Speaking of People: Too many funerals, as community suffers losses
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

     I spent the last two Wednesday afternoons attending funerals, one at Sanders Funeral Home and the other at Crittendent Drive Church of Christ. The week before I had been at Young Funeral Home on consecutive nights, one of them to pay respects to two women at the same time. A week earlier I attended one visitation at Sanders and a memorial service at a home service in the same afternoon.
     We've lost a lot of good people in the last few weeks. It's been a long time since we've seen the lives of so many people who made life-long contributions to this community end in such a short time span. Many of them have been women.
     An exception to the norm for me was last Wednesday's funeral. Willie Townsend was neither female nor a public figure. He was a good man who worked hard all his life as a mechanic and made anyone with whom he came into contact feel better about themselves. Jimmy Lee Hampton, a young man for whom I have the utmost respect, is a college graduate and a businessman in Nashville. He noted in his remarks at the service that although Willie never had much formal education, he didn't let that get in the way of being a wonderful husband and father. "I want to become the kind of man he was," Jimmy Lee said. What a compliment!
     Exactly a week earlier services were held for Landonia 'Donie" Fuqua of Schochoh. She lived 96 years as a caring, loving woman who also made people feel better about themselves. She was a widow much of her life, but made the Dawson-Dockins family her own. She helped raise Davy Lee Dawson Dockins and her brother, Henry Mann Dawson. Unfortunately, Davy Lee has been very ill and confined to Skyline Hospital in Nashville recently. She and her husband Frank weren't able to be there for the final services for Donie, who was so important to their lives.
     Paige Dockins tells me that Donie kept a newspaper clipping in her Bible. It was a feature that I wrote about her about 20 years ago. I'm honored that my words meant so much to this special woman. She meant a lot to our family.
     There have been deaths of young people lately. The only one of the group I knew was Lee Neal, who died in a motorcycle accident while still in his mid-twenties. From what people are saying about him on Facebook, it's easy to see that Lee was a devoted husband and a loving father of his infant child. His church friends were especially distressed.
     In the last few days, we've lost Marie Reeves, who improved many people's lives as a key figure in adult education, and Charles 'Junior' Head, who was one of the most entertaining magistrates I ever covered at Logan Fiscal Court. His Charlie's Restaurant in the Market Square shopping center was a favorite gathering place of the 1970s and 80s. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce held its monthly breakfast meetings there for a few years.
     I didn't make it to the funeral home for some well-known ladies. Among them were Jean Dykus, who became well-known to WRUS listeners while she and her late husband Dick were calling 'Feedback' almost daily; Velma Hall, who assisted countless farmers with her work at what was then known as the ASCS office; Mary Craig Miller, a member of the Auburn aristocracy who checked out countless shoppers for years at Houchens at a time most of us depended on Houchens Markets for our daily bread; and Evelyn Chandler, who had retired from owning Mary-Lynn Children's Shop and spent her final years ministering unto others.
     Visitation for a mother-daughter duo was unique. Liz Scott Clark and her daughter Joanie Morgan died on successive days. Liz was part of the family which operated Scott's Auburn Mills for generations. Her husband John and son Ray were among the managers. John was administrator of Logan County Hospital when I was born. He always called me 'Butch,' saying he named me that the day I was born. Anyone who knows me can attest that I'm not a Butch of the 40s and 50s. I never wore a tee shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled into the sleeve, nor was I ever mistaken for a cool greaser. But to John, who loved being good-naturedly obstinate, I was always Butch.
     Liz was always a lady; when adversity came her way, she deflected it with grace and charm. She spent much of her latter years caring for John and for their grandson, Eddie Morgan, since Eddie's mom Joanie was sick most of his life. All their friends are hoping for the best for Eddie as he adjusts to life without these women, who were so important to him.
     In addition to the Clark ladies' visitation, I stopped by the funeral home to express my regrets to Mark Hughes, who lost his mom, Helen Hughes, during the time so many women were dying. Helen was a great public servant, leading the Red Cross, working for and volunteering at the Chamber of Commerce, and logging many hours of volunteerism in the Hospital Auxiliary. She loved acting in Community Theatre, and she was involved in several mission efforts. She was always proud of her sons; we grieved with her when John Paul died much too young. Now we grieve with Mark.
     And then there were the deaths of two well-known women, attorney Elizabeth Wilson and music educator Hazel Carver. We've already run extesnive features on them in The Logan Journal. If you missed them, the story on Elizabeth can be found on the Articles page under May while the one on Hazel is among the June News stories.
    Many more people were inclined to express thoughts about these two ladies after our stories had run.  Their comments follow:

