by Charles Cooper
Hello everyone, hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I was saddened to learn of the death of Rodney Childress last week. I had known he and Dale since they came to the First Methodist Church right after World War II. I never had the privilege of taking Vo-Ag from him as he came to Water Valley after I had graduated, but over the years we would see each other and he was always his quiet unassuming self.
The last time I saw him was last Memorial Day when we met and talked for a few minutes. Rodney epitomized what we call a southern gentleman and I am proud to have known him over the years. My condolences to Dale in her loss.
Last week I said that I had met this gracious lady at the Yalobusha County Historical Society who introduced herself as Frances Stewart. She told me how she and mother were such good friends when they shared a car pool to the Grenada shell plant. She gave me some material to use in a column about her late husband L.C. Stewart. Several years ago I was at a service station in Memphis and I saw a car with Yalobusha plates and I asked the man if he was from Water Valley and he said “I’m L.C. Stewart” While I knew in a general sense who he was I had never met him personally and we had a long talk. So here is their bio as I received it.
L.C. was born in 1922 and Frances in 1923. She was Class President fro two years at Jeff Davis and salutatorian of her senior class. They were married November 1941 and World War II started a month later. L. C. went into the Army in 1942 and was a sergeant in the 245th Combat Engineer Battalion in the European Theatre of Operations. L. C. was with the Lamar Life Insurance company for over twenty-five years winning together National Quality Award and graduating LUTC and being a member of the National Life Underwriters Association. He was active in Civic affairs, was President of the PTA and was the organizer of the Chamber of Commerce and a charter member.
He was chairman of the county Red Cross and the county Mental Health Association. He served as Sunday School teacher and Choir Director for many in the Church of Christ. He and Frances had one son, Jimmy Dale born in 1947.
He served two terms as Mayor from 1965-1973 and was named in Outstanding Personalities of the South for his outstanding leadership qualities. It would take several columns to list all the achievements he made during his lifetime. Again, Frances, I want to thank you for sharing this with me and for the kind remarks about your friendship with Mother.
Again this is an example of how asking for input from my readers has served this column so well over the last seven years.
Chester Joyner called to tell me that he had completed a tape for me about his experiences in World War II. That was one of the high points of my life to be in the presence of this soft-spoken gentleman who in my opinion is an unsung hero of the War. He doesn’t claim that, as he says “It was something that had to be done and I did the best I could.” You’ll see when I put all this together in future columns just what he did.
Our Thanksgiving was quiet˜just the family and we were glad to get a phone call from Jamie in England. They were having a good time but didn’t get to Fenton where the Badley’s originated. He said, “Maybe next trip.” I’m so thankful for all the friends I’ve made over the last seven years -some I’ve never met personally, but are still friends. Keep sending me your memories and we’ll share them with the rest of my readers. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or write me at P,O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN, 38101 and have a great week.