A LONG-serving shopkeeper who clocked up almost five decades behind the counter has died aged 80.
Maureen Stroughair (pictured), the owner and founder of All Types Electric in Eastwood, was still working at the electrical supplies shop on Fitzwilliam Road until just a few years before her death from Alzheimer’s Disease and dropped by until her final few weeks.
Her son Jeremy said she had opened the shop in 1970 in a former stable block, complete with the original stable door which “would just be left open”.
He added: “At first she sold spares, for all sorts of things which could be picked out from large wooden tea chests on the floor.
“As the business began to grow a counter was added, a new shop front built and then selling more varied stock.
“In the mid 1970s’ the old Coal Merchants next door was bought and converted into the shop you see today.
“Maureen ran the business all on her own at the beginning — an unusual thing for a woman to do at that time.
“She eventually employed her sister in law, Lesley along with several staff over the years and slowly her four children joined the business, too.
“From day one she had a sweet jar on the counter filled with sweets of all descriptions — the aniseed rock was a favourite with the tradesmen — and it is still used today.
“She would even answer the door on Christmas Day for people wanting oven elements or batteries and eventually she began to open the shop at Christmas until just before the family sat down for lunch.
“She had customers all over the country and abroad who would send letters and a cheque in order that items could be sent to them.”
Mr Stroughair said his mum was not a trained electrician but built her knowledge over the years and would hand out advice.
“She would refuse to sell if she felt the person buying didn’t know what they were doing, often asking them to hire a qualified person to do the job,” he said.
“She often worked until ten o'clock in the evening as all the paperwork had to be hand-written or typed.
“She was very proud that she went to college in Rotherham to learn how to type and passed with flying colours.
“Mum loved her customers — it was as important to chat and spend time with them as it was getting a sale — and many generations of customers have passed through the doors.
“Even today, greatgrandchildren visit the shop, wanting to see Aladdin’s Cave.”
Born in 1939 in the town centre, Maureen suffered a heart condition as a child and in the mid-1960s had one of the first ever open heart surgery operations on the country.
She went to The Girls High School on Clifton Lane and attended Stafford Teacher Training College to study domestic science, continuing to attend reunions with a training college friends until recent years.
After her marriage, Mrs Stroughair lived in Nottingham Street before moving to Fitzwilliam Road.
She soon became part the community, helping to start the local playgroup, in the church hall next to St Stephen’s Church and was the playgroup’s secretary, becoming known for her “legendary” mushy peas at the annual Bonfire Night.
Mrs Stroughair supported many charities, even sponsoring a local football team and, during the Miners’ Strike, she would refuse payments from miners who were on strike, said Mr Stroughair.
He added: “We would like to express our thanks to all customers for their support with Maureen over the last few years.
“As her condition progressed she was often seen opening the door to customers collecting hugs and kisses as she let them in or out.
“Thanks also to Sharon, who has worked at the shop for the past 20 years.
"A special thank you goes to all the staff on ward A2, who cared for Maureen in her final week at Rotherham Hospital.
“The family was able to stay in The Purple Butterfly Room on A2, a fantastic facility, which enabled all of the family to stay together in comfort and privacy, in peaceful surroundings until the end.”
Her funeral will be held at St Mary's Church. High street Rawmarsh at 1pm on Tuesday, February 20.
All are welcome and a gathering will be held afterwards at Roundwood Pavilion.