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Services Set for “First Lady of Downtown”

December 22nd, 2019 by WCBC Radio

Betty Hughes, 95, passed away on Friday, November 8, 2019, at the Allegany County Health, Nursing and Rehab Center in Cumberland. Born on October 10, 1924, in Salisbury, Pennsylvania, she was the daughter of the late Sprigg and Alverta Swartzwelder Swarner Tower. Betty recently celebrated her 95th birthday at City Lights surrounded by many Downtown Cumberland friends.

Betty was preceded in death by her husband, William Francis Hughes and her loving companion of 47 years, William “Butch” LaNeve. She is survived by her son, Jay Bradley Hughes and his wife, Linda, grandson, Jay Bradley Hughes, Jr., other family members and many dear friends.

Betty was often was referred to as “The first lady of Downtown”, having started working on Baltimore Street in the 1950s. She worked at Martha Washington’s Candies, and was the face of Perkins for over 40 years, greeting customers at the front desk. After retiring, she volunteered at Barbara Fridinger’s Wildflower Boutique, Fort Cumberland Emporium, Baltimore St. Collectibles and managed the Light the Steeples Souvenir Store, which provided funds for lighting the steeples of Cumberland. Betty was passionate about Downtown, was part of the community for 65 years, was the first Mrs. Santa Claus, and had fond memories of the early “glory” days of Baltimore Street while always staying positive about the future of Downtown Cumberland.

She was a member of The Eagles Auxiliary, Ladies of the Moose, Good Fellowship Club,

Fraternal Shuffleboard League, bowled and loved trivia. Summers were spent at her cottage at Smouse’s Camp on Evitts Creek.

A long-time resident of Downtown, Betty lived her later years at the Cumberland Arms and the Kensington-Algonquin where she had many friends.

Visitation will be held at Scarpelli Funeral Home, P.A., 108 Virginia Avenue, Cumberland, at 2:00 pm on Saturday, December 28, 2019, with a memorial service following at 3:00 pm with Rev. Harold McClay officiating.

Friends and family have a strong appreciation of the care afforded Betty at both The Kensington and Allegany County Nursing and Rehab Center and would like to thank the entire staff of both facilities for the quality of life they provided for this wonderful lady.

Condolences may be left at

3 Responses to “Services Set for “First Lady of Downtown””

  1. December 22, 2019 at 5:23 pm, Kevin said:

    She worked for PESKINS, not PERKINS. Amazing.


    • December 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm, Joe Wellberg said:

      > Blame the newspaper obituary people.


      • December 22, 2019 at 10:58 pm, Kevin said:

        > Should not the radio station check their borrowed stories for accuracy too?


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