Dear Friends of LOFC,
In the last edition of the newsletter, we announced that Leath Johnson has joined the Board, filling the unexpired term of Betsy Kimbrough Padgett. I am pleased to report that Leath has agreed to serve as treasurer, and I will move to the office of secretary. As noted earlier, Leath is a CPA, so she brings valuable professional skills to the Board in addition to her many talents.
As we continue with remembrances of family or friends buried in LOFC as collected and provided by Vivian McDonagh, below are further contributions by Alyssa Ellis Killebrew and Phil Watson.
It was a friendship that was destined to be. Our grandmothers were friends, my father and her uncle were friends, and both of our mothers were named Sally. So, when Sara and I sat next to each other in our school’s tiny little van and became instant friends, it came as no surprise.
You see Sara was not like anyone I had ever met. I knew from the first day I saw her that she was special. She was determined and strong and by ten years old she had experienced more suffering and hardship than most people do in a lifetime. Born prematurely with cerebral palsy, Sara spent her childhood in hospitals. Doctors predicted she would not live and if she did, she would not walk.
Not only did Sara walk, but she also became a cheerleader. During one game, the football players accidentally trampled little Sara. It did not faze her; she got right back up. Sara rejected the idea that she was handicapped and was determined to beat the odds.
And beat the odds she did. She became an attorney with the State of Mississippi Attorney General’s office and lent her voice to the underdog and vulnerable children. She was a loyal friend who never hesitated to be there for me or to thoroughly discuss our love of Oprah, Richard Rohr, chocolate parfaits, scrapbooking or spiritual quotations. And most importantly, she loved her daughter, Margaret, fiercely.
When breast cancer began to ravage Sara’s little body, we spoke at depth. I promised to be there for Margaret. And when I lost my own child, Sara Elizabeth and husband, Keath, I could not help but feel peace knowing that Sara was in heaven awaiting them with open arms. It is a love that crosses the grave.
Dr. Alyssa Tyson Ellis Killebrew is the daughter of William "Billy" Reedy Ellis, III and Sally Bell Scott. Alyssa lived in Lexington from 1979-1997 where she developed lifelong friendships and spent countless hours with her grandmother, Sara Elizabeth Wilkins Ellis. She was a member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and graduated from Central Holmes Academy. Alyssa is the widow of Keath G. Killebrew, and continues to live in Madison with her daughter, Vivian Keeler and son, Keath Gwin Killebrew, Jr. She is the executive director/owner of Killebrew Psychological Services and founder of Essential Touchstones in Ridgeland. She also works as clinical director for the Mississippi Department of Corrections in Jackson, MS. She enjoys art, music, history, ancestry and anthropology.
The road to Odd Fellows is a long journey for some and a short trip for others, but that is where we meet. I do not know when, but I do know where -- among those whom I have loved.
Sammy McClellan and I became best friends as cub scouts and swim lessons with Coach Woodson Earle at the Lexington Country Club. Sammy and I were always up for an adventure and took our inspiration from The Hardy Boys Mysteries, reruns of Tarzan and Batman comics. Such scripted storylines instantly sent us off-script, inspiring us to form "The Dead Club," where we staged funerals for roadkill, dear-departed Easter chicks and executed snakes. It was all about the ceremony and perhaps, we were learning about death.
One local mystery, that of "the beating heart,” was no mystery to Sammy and me. You see, Mike Cothran was our other best buddy, and Sammy and I visited him after band practice almost every day while he DJ'd at WXTN. While he played our favorite tunes, we poured over the record charts in Billboard magazine. If WLS was the heartbeat of Chicago, WXTN's blinking tower certainly provided the "heartbeat" for Odd Fellows! On moonless nights, we often sprung that ghostly sight on unsuspecting friends. Any girl whose last name was Hammett would always scream!
For decades after I moved away, Sammy and I got together in Lexington and walked its streets, taking the same routes we had taken as kids. We also walked Odd Fellows to visit Mike Cothran, many of our teachers, and generations of our families while carrying on a running conversation about all of them. Now, I go to see Sammy by myself and wish we could have one more laugh. And, then I do laugh, because I know he can hear me.
Phil Watson was born in Lexington in 1952 to Henri and Sue Watson, cousin to JULIAN WATSON! After graduating from Mississippi State University with a degree in horticulture in 1976, Phil began his own design firm, Phillip Watson Designs. He currently lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where he is an on-air garden expert, while promoting his own line of plants on QVC. This is his 29th year on-air. Phil is the author of two books: “Pleasure Gardens” and “Garden Magic.” His favorite Lexington High School teacher was Jamie Moore.
As we commemorate Memorial Day, please join me in remembering and honoring the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States armed forces. If you would like to honor a veteran in your family that is buried in LOFC, please consider donating in their honor.
Amanda Povall Tailyour, Editor
We appreciate your support and could not operate without your generous gifts.
To Donate Online:
To Donate by check:
Mail your tax-deductible check to
Lexington Odd Fellows Cemetery, Inc.
PO Box 1213
Lexington, MS 39095-1213