Saturday, March 25, 2017

Steve Holland to Retire. . .What Memories

One of Plantersville's own most valued 'connections,' Steve Holland had announced last year his plan to retire from his illustrious career in the Mississippi House of Representatives.  My thought was 'I'm not accepting or believing this yet. . .  Just wait.'  He is much too cherished, funny, honest, a good man serving many years in the House--he's much 'too everything' to leave his post at his young age.  I knew he had faced health problems, spending long recovery days at UMMC, but that was over.  He was back taking care of his business and doing his best with the state's (wacky) business.

But the 'just wait' thought disappeared when our nephew called yesterday after hearing this March 2017 announcement: Steve had announced his plan to retire at the close of the current term because of a diagnosis of dementia.   I have to believe it this time. Steve sounds fine, mentioning short-term memory problems but with the expectation of further development in the dementia diagnosis.

I 'tuned in' to several of Steve's presentations available on computer.  There was an impromptu talk to a group of people meeting on health care; he was adamant on the need for health care coverage for everyone.  Another talk had him close to, if not actually, pounding the podium for public education.         

His address to a session of Boys' State, a program he had participated in as a high school junior, was the most dynamic review of his life, career, and political and religious philosophy that I have heard.  He shared wonderful directions to the group about love for fellow man, participation in the community, and contributions to government, whether seeking election or as an 'at-home' citizen.  Don't position yourself too far to the left or too far to the right, he admonished. Look beyond the front of your face in making decisions, he said, summing up with the thought: "Think above and beyond today."  

Steve has always been special to George and me, and do I ever miss George being here at this time.  That July day in 2011 at the hospital when George departed this world, before I could look up his telephone number, Steve was calling me, saying, "Don't do anything.  I can take care of George.  I'm on my way."  

So many memories. . .  Any wonder I am teary just writing this Connection piece. . .

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Recognizing Jack Wuichet

The Plantersville Connection has been inactive too long, and I hope that I can post an important thought, recognizing the death last year of Jack Wuichet.  George and I were very much impressed with his life and commitment.  He and Frances were always kind of us and to our family.  I am sorry I am late with this recognition, but I know George would want these words placed on the 'Connection.'

Jacques Earnest “Jack” Wuichet died peacefully last Oct. 24, 2016, at his home after an extended illness. He was 83. A native of Monroe, LA, Jack was born on Dec. 21, l932, to Willie Walker Wuichet and Frances McCormick Wuichet. He married Frances Issac Wuichet on July 2, l954, in Dunn, LA.  He began his working career in a furniture factory and served as a union organizer, working with labor union movements all his life. He was a 20-year member of the United Steel Workers. He and his family moved to Plantersville from Swartz, LA, in l973 and immediately became contributing, involved citizens. A staunch Democrat, Jack loved political campaigns and upheld the labor movement positions with passion and intelligence. He was elected to the Plantersville Board of Aldermen in l997 and served until retiring in 2013. He devoted many hours to the Town Park. The Town eventually named the Park the Grant-Wuichet Park to honor his contributions. Known far and wide as the “Can Man,” Jack for over 20 years collected and sold tin cans to benefit the causes of the Town of Plantersville. Over the years, he received numerous awards for his volunteer work and in 2007, the Mississippi Municipal Association granted Jack and the Town of Plantersville its “Excellence Award for Community Spirit” for his contributions to the good of all mankind. He also won the President’s Volunteer Service Award. A member of the First Baptist Church of Plantersville, Jack enjoyed people, public service, his family and all causes related to the “working man.”  A celebration of his life was held Oct. 27 at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors. The Rev. Danny Balint officiated, with the eulogy delivered by Rep. Steve Holland.  Burial was at Plantersville Cemetery.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sharon and Jimmy Jeffreys' 50th Anniversary Celebration

    The 50th anniversary celebration for Jimmy and Sharon Jeffreys took place last Saturday, June 27, at  St. Stephen United Methodist Church in Columbus.  The 'Plantersville Connections' in attendance were wonderful.  Top two photos show, left to right, having fun at the party, Tommy Monts Sr., Sandra Temple Monts, the Rev. Kenneth and Glenda Corley, and Sandra and Tommy's daughter, Melisa (Lisa) Monts Wadley.  Managing to gather a number of friends and relatives around the special couple was likened to 'trying to herd cats,' but here are, from the left, Joan Jeffreys Parmer, Winford Parmer, the Rev. Paul (Tip) Sims and Laney Lemons Sims, who are remembered for their service at Plantersville Baptist Church several years ago, Linda Jeffreys, Heather Bostick, the honored couple's granddaughter, Sharon and Jimmy, who certainly have Plantersville connections, and the Berrymans, Guilene Kelly Berryman, and J. B. Berryman.  Angie Jeffreys, Amy and Heath Bostick, and their daughters Rachel and Heather honored their parents and grandparents with the special afternoon.

Friday, June 12, 2015

George's "Collection"--his short stories . . .

