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Funeral Trip Ends With Story-Telling At Turnage

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  Last Tuesday I attended the funeral of my good friend, Chester Joyner.  My prayers are still with Mrs. Joyner and the rest of the family.  They are a close knit family and I am grateful for the time I’ve known them and will always have a special feeling for them.  

Edward and Virginia, Sandra and I rode together and had lunch at their house afterward.  Beverly worked at  the day care for a long time and they are still very close.

 Later I visited Jim and Jo Peacock–  Jim reminded that I had failed to mention  some other World War II veterans and I stand corrected, although I don’t know anything about the service of the others.  When I stopped at Turnage, I met three of them at the coffee time.  

They were Navy veterans Richard Baird and Taylor Williamson, and Eddie Nelson – I didn’t get to ask him which branch he served.  Also Rayford Edgar, who wasn’t there, but I was told that he served in the Navy.  My apologies to your guys and if I have failed to mention anyone else, let me know.

At Turnage, while sitting with Ralph Norwood, Jim Allen and Mayor Bill Norris,  Binnie Turnage walked up. I told him what a pleasant surprise it was to see him –  I thought he had retired.  He said he still comes in about five times a week and, I guess like me, he finds it hard to not come to work.  

I was sorry to hear that Wade Doolin’s wife was in the hospital, I hope she’ll be better soon.  Wade is another one like us who finds it hard not to go to work every day.  Binnie has a wealth of information about his family business and I’m looking forward to him sharing some of it with me.  

We laughed about how his grandfather would come up Main Street, make an illegal u-turn in front of the Bank of Water Valley, and park in front of his store. I said how I thought each time he would get broadsided, but it never happened.  

However, Turnages’ store was hit by at least two cars that got loose and came through the front window.  We also talked about how, in his grandfather’s day, they thought it was imperative that they stayed open until nine each night and open every Sunday. I described to Binnie how when I worked at Newman-Gardner, if someone asked for a particular time for a funeral, they would agree even if we had another service at the same time.  

This meant that we had to call the Batesville office for help, instead of simply telling the families that they would have to choose another time.  Another custom was not having formal visitation hours, but we would  let people “sit up” all night  at the funeral home.  

When I worked at National in Memphis, after I got out of the Air Force, they still kept the doors open all night. An attendant slept on a cot in the office in case he was needed.

Another funeral custom back then was to take the deceased person to their homes for a wake.  I would guess that over 60 percent  of families did this – and at least that number had funerals in their churches instead of in the funeral home.

 I don’t get to spend as much time visiting in the Valley as I would like,  but maybe in the future I can correct that.  

I still welcome your input as we start our ninth year so let me hear from you.  by email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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