Community says ‘last good-bye’ to two locals

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 30, 2013

Peeping through my Venetian blind, I saw the dogwoods in bloom, just in time for Easter tomorrow. A host of other blooms – wisteria, azaleas, iris, bluets, purity, almond, pear, wild azaleas – joined them to rejoice that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave and lives eternally, giving hope to those who follow Him.


First Baptist, East Three-Notch, celebrated Palm Sunday last week with decorations of large palm branches in the twelve great windows of the sanctuary and six potted palms on the podium, all arranged by Alan Cotton, local florist and Baptist deacon.

Martha (James) Givhan, organist, and Jeanice (Paul) Kirkland, pianist, played a duet of “The Palms,” a glorious, heavenly piece.

Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist, who is recovering from a heart attack, attended church for the first time since his illness. He and his wife Connie sat on the back pew with one of their daughters.

The cold weather we had this week should have been expected. It seems there’s always a “cold snap” before Easter.

In the Alabama Baptist, the weekly newspaper for Baptists in Alabama, First Baptist, Andalusia, was listed in the top 25 of churches, giving to the Annie Armstrong program, a collection for home missions (as opposed to foreign missions).

Sue (Bass) Wilson and her daughter, Wynne Glenn, motored to the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with Wynne’s son, Hampton, and Hampton’s classmate, Darius Davis, for the young men to participate in the Capstone Leadership Academy. The Andalusia High School sophomores were two of 100 chosen in Alabama for the program.

While the students were in classes, the ladies picked up Sue’s niece, Clara Bass, a senior at the University, and paid a visit to their friend, Mary Clyde “M.C.” Merrill, who lives in a retirement village at Tuscaloosa.

M.C. taught piano in the Andalusia City Schools and privately for years, moving here as Miss Mims from Clanton. She also played the piano at First Baptist for a quarter of a century and sang soprano in its choir. She is the widow of Jacob Merrill and mother of three children, Susan, Fran and Johnny. She moved to Tuscaloosa to be nearer her daughters.

She is also an excellent artist.

That Yankee Pennsylvania groundhog, Philaphony, predictor of a warm spring, proved wrong. If you recall, gentle reader, Mrs. Grundy (not a Yankee) correctly predicted six more weeks of cold weather.

Mr. Gried and Mr. Glutt are at it again. Their method is to raise the price of gas till it hurts; then, they drop it. The drop, however, always leaves the price at higher than the preceding low; yet the public breathes a sigh of relief because gas has dropped. (Mr. Gried and Mr. Glutt are probably Yankees.)

Seen at the Huddle House were Bobby and Judy Scott. Bobby has been known to talk politics. He is a semi-retired pharmacist at Mallette’s. Judy is a retired schoolteacher.

Seen at the Corner Market was Jimmy Gillis, owner of Satisfied Electric and Plumbing, who told me about the repair jobs he’s handling.

Also seen was Sarah (Williams) Kelley, up from Fort Walton for the funeral of her aunt, Lucille (Williams) McGraw, a sister to Mrs. Kelley’s dad.

Mrs. McGraw was the last of her generation. Mrs. Kelley is the last of hers.

Mrs. McGraw was also the last of her AHS Class of 1931 and the oldest known graduate of our high school at the time of her death. She had enjoyed this title for several years and had even appeared in the annual homecoming assembly at AHS. The Student Government sent her a dozen red roses each year.

Beuna Lucille (Williams) McGraw, born Jan. 3, 1914, died March 21, 2013, the first full day of spring, at the age of 99.

She is survived by her only child, Suzanne McGraw Hedges, as well as her brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Paul and Beverly McGraw.

Mrs. McGraw was buried during a graveside service, 2 p.m., Fri., March 22, in Magnolia Cemetery with her minister, Tim Trent of the First United Methodist Church, officiating and with arrangements by Foreman-Brown Funeral Home.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Auburn McGraw; her parents, William Henry and Mary Elizabeth Williams, and 11 siblings.

Minister Trent read “Psalm 23,” spoke some kind words about Mrs. McGraw, worded a prayer, and led all in “The Lord’s Prayer,” briefly as Mrs. McGraw had requested.

Trent said that Mrs. McGraw had been a member of FUMC since 1943 and a faithful member of its Mae Maddox Sunday School Class.

The casket was closed and spread with a white pall.

Pallbearers were Richard Merrill, Johnny Williams, Joe Wingard, Drexel Copeland, Keith Grimes and Shone Perry.

It was an overcast day, windy, cool and grey.

Amid the grasses of the cemetery the henbit was in bloom.

Another sad occasion this past weekend was the funeral of Sara (Foreman) Hobson, the second generation of her family to run the Foreman-Brown Funeral Home here in Andalusia. Her parents ran it. Now her son, Norman, and his son, Hunter, are carrying on the family tradition – four generations.

Mrs. Hobson was reared in Andalusia, was graduated in the AHS Class of 1947, and spent her life in her hometown, rearing two sons, Norman and Jeff.

