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Bill Trusty: 98 Years Old And Still Optimistic

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone.  Hope you’re having a good week. Two telephone conversations made my day and made doing this column seem so worthwhile. First, I called Bill Trusty to wish him a happy birthday and he started telling me how much he appreciated what I had written about him. I told him that I wished that I had more information about him and he told me I did great with what information I had.

Talking to him made it hard to believe he is ninety-eight years old and still had an optimistic outlook on life. He said as far as he knew he was still in pretty good physical shape. He remembered the number of a Farmall tractor that was one of his best sellers and was suited to the type of farms in the Yalobusha county area. On that subject his memory is better than mine since I didn’t write it down and I don’t remember it. I told him that my first memory of him was when we were both in the Mississippi State Guard just after the end of WWII. His brother-in-law, Lewis Gafford was the Commanding Officer  of the unit with the rank of Captain. Most of the businessmen in town and many teenagers like myself comprised that unit.

He mentioned going to summer camp at Camp Shelby and for some reason I missed going that summer. Then he talked about how he and good friend, Joel Edgar went to Memphis to enlist in the Navy at the beginning of WWII and how they took Joel and turned him down because of asthma. He said that was the first time he knew he had asthma and it had never bothered him. I think he was really sorry he couldn’t go with Joel. I know the feeling because they split up Jim Peacock, Kenny Burk and I when we had planned to go together in the Air Force during the Korean War. I promised Mr. Bill that I would visit him in person the next time I come to the Valley and I only wish I could have done it before writing the column.  

My next call was to Beverly Davis, Chester Joyner’s daughter. She told me how much Mr. Joyner appreciated the column and looked forward to reading it each week. I told here how I would have liked to have known him longer but she said that in the short period of time I became very special to him. She talked about how he enjoyed relating his experiences to me and how he never seemed to be bothered by his ten months in the front lines of five major battles. I think Mr. Joyner said it best when he said, “they gave me a job to do and I did the best I could.” I think his medals and citations show that he did a pretty good job.  

I must admit we both got a little emotional when she said that I didn’t know how many lives this column has touched over the years. I hope that is has and as I told her I feel as if I get as much out of writing it as all of you do in reading it. It’s been my belief that “Reflections” has always been a reader participating effort and as long as I write it, lets keep it that way.  My email address is or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, Tn 38101 and have a great week.

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