Letter: God must have needed some new colors in heaven

To the Editor:

God must have needed some new colors in heaven when He called up Kristen this week. Travelers Rest has lost a shining star and a fine lady. Kristen Schroeder loved everything Travelers Rest. She was a savvy business woman, a wonderful cheerleader, and a friend to all. 

(Related: Julie Kristen Schroeder, 42 - Travelers Rest)

Kristen was our resident fact checker and the "get it straightened out, go-to" person. She straightened out several boards, but she always made you accountable with the biggest smile and wide open laugh. I can hear her laughing now.

She really knew her trade and truly had a gift of design and color. All my memories of saving that house and creating an inn are tied up with my visits to see Kristen which were almost daily. (I know some in town who would stockpile paint just to go into Sherwin Williams to catch up with Kristen.)

In addition to getting paint I also got the town news from whoever would be there. We had a joke that there was no need for phones or internet we had the paint store.  She was a world of encouragement when some were telling me I was crazy. Back in the days when she was the only one running the show, she even closed up for a little while to drive my daughter, Holly, to pick out colors on site at her first real estate venture, a condo close by. They really hit it out of the park because I get so many compliments from vacationers about that condo. 

Not only did Kristen know her job, she knew things about goings on that I never heard of before. She was so well educated and up to date on the latest trends and happening. One time at the Cafe at Williams Hardware, she invited me to sit down and I became the most well informed person on Main Street about geocaching. When she first started talking about geocache that day, I told her that I was thrilled that she was teaching me something I had never ever heard of before. All the while encouraging me to dig up my yard and put one there. I can hear her laughing right now with me at my complete absence of knowledge. 

For a while now, we have all missed the different colors she would paint the mailbox at the store. Purple for relay of life, red for valentines, yellow in summer, every color under the rainbow. She definitely made her mark at a business where it could have been easy just to punch a clock. I have even heard others say they were going to Kristen's to pick out paint and sit a while. She made it easy to forget the store actually had another name.  She not only was interested in the project you were on, she was, also, interested in what your kids were doing and when would she see them next.  

Kristen was the ultimate example of being proud of her job, giving it her own signature, and enjoying every minute and enjoying every person who walked in the door. She was truly one of those rare individuals who painted our town one person at a time. 

MaryEllen Wilkinson, Travelers Rest