by Judy Williams
If it’s winter, she is shoveling the snow-covered sidewalks. If it’s summer, she’s zipping around the Stockbridge Township square on a lawnmower. She’s Stockbridge’s own Energizer Bunny, Jean Bliss.
Bliss, born in Stockbridge Rowe Memorial Hospital, has spent her entire life living in the Stockbridge area. Her parents, George (Charlie) Hardt and Marian (Goodknecht) Buckley, also were longtime Stockbridge-area residents. Bliss attended Reeves Country School and is a 1964 graduate of Stockbridge High School.
In 1968, she met her soulmate, Marty Bliss, while working as a waitress at the Bob Blazes Inn. Marty was the bartender and it was love at first sight. On Nov. 2, 1968, just eight months after that first meeting, the couple were married in the Stockbridge Presbyterian Church.
Marty and Jean have three children, Marty, Jennifer and Brian. They are blessed with four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. The petite Bliss smiles and describes her life’s highlight as “my wonderful husband and family, they mean the world to me.”
Bliss doesn’t hesitate to say cancer had a great influence in her life. In 2006, she received her first diagnosis of lung and liver cancer and has been battling the disease since.
Bliss said the most difficult times in her life came in 2007.
“That year I received my second diagnosis of lung cancer and my husband, Marty, lost his job of 46 years,” she said. “The plant closed its doors and moved to Canada and Mexico. This was the start of our financial hardship.”
“I was forced to retire from being a school bus driver, a job I loved, to be eligible for health insurance,” she said. “We suffered a drastic reduction income.”
From 2006-2018, Bliss had eight primary lung cancers, which resulted in radiation, chemotherapy, surgeries, and unpaid medical bills. The worst blow came in 2010 when she was diagnosed with liver and bile duct cancer with a life expectancy of two to five years.
Bliss proudly stated, “By the grace of God, I have beat the odds by nine years.”
“I’m still fighting. There isn’t any surgery left for me,” she said. “Currently, I’m in a new treatment for one year. I am putting all of my faith in my doctors and God.”
Bliss considers the ability to continue doing the things she loves while fighting cancer to be one of her greatest accomplishments.
She was honored by being selected to light the community Christmas tree on the Stockbridge Township square last November. The 2018 tree was in honor of those fighting and suffering from lung cancer.
“I love to work,” she said. “I get satisfaction of a job well done. God doesn’t give us a lot of time on this earth, and I’m not going to waste it.
“It is a miracle that I’m still here. I am very blessed,” Bliss said.
Besides work, Bliss enjoys baking, cooking, ceramics, painting, and gardening. She also is a member of the Stockbridge Area Garden Club and the Stockbridge Legion Auxiliary.
Bliss’ advice to others is, “Always stay positive. Never give up even when facing adversity. Put your faith in God. When you have been given a bushel of lemons, I choose to make lemonade.”
“I am blessed to have the best family, friends, and co-workers,” she said. “They all say I’m the Energizer Bunny.”
But she has a warning for all, “Don’t even think about removing my batteries, or I will run away.”