George's sister-in-law Margaret Pickard, right, is shown with De Lewis and Missy of Service Printers in Flowood, as we claimed copies of George's book of short stories.  He and I had discussed printing the stories for family and friends some time before he died.  I didn't rest very well until this effort was completed earlier this year.  I edited the stories, trying my best to 'edit' or change only things I felt needed to be changed.  As I worked and read them, I was once again impressed with the pictures he painted with his words.  I found myself chuckling over some passages and descriptions and pondering over some of the more poignant scenes.  Barbara Osier of Senatobia drew the front cover feather for the book.  De was very patient and helpful as I took months and months making decisions about printing the book.  Then came the typesetting and formatting, which Service's Sheila did. . .and then displayed plenty of patience with my editing and changing. . . Margaret, George's sister-in-law and my sister.  She was still in high school in Tupelo when George and I married.  The baby sister. . .

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering . . .

Many times George Morris spoke of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Gooch, his early-years principal and teacher.  Mrs. Elva Gooch's obituary was in the Sunday, May 18, "Clarion-Ledger," in which the announcement was made of her death May 13 at the Orchard-Arbor Center in Ridgeland.  She had moved to Jackson in 2005 to be near her daughter Bobbie.  "Teaching was not only her career but her love," the write-up stated.   "She wanted each child she taught to excel and to reach his/her potential.  For 42 years, she taught school. . ."  The write-up said that on Mother's Day weekend, she had her daughters, Bobbie and Linda, with her.  Special thoughts are sent to them.
I treasure the memory several years ago when class members gathered around Christmas at Estes Restaurant, with Mrs. Gooch as the special guest, accompanied by Bobbie and Frazier Ward.  Memorable time for me to be able to witness the occasion.  I know it meant a lot to George (Morris). . .

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Honoring and Remembering Leigh Anne Ward

   A moving ceremony on Sunday, May 12, marked the very special occasion announcing the Leigh Anne Ward Teachers Memorial at Madison-Ridgeland Academy.  The ceremony included the installation of the Inaugural Class of the Hall of Fame Inductees, with the tribute to Leigh Anne especially meaningful for so many, particularly anyone with a Plantersville Connection. Leigh Anne’s parents are Bobbie and Dr. Frazier Ward of Jackson.  Bobbie is remembered as Bobbie Gooch, daughter of Mrs. Wallace Gooch and the late Mr. Gooch, both of whom are remembered as the best of educators in Plantersville. A musical tribute was made by the MRA elementary and middle school singers, and a fourth grader, Carly Chennault, who may be described as a ‘granddaughter of Plantersville,’ participated in the musical tribute.  I know her grandfather George Morris Kelly was pleased to hear her singing for Leigh Anne.  Caroline Strawbridge, MRA first grade teacher, presented “A Remembrance of a Friend,” with poignant memories about Leigh Anne's personality and contributions to family, friends, students, the school, her church. . . 
    Bobbie was presented a white rose by Connie Vance, Elementary School principal, who inducted Leigh Anne into the memorial Hall of Fame named for her.  Teachers Frances Braswell, Minnie Lou Holland and Myra Smith were present for their installation into the Hall of Fame. 
The tribute included the welcome by Roxanne Case, MRA board president, and the invocation by Dr. Jim Futral, executive director-treasurer of the MS Baptist Convention Board.  Tommy Thompson, headmaster, performed the ribbon cutting, dedication and unveiling of the impressive statue crafted by Carrie Reeves, assistance professor in the Mississippi College Art Department.
            Our Kelly-Chennault families were touched to be present for the special time, remembering the love George always had for the Gooch family and also having the memory of Leigh Anne’s marvelous contributions as a teacher and a very outstanding young woman.  She will always be remembered and missed in this world.
            The Hall of Fame Memorial will serve to keep her memory alive.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Special Recital in Clinton: Plantersville Connections

  An afternoon of superb music by Vicki Helms Carter, pianist supreme, captivated an audience at First Baptist Church in Clinton April 18. The Plantersville connections, enhanced with Tupelo connections for good measure, included:  seated from left, Frances Helms, Vicki Carter, Ida Lambert; standing, Sherrilyn Helms Brown, Bunny (Bo, Earnest) Bowen, Vicki Lambert Mixon, Ron Carter, and Rosemary Aultman, back row.  Rosemary, Clinton's mayor, formerly of Tupelo, organized the special event for Clinton, as Vicki and Ron, now residents of East Orange, NJ, tour the state with other stops including Tupelo, Brookhaven, and Rosedale.  Sherrilyn Brown, now of Ridgeland, and Vicki Carter are first cousins.  Vicki's program included works of Johannes Brahms, Frederic Chopin, Franz Liszt, Scott Joplin, William Balcom, and Eubie Black, closing with a sacred music threesome.  After the program, a reception allowed time for visiting and talking with Vicki about her musical career.  This was also the fun time of renewing the Plantersville-Tupelo-Clinton-Ridgeland, etc., connections.  A memorable afternoon for sure. . .