Bethesda News: County loses a gem with passing of WWII veteran Charlie Paris

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Joyce Smith, Columnist

Thought for the week: When we put our problems in God’s hands, he puts his peace in our hearts.

Williamson County has lost one of its few remaining World War II veterans. As I sat down to write my column for this week, I received word that Charlie Paris had died. 

It was a shock as I had just heard he had been taken to the hospital the night before, but would be returning home. I guess God wanted him home with him. 

Charlie not only was a World War II Army veteran but also was a retired tower operator with CSX Railroad, elder of Mt. Carmel Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 32 degree mason and past master of John B. Garrett Masonic Lodge. 

Our deepest sympathy is extended to his wife, Helen, his sons, Mark, Wayne and Kenny, as well as to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Funeral services were Tuesday at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with entombment in the dogwood mausoleum in Williamson Memorial Gardens. 

Thanks to those of you who helped to make the fall festival at Hillsboro United Methodist Church a big success. I am sure they are already planning what they will do differently, if anything, for next year.

What a wonderful time I had this past Saturday as I took part in the 20th anniversary of BrightStone. Hundreds of people attended at this very moving program. The students honored us with several songs. The band was great. County Mayor Rogers Anderson read a proclamation honoring BrightStone. A big thanks goes to Brenda Hauk for the vision and dream she had 20 years ago. Also, thanks to those of you who donated to see this facility come to realization. Future donations are being matched through December.

You are invited to visit Jones Chapel Church of the Nazarene on Saturday for its fish fry and auction. They will begin serving fish, beans, slaw, hush puppies and drinks at 4 p.m. And don’t forget the homemade ice cream. A life auction will begin at 6. The church is at 3864 Johnson Hollow Road in the Burwood Community. Donations will be accepted. Gary Fewell is pastor of the church.

Congratulations are in order for Zackary and Tori Giles on the arrival of their son, Channing Wade Giles, who weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 21 inches long at birth. Big sister Paisley Jane was eager to welcome him home. Grandparents are Craig and Kelley Giles and great-grandparents are Billy and Katie Giles.

Sept. 21 is the date of the annual barbecue dinner and auction fundraiser for Bethesda Masonic Lodge No. 201. They will begin serving at 4 p.m. with their live auction set for 6. Cost is only $10 a plate. This includes drink and dessert. The lodge is on Bethesda-Duplex Road. Look for the signs.

Sympathy is extended to the family of Teresa Davenport, who recently died after an extended illness. She was an assistant principal at Liberty Elementary School in Franklin. Funeral services were at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home.

I am always elated when I learn of honors that children of my former students have received. That is just what I learned when I recently read about Independence High School senior Robert Hassell III. He recently made the USA Baseball 18U national team, which played in South Korea. He was also named 2019 Tennessee Gatorade Baseball Player of the Year. He is the only high school player from Tennessee on the 20-man roster. He was an outfielder as well as left-handed pitcher with the team. He will be attending Vanderbilt after graduation. He is the son of Robert and Jane (Chadwell) Hassell. Robert, we are very proud of you and will be following you through your senior year.

We were so sorry to learn of the passing of Linda Cotton. She has so bravely fought cancer for the past two years. Our deepest sympathy is extended to her husband, Danny, as well as her children and grandchildren and other family members as well as friends. Funeral services were Monday at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with burial in Triune Cemetery.

Did you hear that WTVF-Channel 5’s Lelan Statum was recently named broadcaster of the year by the National Weather Association? I enjoy listening to him and feel as though he is visiting in our home each evening.

As I look at the calendar, it is hard for me to believe that it has been 35 years since I was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, and underwent chemo treatments. 

I thank God daily that he has allowed me to continue to be here on this earth. Also, to those of you who have journeyed with me down this path, I say thank you. Without God, my family, the doctors and you, there is no way I could have gotten through this. Of course, I will have to give my students credit as well, because they were so supportive of me. I continued to take chemo while teaching. I had to eat crackers to keep from getting nauseated, so I told the students, “Don’t go home and tell your parents that Mrs. Smith is eating in front of you.” 

Stacy Lamb spoke up and said, “Mrs. Smith, we do not care how many crackers you eat, just please do not get us another substitute teacher!” That has remained with me all these years, and I still stay in touch with Stacy.

We were having a great family reunion this past Sunday, until we learned of the death of my first cousin, Jack Grigsby, who is the brother of Judy Hayes. He has been battling leukemia, but we thought he was improving. 

A military funeral is planned for next week in Texas. Please keep Judy and his family in your prayers. Donations are being made to Meals on Wheels in Texas or the Salvation Army.

September birthdays are really celebrated at the home of Elaine and Harry Thompson. Their granddaughter, Brandy Thompson Corley celebrated on Sept. 5, her dad, Brad Thompson, celebrated Wednesday, and her uncle, Chad Thompson, will celebrate on Saturday. We wish for each of them a happy birthday. (I am sure their mother and grandmother saw that they each had their special meal.)

Our deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Jimmy Jewell Sr. Visitation was at his home on Tuesday evening with graveside services at Mt. Hope Cemetery on Wednesday. Continue to remember them in your prayers.

We were so sorry to learn of the tragic death of Aaron Reed, son of Tammy and Casey Reed. He was killed while riding his motorcycle. He is the grandson of the late Clyde Reed, who was a classmate of mine. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his wife, children and other family members.

Please continue to remember all who continue to be on our sick list prayer chain. Joel Pedrick was to begin a new series of treatments this week, his mother, Doris Pedrick, is suffering with back pain, Bernice Smithson, Brenda Thompson, Joyce Mount, Jessie and Charlie Bennett, Ronnie and Judy Pitt, Peggy Crockett, Joe Farrar, Tandy and Mary Bruce, Teresa Locke, Nellie Stephens, Wesley Robinson, Malcolm Hazelwood, June Hood, Lillie Buford, Paula McGee, Ann and Bob Garner, Karen Ashworth Bennett, Porter Irwin, Dee Lynch, Billy and Katie Giles, William and Pat Marlin, Martha Jo Petty, Pam Hickman Leola Glenn, Greg Dodd and Jennifer Crutcher, as well as others whom we are not aware of.

Our deepest sympathy is with the families who have lost loved ones over the past few weeks. To the families of Ray Cruz, James William Coomer, Wanda Moss Pruter, Violet Rose Baker, Fred Griggs, Dot Murphy, Stephen Albert Hopkins, Sue Oden, Greg Moore, brother of Stephen Moore, Cathey Boone Leigh, Betty Walker Reed, Elmer Hughes, Joe Earl Bagwell, Sam Austin, Jack Grigsby, Jimmy Jewell, Charlie Paris, Linda Cotton, Aaron Reed and Diane Greathouse Hickley as well as others.

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