GREENVILLE — For many, the special memories of the holiday season are found in the holiday traditions we cherish. Exchanging gifts, baking holiday sweets, decorating gingerbread houses, or looking at holiday light displays around the neighborhood, offers a bridge to the past with memories which have left an indelible imprint upon our hearts over the passage of time. Sometimes, when unexpected events turn our lives upside-down, our minds linger over lovely, happier moments captured through a story, photo, or memento. We remember how important life and family are in a restless, all-too-busy world. Each year, the holiday season allows us a fresh opportunity to bear witness to those remarkable souls who have taught us to live, laugh and love along life’s journey. One such person was Corynna Strawser, the Greenville teen who succumbed to mitochondrial disease (MD) on December 11, 2013.
Corynna’s deep faith in God, desire to help others and “pay it forward” continues to inspire her parents, Sean and Kristi Strawser, owners of Beanz Buttercream Bakery in Greenville, to honor her memory each December on her “Angel”-versary. In 2020, Sean and Kristi are hosting a seasonal “Scavenger Hunt,” in downtown Greenville, which began December 1 and runs every day (Monday through Saturday) through Christmas Eve. A gift card, ranging from $10 to $100, is hidden somewhere in downtown Greenville, with clues posted each day on the Beanz Buttercream Bakery Facebook page.The first person to find the prize is the winner, who is asked to post a “selfie” photo at the location.
“Every year we do something special to honor Corynna’s angelversary, “ said Sean. “We decided when she passed away that we would not focus the day on sadness but focus it on kindness and positivity. These were important to Corynna. Corynna’s grandparents held a scavenger hunt for her every Christmas morning for her to locate her Christmas gifts.”
Kristi added, “ Sean seems to receive inspiration from Corynna every year on how to celebrate her life. This year it was the idea of a scavenger hunt.” Last December (2019), local artist Jennifer Oberholser painted a scene imagining Corynna seated in front of Beanz Buttercream Bakery, which now hangs in the shop.
As Greenville natives, Sean and Kristi Strawser opened Beanz Buttercream Bakery, located at 316 S. Broadway Street, in July, 2019, and named the business after Corynna, whose nickname was “Bean.” Sean’s interest in the bakery is directly tied the many memories he shared with Corynna before and during the many months she battled with MD.
“Sean has always loved cooking and baking, “ Kristi explained. “Sean and Corynna began baking cupcakes out of our home when she was sick. It was a distraction for her when she was in pain. They began a home-business called ‘Beanz Buttercream Bakery.’ When Sean opened the bakery (in 2019), it was a dream of his.”
“Corynna taught us that life is too short to not do what you love,” added Sean.
In addition to owning Beanz Buttercream Bakery, Kristi is a registered nurse and the Executive Director of State of the Heart Care hospice, and with Sean, established a non-profit foundation in Corynna’s memory, which supports the Greenville community and beyond, called “Shine On Corynna.”
“We created the ‘Shine On Corynna’ non-profit to honor Corynna’s legacy,” said Sean. “Every September we give 10% of our sales to the non-profit. We use the funds to give a scholarship to a senior at Greenville High School every year, and also give to ‘Corynna’s Wish’ at State of The Heart Care, along with other things to give back to the community she loved.”
In addition to the Scavenger Hunt, Beanz Buttercream Bakery will be offering a wonderful variety of holiday baked items, including their famous cheesecakes, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls. “We plan to be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, for our customers who pre-order and wish to have fresh baked goods for the holiday,” said Sean, adding, “Make sure you get your order in soon!”
For more information about Beanz Buttercream Bakery, or the Scavenger Hunt, visit them at www.beanzbuttercreambakery.com, or on Facebook, or call 937-459-5008. To inquire about the Shine On Corynna foundation or Corynna’s Wish at State of the Heart Care, please contact Sean or Kristi, or visit stateoftheheartcare.org/donate/corynnas-wish for more details.
Carol Marsh covers community interest stories and handles obituaries for Darke County Media. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 937-569-4314.