Remembering dear friends: Bob, Geneva, Rev. Johnston, Dr. Bromeley and Marlene

Published 6:06pm Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lion Bob Stuedell, who sponsored me to become a Columbus Lion, was a good Lion to show me the ropes.

Lion Bob did everything by the book, and saw to it that the whole club did, too. He stayed on my case as I progressed, and did his own brand of tail twisting (a Lion tradition), always with a twinkle in his eyes. We have missed him since he resigned some time ago for health reasons.

Bob’s father bought the top of “reservoir hill” from my grandfather, T. A. Rippy, after he sold his water works to the Town of Tryon and they did not need the reservoir for the combined system.

Bob and Joan thus became my Aunt Mildred’s neighbors when they moved in, and promptly joined her breakfast group at Hardee’s. We also joined the group when I retired here. That is how we all became friends.

Bob loved jazz and attended festivals often. I made a front license plate for his van using a sax as the “J” in the word Jazz.

I was surprised to see Geneva (Mrs. Fred) Cochran during my visiting rounds at White Oak a week or two before she died. Fran and I would stop by her house sometimes after Fred died, and whether or not we had brought anything, we could not leave empty-handed.

My favorite was her incomparable pound cake and Fran was plied with all the figs she could eat. There was always something growing in the planter box by her back door, either flowers or tomatoes in season. She insisted on sharing from that, too. A generous and kind lady whom I believe enjoyed all of her life . . . and because she wanted to, she did.

Rev. James Johnston and his wife, Rosemary, attended the historical association programs faithfully for years. Then Rosemary died, and I saw the Rev. Johnston representing Hospice visiting Fred Cochran shortly before he died.

He said that my visit helped him to get acquainted with Fred to better minister to him. The last time I saw Rev. Johnston was at the gym where we were both trying to keep ourselves functional. I had thought it would be good to invite him to say a few words when my time comes to go . . .

When I let scraps pile up around my radial saw, they slid one busy day and my feet went out from under me. The concrete block that my head hit opened a gash on my forehead that required stitches, so Dr. Bromeley was called into the ER to do the honors.

Some kind of alarm sounded as he began to examine me, so he excused himself by saying there was a fire somewhere and he was the new fire marshal for St. Luke’s. After a long absence he returned and explained that they had a new fire warning system tied into their computers, and it proclaimed there was a “Fire in Sector B.”

Since no one had any idea what “Sector B” was, he had to dispatch people to all corners to investigate. I have no visible scar after the good doctor’s work.

Ron Mosseller gets a group of us aviation enthusiasts together for lunch at different local eateries and our conversations somehow wander far from aviation.

Marlene Balog was one of us and her background included stints as a stewardess and later as a loadmaster for a cargo airline. While pilots tend to “kick the tires and light the fires,” the loadmaster is responsible for proper positioning of everything put aboard. Little Marlene often had to “get firm” with much bigger male cargo handlers, who quickly learned that she was the boss. She relished great food and had little patience for anything less appealing.

My condolences to all the families and friends above, and I must now add Frank “Pick” Brown to them.

His wife Rena died recently. I did not know her, but I always enjoyed visiting with Pick when I tuned the piano at our church when he was the custodian. He knew better than to run the vacuum cleaner anywhere near me before I had finished!

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