Nancy Folcomer, 55, of North Hopewell Township, died after being struck by a stray bullet while riding in a car in Hopewell Township the previous Saturday. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"She said, 'I want you all to have a big party and laugh,'" recalled Jodi Miller of Red Lion

Folcomer, 55, of North Hopewell Township, died June 24 after she was struck by a bullet while sitting in the passenger seat of the car her husband was driving.

Less than a week later, about 10 of Folcomer's close friends gathered at her sister-in-law's Red Lion home, and just as Folcomer wished — there was plenty of laughing.

"We have to keep the laughter going," Miller said.

Folcomer was one of about 20 women between the ages of 40 and 80 in the Red Lion area who were part of a group called "Girls Night Out." The group meets once every other month for various fun events, and they also contribute to charities and help raise funds for important causes.

The women have been getting together since 2005.

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Life-affirming joy:  On Friday, some of the group got together to create a photo collage of Folcomer. During the process, the women shared their memories of her, who they called quite the "life of the party."

"She was just awesome," Shirley Eckenrode, of Dallastown said.

Her friends all recalled her sense of humor, and how she was always joking around.

"She would just like to get us going," Marsha Gladfelter, of Red Lion, said.

"Her sense of humor was unstoppable," Miller said.

Nancy Folcomer

In addition to telling jokes, the women remember Folcomer as quite the prankster.

About 10 years ago, she placed Easter eggs on Eckenrode's lawn while she was away.

"It had to be hundreds," Eckenrode said.

Folcomer's role in the prank had been kept a secret for the past decade, and on Friday, her friends finally let Eckenrode know.

"I'm just finding out the truth," she said.

Kelly Folcomer, Nancy Folcomer's sister-in-law, said she was "sworn to secrecy," about it.

Some years later, Nancy Folcomer would do something similar to her cousin, Natalie Thompson, of Dallastown. Nancy Folcomer placed many little American flags all over Thompson's lawn overnight just before July 4.

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Remembering Folcomer: Her friends said that Folcomer never liked having her picture taken, and that she didn't like to be the center of attention. Despite that, the women had about 50 photos to place on the photo collage, all of her during the various Girls Night Out events.

"We have a lot for someone who didn't want to be in pictures," Miller said.

Kelly Folcomer said her sister-in-law was kind.

"She would do anything for anybody," she said.

Nancy Folcomer's Obituary on York Daily Record & York Dispatch

Thompson said Nancy Folcomer was very close with her nephew, Chris Wrinkle, a U.S. Marine Sergeant who died while serving in Afghanistan on July 31, 2011.

"(She) sort of helped to raise him a little bit," Thompson said.

Because of that, Nancy Folcomer was involved with the Wounded Warrior Foundation, as well as the Dallastown American Legion Auxiliary.

Nancy Folcomer also liked to travel, her friends said. She went on a trip to Mexico with her husband every year.

Most of the women had just seen Folcomer at the end of May for a get-together. Miller, however, recalled seeing Folcomer a few weeks before her death. The two had talked for 2½ hours, she said.

"That was like my goodbye to her," she said, adding that she would never forget it.

The photo collage the women were putting together Friday night will be featured during Nancy Folcomer's celebration of life service.

"Girls Night Out just wanted to do something because she was such a special part of the group," Kelly Folcomer said.

The service will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Monday at the North Hopewell-Winterstown Fire Hall, 12246 Winterstown Road, Felton.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.