It sounds trite to say that I’m sorry she’s gone, but I am.
Cynthia is one of those people that everyone, and I do mean everyone, liked. She lit up the room everyplace she went, improved everything she touched and encouraged everyone, always.
And now, she has passed from this earth.
Cynthia was a long time dedicated genetic genealogist, and an even longer time genealogist. She joined the genetic genealogy community in the olden days, more than a dozen years ago and managed the Wells and Lay projects at Family Tree DNA.
She attended the conference for project administrators sponsored by Family Tree DNA every fall in Houston, and I was looking forward to seeing her next week.
Sadly, that’s not to be.
In short, those of us in the trenches together over the years have formed a family, of sorts.
I first met Cynthia perhaps a dozen years ago when we sat by each other at lunch at one of the early conferences and began discussing Indian traders in the south. She sent me an unpublished resource, along with a book, and refused any reimbursement at all. That’s the kind of person she was.
Cynthia worked as a volunteer for the LDS Church and spoke at several genealogy conferences and meetings, often attending at her own expense, bringing the message and joy of genetic genealogy to many.
A day or so before her passing, Cynthia returned from a trip to the Middle East, in particular, the Holy Land, to celebrate her husband’s retirement and the beginning of the next chapter of their life together. She was anxiously planning a two-year mission trip with her husband when she passed away.
What a heartbreaking situation her husband faces. My heart aches for him, her children and grandchildren.
Fortunately, Cynthia’s legacy is not lost.
You can read more about her passion in her speaker profile for Genetic Genealogy Ireland here.
You can listen to her lovely southern drawl as she gives her presentation about Reconstructing Irish-Caribbean Ancestry here.
You can read Cynthia’s obituary here.
If you are a member of the ISOGG Facebook group, you can read the remembrances of her friends along with photos of the places she traveled on behalf of genetic genealogy, truly a lovely tribute, here.
Cynthia’s unexpected and untimely passing reminds us all about how tenuous and fragile life is – and why we should say and do what needs to be said and done while we can. Cherish those we love and value every minute. We really don’t know when it might be our last.
Rest in Peace Cynthia – you truly have made the world a better place and improved the lives of those who were graced enough to walk a few steps with you along the way.