Friday, January 23, 2009

A Heavener obligation

Since I spent over 20 years as a newspaperman, I know of what I speak, or, say, that is. Writing obituaries is a thankless job, usually for part-timers, weekend warriors or maybe newcomers trying to break into the business and will do whatever it takes. But, apparently, I have become the unofficial “obit writer” for Heavener folks, and I am glad to do it and darn sure proud of it. After all, at least it gives me something to do, a purpose, so to speak. You see, it has become part of my morning routine to check the Fort Smith Times-Record webpage for obits from Heavener. I’ve been doing it for a while and I copy them and send them out as an e-mail to all my ‘Heavener contacts’, of which there are 90 or so. Folks in Heavener have come to expect of me, so much so that when they hear of someone with a Heavener past who has passed on, they seem to e-mail me the info.

This week, I received an e-mail from Bo Shupert telling me of Billie Jane Bogner’s passing, from Van Buren. Billie was once married to Dutch Shupert, Bo’s late brother. He said I apparently had missed it since she was living in Van Buren now. I went back, and sure enough, I had overlooked it. Bo had a little side note that he appreciated me sending out others. I sent it back out and Pat Burroughs replied, “Hadn’t seen it, either. I knew her when the kids were little.” I’ve sent several to which Pat has replied. When Cynthia and I were in Poteau recently for Grace Coggins Kidwell’s memorial service, Jim Hall, a ’65 classmate, was there and he said he was afraid something had happened to me because I hadn’t sent anything out on Billy Martinez’ passing away earlier that week. Well, I told him I had been vacationing at Lake Texoma all week and hadn’t been at home. So, folks have come to expect it of me. Bill Pitchford is good about replying and making a comment, telling me a side note about so and so.

This week, Jim Patterson’s uncle Ralph passed. Ralph was married to Rena Hall, Craig Hall’s grandmother. So, naturally when Craig found out and knew Jim and I were close friends, he e-mailed me to find out Jim’s e-mail address and also asked me to forward the info on to Jim. I did, and Jim was not yet aware, since it had happened just the night before and wasn’t in the Times-Record either. There have been several instances when I’ve sent out an obit that somebody from Heavener didn’t know about. Or, just news about someone from Heavener being sick or not in good health. Freddie Cox has sent me news, because he knows I will turn around and let my Heavener contacts know. I do it because I love Heavener and believe it is my obligation. John Tatum asked me to quit sending so many obits to him because it made him sad to get only bad news about Heavener.

When Craig did HOL (Heavener On Line), he could put news on line and it became very popular, but since he’s quit publishing his website, that’s where I come in, I guess. So, anyone with news of Heavener that needs sent out, feel free to e-mail me at


At January 23, 2009 at 5:07 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

John I really do appreciate you sending out the information you do on the obits. I don't have access to the resources you do.

So thank you so much.
Bill Hinds

At January 25, 2009 at 1:37 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Please keep me on your list.


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