This past weekend our family attended funeral services of two very special women in our lives. My sister Charlene Tacket Mason attended services Friday evening and Saturday for Preacher Bill Craft’s wife, Opal June Webb Craft.
Sister June was an exemplary preacher’s wife. She married Bill at the age of 14 and they were married for 68 years. She passed away on Dec. 31 at Letcher Manor Nursing Home. One of her great-granddaughters, Cassie McCool-Solis, whom I have written about many times before, posted a wonderful tribute to Sister June through the Bible that she had used for many years. She has given me permission to repost it here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
“Her Bible has been sitting in the pews since the 90s, faithfully attending each service. Even when Billo was too sick to be there in person, even through lockdowns, even when she was hospitalized. So of course Billo’s Bible would have attended her celebration of life.
“For those services, it sat close to family. Held tenderly, like a new baby, despite it being older than me. Passed around between all of us, we flipped through the chapters, rubbed the pages, and analyzed what she had written in the margins. Her Bible is covered in her words. Notations she’s made during her prayer time, during services and sermons, and during her daily life. She jotted things like wedding dates, the name of the person preaching, and names of people she was praying for. But she also wrote things like ‘God is good’, ‘Jesus is coming soon’, ‘Help is here’, ‘Victory is coming!’, and ‘I C U’ when she saw the Lord’s work in her life. This Bible is the living word of God, no doubt. But also a living history of our Billos and the church they loved to serve.
“We used Billo’s Bible to follow along with the sermons during her services. Just like she had demonstrated to us in every service that we sat next to her. The very first scripture of the service was Matthew 8:5, and Billo had left a note there, likely years ago, that said ‘U R OK.’
“Our hearts soared. She had unknowingly left us a message. A reminder that we are OK. And more importantly, that she is OK.
“Her Bible has been a gift over the past few days. We are enjoying seeing her life through the lens of her Bible. We also have so many questions for her, maybe more questions than we’ve ever had before. But we are smiling and hopeful at the message of ‘U R OK.’ and the promise of Heaven.”
The other special woman that passed away, also on Dec. 31, came into our lives when we moved to Cane Hollow in January of 1962. I have also mentioned this family many times in my column. She was Alpha Conner Profitt Moore. She and her first husband, Dennis Profitt, lived above us and we saw Alpha just about every single weekday. She was one of the hardest working women I ever knew. For the past few years she had suffered from Alzheimer’s and the last time I saw her she didn’t recognize any of her children, but told me about them as if they weren’t there. She also passed away at Letcher Manor Nursing Home. Please remember these two special families in your prayers.
I found this wonderful picture of a Godly man that we knew when we were growing up. J.D. Maggard from Eolia was one of the preachers that came to visit Little Cowan Primitive Baptist Church or Marlowe Mountain Chapel on special occasions. There were two special songs that were requested of him every time he came. One of them was “The Cabin on the Hill” and the other was “On the Sunny Banks”. You can find both of these on YouTube. One of his great-nieces, Kathy Carter Kilbourne, posted this on Facebook and gave me permission to post it here.
We also found out from Facebook on Monday that one of Mom’s Marlowe friends, Bertha Paige Dye, has now been diagnosed with COVID-19. Her daughters asked that we would all please pray for her. She already had many respiratory illnesses and was already on oxygen.
Millstone Missionary Church prayer line also called Monday and asked that we still keep Dan and Betty Lucas in our prayers. One of my best friends from Martha Jane Potter is also recovering from the virus, Vickie Banks Wampler. She was tested before Christmas and it came back negative. She spent Christmas with her family and then the other test came back positive. She asked that we remember to pray for her family.
Even with all the changes this crazy virus has brought about in our lives, we can still find plenty to be thankful for. Sunday evening our pastor Bill Jones’s message on Facebook was about this very thing. Lots of my friends on Facebook had been posting this same subject since the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. Some posts requested that you list some things that you were thankful for that happened in 2020. Pastor used the verse in Nehemiah 8:10 that says the joy of the Lord is our strength. Sometimes it has been hard to find anything to be joyful about this past year. But, I’m sure if you sat down and start listing the things that were positive you would find not all things were bad.
Birthdays for this past week were Miranda Bentley on Dec. 31. Denise Gibson Baker on Jan. 1, along with Rocky Day, Randy Dollarhyde and Roger Miles, Velma Profitt Caldwell on the 2nd, Nancy Jones on the 3rd, Martha Wynn Whitaker and Sally Oakes Baker on the 4th. Ernie and Kathy Sexton had a wedding anniversary on the 1st.
Tammy Kincer Fugate asked that we pray for her mother, Betty Kincer. She fell this past Sunday and broke her hip. She had surgery Monday morning and so far everything has gone well. One of our sisters in the church, Jerry Blair, was admitted to the hospital Sunday with gallbladder problems. Remember to keep these two in your prayers.
My good friend, Faye Boggs Martin, had a brother, Rodney Boggs, to pass away on Jan. 1. Also, one of my co-workers from Martha Jane Potter passed away Sunday the 1st, Tabitha Gibson Back. Please keep these families and all the families that have lost loved ones, especially my pastor, Bill Jones, and his family.
Keep our churches in your prayers and if you can possibly attend, find a way to be there.