She was always looking about to see what good she could do. She had a heart of sympathy, a soul of kindness, and a spirit of generosity.

She is survived by her sons, Norman and Jeff, Norman’s wife, Sharon, their two children, Hunter and Mary Elizabeth Hobson, Hunter’s wife Ali and their son, Forest Hunter Hobson, the fifth generation to live here.

Mrs. Hobson was preceded in death by her husband, Forest Hobson Jr.; her parents, Emmette and Johnnie (Maloy) Foreman; and brother, Max Maloy Foreman.

Born Sept. 10, l928, Mrs. Hobson died March 22, 2013, at age 84.

Funeral services were attended Sun., March 24, at 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of First Baptist Church.

The casket was open for viewing.

The body was clothed in a pale green suit with floral appliqué and crystals.

A blanket of several dozen red roses, interspersed with baby’s breath and fern, topped the casket, which was flanked by pedestals and urns with matching arrangements of red roses. Banks of floral tributes also flanked the casket.

A concert of inspirational music preceded the service. John Beasley, retired AHS math teacher, played the pipe organ; and Louisa Baker, owner of Ansley Place, played the piano. Both are accompanists at FUMC. Mr. Beasley plays regularly for three congregations.

Mrs. Hobson, who loved music, would have thrilled at the instrumental duets.

She often wrote notes of appreciation to the FBC Choir, following their anthems, and was the choir’s biggest fan.

The family entered to “Be Still, My Soul” (“Finlandia”).

Herb Carlisle, a layman at First Baptist, who had spoken at the funerals of Mrs. Hobson’s husband and brother, shared her family background, her survivors, and character, calling her an “encourager.”

He read scripture and concluded with prayer.

John Nichols Foster, retired pastor, who served First Baptist just shy of 20 years, told how Mrs. Hobson had been an active part of her community all her life. Foster shared memories and led, too, with scripture and prayer.

It seemed so natural to see Bro. Foster at the pulpit. As he said privately before the funeral, now “I am history.”

As the family exited, the musicians played the stately “Thanks Be to God.”

Burial was in the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery. Bro. Carlisle read scripture, and Bro. Foster prayed.

Loved ones took roses from the blanket as keepsakes.

It was a breezy, cool afternoon with a mixture of sun and shade.

A goodly crowd attended both service and burial.

Sunday night four area churches combined to worship at First Baptist, East Three-Notch. Participants included First Baptist on Whatley Street, Southside and Bethany.

A large crowd sang hymns with full hearts as John Beasley played the organ and Sonia Crigger, the piano.

Dwight Crigger, FBC minister of music, directed.

First Baptist (E. Three-Notch) sang an anthem. First Baptist (Whatley) sang two anthems. Bethany provided a trio; Southside, a soloist.

A powerful sermon was preached by Darryl Callaway of Whatley Street.

Judson Blackstock, assistant minister at East Three-Notch, served as host.

Following the service, the Christians enjoyed a supper of soup, sandwiches, and cookies in Fellowship Hall. (I guess most churches have an area for dining called Fellowship Hall.)

I have learned since last week that Joe Thomas, a journalist in Flomaton, is not only a friend of the Givhans, but also a close friend of our editor, Michele Gerlach.

The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 continues.

Again, I ask that each citizen of Andalusia join the Covington Historical Society and pay its annual dues of $25 to help preserve the history of our county, whether you attend meetings or not. Mail to CHS, P.O. Box l582, Andalusia, AL 36420. Include your e-mail address if you wish to be reminded of upcoming meetings.

To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States, let us return to this week 150 years ago.

Northern General Grant temporarily gave up his efforts to reach Vicksburg on the Mississippi. Efforts by land and sea had failed.

President Lincoln (who insisted on the War) hoped for 50,000 armed and drilled black soldiers on the banks of the Mississippi to “end the rebellion at once.”

Citizens of the new state of West Virginia approved a gradual emancipation of slaves. (Lincoln’s emancipation did not apply to Federal states.)

Union Admiral David Farragut successfully escaped Confederate shore batteries along the Mississippi.

Buy stamps to recall the Sesquicentennial, Mark Twain, O. Henry, and the War of 1812.

No one identified the mysterian. Here is the clue-gram again – the person who ran the Gables Motor Hotel on Church Street prior to Grace Larson.

Historic birthdays this week were those of Alfred Edward Housman, an English poet, and Robert Frost, an American poet.

Housman wrote the famous “When I Was One and Twenty.”

Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Its last quatrain is probably the most quoted stanza of the twentieth century: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep/But I have promises to keep/And miles to go before I sleep/And miles to go before I sleep.”

Now, gentle reader, allow me to encourage each of us to be in his place of worship this weekend, Lord willing.

Tomorrow is Easter without which we would have no crosses, no cathedrals, no local churches, no Vacation Bible School, no weddings as we know them, no “God, Bless America.” No “Lord’s Prayer,” no baptisms, no Saviour.

Fare thee well.