Comments on Elizabeth Wilson: 
Pat Pepper Boleware:  "I read your tribute to Elizabeth and it was wonderful. I know Carolyn will cherish it. I didn't see Elizabeth too much as an adult but you really captured her life beautifully. I laughed and cried-- what a tragedy that she had to die so young."
Al Smith:  "She inspired our daughter Catherine to enlist in Turner's speech brigades, perhaps tempted her into a few naughty habits along the way, long since abandoned, and earned my enduring gratitude for becoming a 'big sister' to the oldest daughter in my family who is now herself the mother of an emerging champion in high schol debate."
James Henry Duncan:  "Your article about Elizabeth Wilson is precious. Our family, also, trusted the settlement of our mother, Fanny's Duncan's, estate to Elizabeth Wilson. She was a corker to work with. She seemed to make serious issues fade away and didn't get excited about the small stuff. Her big dog was always around the office. Her assistants seemed to take on Elizabeth's personality and the entire office was positive and upbeat. 
"I remarked to Elizabeth that she was a 'chip off of her Grandfather Alvis Oakley's block.' I had worked three years during high school in the late 1950s as a sack boy at Krogers with Big Al as the manager. He also kept things moving at a fast pace. 'How about going out and sweep up the driveway while you are resting?' was a predictable quote of his. Martha, Elizabeth's mom, was a frequent visitor to the store. She was also a beautiful young lady at that time. I believe she and Robert Wilson, Elizabeth's father, were married about that time.
"Elizabeth was a self made lady. She will go down as one of the memorable personalities in the land of Logan."
Dave Dockins:  "I'll miss Elizabeth. When Liz won the state, she looked at me and as she left she said, "Turner ought to throw me off the team. I royally *&*ed it!" She's the only person who ever called me 'David Dockins.' Russellville has lost one of its best."
Comments on Hazel Carver:
Belinda Humphrey: "
So sad to hear about Hazel Carver. She was my neighbor and after my first day at school I told her I didn't like school cause my teacher was dumb. My mother had to write everything and what the teacher did write my mother had to tell her what to put down on the papers. Hazel laughed until she cried!!"
Jim Humphrey:  "I lived across the street from Ms. Carver and played in the RHS band. She was a national treasure and her impact on the lives of countless students and others will probably never be fully measured. I have many fond memories of those days."
Sandy Brown Peveler:  "Tommy and I spent many years at the famous 7 a.m. band practices, Friday night football games, and various parades all over Kentucky. I even came home from college to lead the band in the Tobacco Festival Parade and had to march with my college band that afternoon, because you couldn't tell Mrs. Carver NO! As you know, my mother was the band director at Lewisburg High School for many years and there was always that band director closeness and rivalry between the two. There is a special bond among band directors, always the rivalry but always cheering for each other to be the best. 
"The citizens of Russellville young and old have been honored to have Mrs. Carver in their lives. Her shoes are too big to fill by only one person, so I hope that several will take on the challenge and pick up where Mrs. Carver left off."
Mary Ewing Hart: " During my high school years, Hazel knew I knew nothing about music! She was correct! Then when I became secretary to RHS, she became my 'pal.'  I admired her through the years and it was a privilege to work with her. In her production of 'L'il Abner' I can remember a small English teacher (Randy Jedele) was 'drinking' a tonic of some kind to make him taller, and Jim Riley appeared from under the table! Another community well-known person.
"When Hazel arrived at the BHI, she may not had been very happy but she was such a big help to me. I will miss her very much. Her sense of humor was the greatest and to see and hear her play the piano at her age was amaging. She cheered so many of the residents here and will be missed by all who knew her. Of course, I called her Mrs. Carver for many years and have no idea when her name became 'Hazel.' This might give you an idea how I well I thought about her. Of course, now she is at peace with the Lord and we look forward to the day we will join her."
Teresa Cramer: " I was one of the few Presbyterian youth growing up in the '80s in Russellville, so I would occasionally go to the Wednesday activites at First Baptist Church with my friends. I will never forget Mrs. Carver making us warm up before singing. She made us sing, 'One black bug bled blue-black blood while the other black bug bled blue' to the tune of, 'Do Lord, Oh do Lord, Oh Do You Remember Me?' She definitely had a sense of humor!"
John (Deedie) Martin:  "A lot of good things said about Hazel and rightfully so. I know Mother (Bess Martin) really loved her and they were best of friends."

Copyright © The Logan Journal 2009 - 2022