It is with deep sorry that my brother Johnny and I inform you that our dear mother Lois Harper passed away Thursday. She had been in declining health since June and was a resident of Madison Health and Rehab since mid-July. She loved her family and friends deeply, her home in Rutledge, her Pastor Wayne Ghann whom she loved like a son, her church and church family at Rutledge Baptist, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Zant, Dr. Hall and all the staff at Madison Family Medicine, Dr. Lowman and his nurse Gypsy, her many friends at the Morgan County Senior Center, the staff at the Morgan County Citizen, the staff of Thrifty Mac Drugs and even though the time she knew them was only five months she loved all the wonderful and devoted people who cared for her so wonderfully at Madison Health and Rehab.
Before going into the nursing home she was active in her church, community and the Senior Center. She also wrote the “Rutledge News” article for the Madisonian and the Morgan County Citizen for almost 20 years. She reminisced about life on the farm with Daddy, my brothers and me and how she missed having a garden. She wrote about “ago days” in the country with her widowed mother, brothers and sister and spoke often of Granny and Grandpa Hooper and how much they meant to her and the impact they had on her life. Her articles also reflected on and encouraged us to enjoy the daily blessings and wonderful gifts God bestows upon us and His masterpieces of nature. She kept us updated on Rutledge residents and activities. Most of her articles covered her beloved church news and she included a summary of the sermon Pastor Wayne had brought that Sunday. She ended her news with a “thought for the week”, which sometimes reflected on her scripture, nature or her sense of humor.
She always said her middle name was “Go” and she rarely turned Dean and me (or others) down when asked if she wanted to go with us out to eat or shopping. If the first of the month rolled around and we missed going out she would call and tell me she needed to “hit the grocery store” and would always have something in that buggy for Dean and me. Her favorite place to go was to the mountains. Her childhood home was in the foothills of them in North Georgia.
She was a wonderful wife and mother and instilled upon my brothers and me values of honesty, dependability, kindness, generosity and devotion to God and our family. She had a steadfast faith in God and because of that faith she stood strong during the loss of her husband, son, mother, granddaughter, all of her siblings, numerous relatives and friends. She was a kind-hearted and sweet spirited lady and a testimony of her faith and love for God. One of the poems she liked so well is from a book she gave me named “The Wings of Faith.” It is titled, "The Good Shepherd."
The Lord is my Shepherd
And I am His lamb;
He keeps watch over me
Wherever I am.
He leads me to pastures
Where all is serene;
Beside still waters of prayer,
My sins are washed clean.
Should I stray from the fold
On pathway unknown,
He leaves the ninety-nine
And carries me home.
With patience as gentle
As that from a dove,
He forgives and restores me
With mercy and love.
Through all of life’s pathways
No harm will I fear,
For I know my Shepherd,
He ever walks near.
We will forever remember her and miss her greatly.
– By Betty Edwards, her daughter
“We weren’t done hearing your stories”
We moved to Rutledge in 2004 in search of a more relaxed and gentle lifestyle away from Atlanta and the hustle bustle that is a part of living there. To aid us in adapting to our new country life we subscribed to the Madisonian to learn about and keep up with our community and Morgan County. Lois, your column was one of the weekly stops on our excursion through the paper and we’ve missed it for the past few months so we hoped you’d start writing again as soon as you could.
You always reported on the current weather and how it affected birds, trees, flowers and people. From your memories we learned about the past; how your brothers hoped that spring would return swiftly after a long winter so that their wood chopping chores would lessen, how your family bartered chickens at the local market for sugar and other food, how your mother punished you kids with chores around the house and included long discussions about the Ten Commandments and how a cold snap affected the peach orchard that your late husband looked over. You were a patriot and often commented on your husband’s service to our country. Your memories were unending and gave us cause to reflect on an easier time in life without today’s complications.
You always told us who was ill, who broke a bone, who received a new pacemaker, who was in a car wreck, who moved to a nursing home, who returned home from the hospital and who passed away. Most of your news was good news; who returned home from Iraq, who came home to visit after months away, who had a baby, who got married, who made Dean’s list, who sang a solo at the church, what activities took place in the Rutledge park, what the birds were doing outside and how important it is to love Jesus.
When you stopped in my store one Sunday after church and introduced yourself I was so pleased to make your acquaintance. That day was special. John and I have learned to love Rutledge and as a couple that has lived in many places during our lives we feel as though this small old city is our home. We love all the quaintness and all the quirks; the stop barrel, the train, the activities in the park, a caboose on Main Street, old homes as well as all that we learned from your articles. You’ve gone home now but we still want to say thank you, Lois. You entertained and educated us. Not just the two of us but all who read your articles. And we had hoped to read more.
– By Joellen Artz
Printed in the December 13, 2012 edition