Remembering Kathy and Betty

Published 12:29 pm Friday, March 31, 2023

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Kathy Taft was a treasured member of the Polk County Historical Association. She and Al Creasy outlasted the other people who started working on the cemetery census, including me! We all attended the class, led by the late Dr. George Jones of the Hendersonville Genealogical Society, to learn how to survey and record the gravestones in the cemeteries.

As then President of PCHA, I asked them to record any epitaphs or other inscriptions as well as the names and dates. They found some very interesting ones and dutifully recorded them. It took them about three years to complete the task.

When I reviewed their work, I commented that the book was a “good read.” A whole book of just names and dates—what’s to READ? Well, if you grew up here and live here as I do, you will find lots of friends resting in peace and quiet. I have friends and relatives buried in many of the cemeteries, so my walks are always a time of reminiscence and renewal. 

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My acquaintance with Betty Knopp grew out of my association with Betty Frost and the Colonel. She was active in PCHA and Col. Frost was doing its newsletter when I planned and executed a Polk County tour using Transportation’s vans and drivers.

I was not even a member when I attended a board meeting to report on my fund-raising County tour. The late Jimmy Jackson told Betty he could not continue as President, and she immediately looked at me and said “You’re our new President.”

I visited Betty Knopp (gotta keep my Bettys straight!) on several occasions, thereby getting better acquainted with the Frosts. It was there that I met his son Jerry, with whom I still carry on an active email exchange. We visited Jerry and Marge in their home near Atlanta on our trips to Texas.

You can see by the above how I have met so many Polk County notables. Continuing associations led to some great friendships. I suppose that is how everyone cultivates their host of friends. I treasure them all. Just wish our busy lives allowed more cultivation!

Just as Jeff Byrd asked me to write for his Tryon Daily Bulletin and waited until I did, so did Mark Levin persist until I agreed to interviews that resulted in a write-up in Foothills magazine and recently a video by Columbus Mark for his series on YouTube. I have enjoyed comments by several friends who have viewed his video.        

Fran and I are Life Members of the WNC Air Museum and PCHA. These have led to additional friendships as well. Not to mention all the friendships formed among fellow church members wherever we have lived. People think I know everybody in Polk County; even if I knew a thousand folks, that is still only one out of twenty!  

Few get to create lasting legacies. I wonder how much of what I have created will be around very long after I am gone. Perhaps my columns printed in the Tryon Daily Bulletin will be available in Libraries for a while. The airplanes will eventually be cut up for scrap. Our children were adopted, so our bloodlines will end with us.

I suppose, then, that for most of us, our lifetime is it— no legacy. Good thing I have enjoyed most of my long, adventurous life among some pretty wonderful people, many of whom I counted as friends. I look forward to continuing with our Lord for eternity.      

Garland would like to hear from you at 828-859-7041 or