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Hugh Klein (HK) Staiger of Palmyra, VA departed this life peacefully on June 9, 2022. He was born October 8, 1922 in Crafton, PA, the first son of Daniel Staiger and Juliana Flora Klein. Hugh frequently commented that in his younger life, during the Great Depression, he didn’t know that the family was poor since everybody was poor. He attended the proverbial one room school, where he ate a lunch made by “Mother”. Surely he must have played marbles and such on the playground. There were no buses then and he walked through the woods along the one-mile long trail no matter the weather. Home life was simple, with a bed to share, crows to shoot, a cow to milk, water to haul, and chickens to pluck. There was the weekly Grit newspaper for news since they had no radio. Electricity and running water came just before he left home, while indoor plumbing and freedom from the outhouse became realities after he left home. His chores served him well, teaching him independence and thankfulness for the “good” life.
Hugh was a superior student and in 1940 he graduated from Slippery Rock High School in Slippery Rock, PA. He attended Keystone School in Pittsburgh, PA and worked as a draftsman for Duquesne Light Co. In December 1942, he joined the US Navy as an Aviation Cadet and was commissioned as an Ensign in April 1944. While attached to ZP-15 in Brunswick, GA, he met Addie Lucille Haygood and they were married on March 25, 1945. After the war he remained on active duty with the Navy, where he worked at various duty stations on the east coast, and in Panama and Iceland. Hugh and Lucille bought his current home and farm in Palmyra, VA in late 1963. He retired from the Navy as a Lt. Commander in 1964.
Hugh enjoyed his life and counted many friends. He was a good father and did his best to instill in his children a confidence for their potential. His constant example of thrift, honesty and diligence had a lasting positive influence on each of them. He was an excellent cook and will be remembered for his good bread. While in high school, he received a blue ribbon for his homemade cake entry at the county fair. He enjoyed entertaining friends, sharing his home-cooked meals of “Chicken and Almonds” and “Spare Ribs and Sauerkraut”—to name a few. One of his greatest enjoyments in his younger years was fly- fishing. Later, he and Lucille enjoyed many years of square dancing and its close circle of friends.
Hugh was noted for his charity to friends and neighbors. One of his most memorable services was the sponsoring of a family of Vietnamese refugees. The success and contributions of this family were, and continue to be, a source of great satisfaction to him.
Hugh was an avid woodworker. He built two fine fishing boats, his lovely home, and was noted for his skill in building small boxes. He enjoyed his farming years and took pleasure in seeing that he actually made a mark on the land. He and Lucille put their farm in a conservation easement which will assure that the woods they loved will remain for generations to come.
Hugh met his declining years with courage. His poor vision didn’t stop his woodworking. His puppies brought him joy and appreciation for the gift of life. His work ethic is left to emulate. He will be missed.
Hugh and his wife, Addie Lucille Haygood Staiger, raised five children: Merle Daniel Staiger and wife, Rosa Lee, of Idaho Falls, ID; Linda Faye Staiger, M.D., of Palmyra, VA; William Andrew Staiger and wife, Karen, of Lehi, UT; Paul Jackson Staiger and wife, Tammy, of Buzzards Bay, MA; and Juliana Lucille Harris and husband, Johnny, of Palmyra, VA. Hugh was the patron to an extended posterity comprising 15 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, and two great-great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Lucille Staiger, in 2014; his parents, Daniel and Juliana Flora Klein Staiger, formerly of Slippery Rock, PA; his siblings, Virginia Jewel Staiger McClelland formerly of Butler, PA, Merle Dale Staiger formerly of Slippery Rock, PA and John Daniel Staiger formerly of Butler, PA; his granddaughter, Kira Yvonne Staiger, formerly of Springville, UT; and his daughter-in-law, Susan Ross Staiger (wife of son, Paul), of Fork Union, VA.
The family wishes to thank Hospice of the Piedmont staff, Rose Scott, Pearl Washington, Valerie Kidd and Janet Carr, and the Sheridan Funeral Home of Kents Store, VA, for their service.
Hugh was a member of the Rivanna Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There will be a family visitation and memorial gathering at the Beaver Dam Baptist Church on Saturday, July 30, 2022 from 2-4 p.m. (1794 Richmond Road, Troy, VA).
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Tadpole Land & Trail Conservancy (to which Hugh contributed during his lifetime) at 630 Courthouse Road, Palmyra, VA 22963.