TAKING MISS BETTY HOME – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN
My sister, Betty and her husband Kenneth, along with their three year old son, Timothy, left Cincinnati in 1957 for a new start in Mobile, Alabama. Why Alabama? They had become good friends with the minister of our church, Glenn Martin, and his wife, Dee. When Glenn took a church in Mobile, they decided that would be a place to relocate where they already knew someone.
They bought a little house on Ralston Rd, a street where it seemed each house outdid the others with beautiful crape myrtles in their yards.
In the early seventies they moved across the Mobile Bay to Fairhope, a beautiful little town on the bay, which over the years had served as a summer respite for those from Mobile and the surrounding area.
My parents moved to Mobile in 1965, and when we visited them after Betty moved to Fairhope, the Fairhope Pier became a favorite place to fish. Betty’s cottage was about three blocks from the bay park and pier. It was also an easy drive to Gulf Shores.
They became active with the Fairhope Church of Christ until discord took them to Spanish Fort, about 17 miles away. Betty would work at several jobs, among the as a LPN, though she had to stop when they found she was a carrier of TB, even though she had never had it. She and Tim went to work at Engels Shipyards in Pascagoula, Mississippi, a 75 mile one way trip each day. She was trained and worked as a pipe fitter. Her husband took several jobs, among them an insurance salesman.
After the shipyard became too difficult, and nearing retirement, she and Kenneth went to Newton, NC and worked in the textile industry as well as security guards. Upon reaching retirement age they returned to Fairhope. Kenneth would die a few years later from a heart attack.
In the mid eighties she took our mother to live with her after our father died. My parents had moved to where our brother lived in Greenville, SC. The storms and hurricanes began to bother them. Afer our mother died, Betty busied herself caring for an aged neighbor, as well as picking up older women who needed a ride to church. Her years with the Spanish Fort church were among her happiest.
As she aged and her health began to fail, she ended up in a nursing home a block or so from her house where our mother had died. It was not a good place for her, and at Christmas 2014 she came to live with us in Roanoke.
It was a hard adjustment, but she soon fit in and sent everyone a colored picture on their birthday, as well as any other special day she saw in the church directory. She colored to improve the shaking of her hands.
In late July, at 90, she started to fail and lingered until September 8.
As our daughter, Hope (who did the driving) and I arrived in Fairhope I was reminded again why she loved it so much. If you ever get a chance, visit it. The live oaks reach across the streets as if to be touching hands, with Spanish moss as the gift to be received. Crape myrtles, azaleas and other flowers compete for your attention. Quaint shops line the streets and the lights of Mobile can be seen at night from the pier.
As we left the cemetery, both Hope and I commented that we felt good that we could bring Miss Betty home. Keith
The Sunday morning after I had arrived home from Alabama on Saturday, the call came that Bill(y) Branch had died. Bill had entered the hospital only a few weeks before to be treated for a mass in his shoulder. At 90, like Betty, he was getting tired. Soon it became evident that he was slipping away and after a few days in Friendship Manor South, he went home and passed away, surrounded by his family, on September 16th.
The name Bill Branch and the Roanoke Church of Christ are bound together like the strands of a rope. Bill was a foundational part of this congregation before this building was built. It was his place, his spiritual home, even though his spirituality was far and beyond the walls of this building. There is hardly a benevolent work in Roanoke that does not have something of him in it, as his obituary stated.
As far as his personality, I never saw him as anything but enjoyable to be with and his wonderful chuckle. No Super Sunday will be the same without seeing him leave as soon as possible and return with almost enough chicken to feed all of us.
He loved being with people, and the celebration of his life held at the annex was exactly what he planned. Food, music, good friends and good memories shared by the people Billy touched.
(It is with great sadness that the following developed this past weekend)
While Judy and TJ were visiting with their son Perry and family in NC, Judy choked on some food and went into cardiac arrest. She was revived and taken to a hospital, but was not able to recover. With her family with her, as TJ said, “She is at Home with her Father.”
She was cremated and will be placed beside their stillborn child in Louisville, KY at Christmas, which was her favorite holiday.
A celebration of Judy’s life was held in the church annex on September 6.
On Sunday, Sept. 29, Judy was remembered by the congregation during the worship period as we shared memories of her.
All of this has hit us hard. Three deaths in about three weeks. However, as we have done in the past, we will lean on our faith in God, the resurrection and each other as those who have passed would want us to do. As Paul wrote, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
CONCERNS: Jo Wagner’s sister, Judy Powell is very seriously ill after surgery. Martha Flora, Wayne’s mother is having health issues. Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (cancer issues) Former members, Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in-law, David, is being treated for brain cancer. Deanna McRoy, Debbie McRoy’s cousin, Linda Alsup, is having health issues, and her husband, Prentice is recovering from cancer surgery. Keep both Joni and Alan Beach’s parents in prayer, as well as Del Bolin’s mother, Carrie. Also a friend of Leena’s who is having stress related issues. Remember Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver, Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry and family, Ray and Darnell Barnes, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Til Elder.
OCTOBER BIRTHDAYS OCTOBER ANNIVERSARIES
1-Mary Smith 4-Laura Schreiner 3-James and Megan Downing
4-Garrett Williams 14-Connie Crites 8-Mike and Karen Branch
15-Mary Willa Foy 20-Lyn Jordan 9-Scott and Bonnie Blessing
24-Teryn Gaynor 24-Susan Phlegar 19-Jeff and Sherry Bland
For those of you receiving hard copies of the bulletin, you will notice a little “crowding” in this issue.
There was no “mid-month” issue printed due to the death of my sister, and my travels to Alabama to bury her, which took place during that week.
As you will read inside, as a congregation we have had recent moments of sorrow, from Betty’s death and then the following week, the death of Bill Branch, and then the sudden death of Judy Hall the week following.
It was good to see Ben Robertson with us last Sunday. He is still in Manassas, but would like to be back in this area. Say a prayer about that.
The annex lighting and air circulation is coming along well. The fans will be installed later, due to a size issue with the originals.
Several weeks before Betty Billings became ill, she asked if there was something she could do for the church. The new chandeliers in the annex was her gift.
Jonathan Edward Elder and Cara Lee Hoopes were married on October 4, in a ceremony at Fincastle. We wish them many years of happiness.
We will resume our Wednesday evening service on October 10. WE will continue with the study of John’s Gospel.
AROUND THE YARD
The tree that fell during Florence has been cut up and the wood given away. However, there are some limbs etc. which need to be cleaned up.