Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth, Sister-in-Law to Dr. V. M. Holland

Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth

"Streaks Across The Sky"

by Jessie Jo Wedgeworth © 2013
from from her book Chimes of Time: A Collection of Poems

This morning-blue sky
Is overlaid with light streaks,
As tiny specks move swiftly
In the endless vastness,
Criss-cross to form contrails,
Which puff full, then,
Pushed by wind currents,
Break into thin wisps
And drift away into farther blue;
Streaks left as jets pass through.

What streaks do I leave, passing?

Occasional clean streaks
Sweeping dirty floors
Swiping spotted windows
Swishing dusty furniture

Little streaks of cheer
Cover others’ heartaches
Carry their loads
Comfort their souls

Is this all I can do?

My Prayer —
Please help me,
Speck that I am,
Leave meaningful streaks
Across the arch of my existence.

NOTE: my Aunt Jessie Jo was buried on the 10th Anniversity of  the tragic lost of  the shuttle Columbia, which broke apart as it re-entered the atmosphere and streaked across the Texas skies. Burned parts of the shattered spacecraft rained down across a broad expanses, much of it centered over Hemphill, Texas.

Jessie Dennard and family, c. 1930  based on the image of  Hilda Dennard (  85 in 2013) who appears to be  between 1 and 2 in this photo in the arms of her mother. Marion Dennard holding the doll in the front row thinks that is a good date for this photo, which shows Jessie Jo Dennard between her older step-sister Evangeline Neal Dennard ( to become Dr. V. M. Holland 's wife) and her younger brother James Dennard.

Like most members of both the Dennard and the Wedgeworth families, I have always felt close to my Aunt Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth.  Her son Tracy Wedgeworth (Denny) was like my brother when I was grewing up as a boy up in Panola County. Her husband Tracy Wedgeworth (Uncle Tracy)  was one of the greatest men I have every known in my life. I used to follow him around like a puppy on trips to the dairy barn,  where I listen to the sounds of his voice and the sounds of the dairy and the smell of his pipe smoke and the cows with their feed, to the pasture to help out a cow having troubles with calfing, to a haunted house in a tractor pulled hay wagon one night, to have a gilt serviced by a boar, and always back again to Aunt Jo's table for my first (and by means not last) cup of coffee at the age of four or five... Jo had the largest platter of fried eggs I had ever seen in my life at her breakfast table for hard working dairy hands.  Later she worked at First National Bank where she retired with plans to travel with Tracy... who then passed away. Her Nanna grandmother career kicked into high gear... and along with it came her passion for writing poems, short stories, observations on life in and around Panola county. Her books were published for awhile ( and she had a large email list following and won  regional awards for poetry and short stories. Those books, especially the Joisms Series, were very popular with my Mom, Evangeline Neal Dennard Holland, who was her older step-sister,  and with my Wife, Deborah Ann Richey McAlister Holland, who is also an author,  and her small, self published booklets can still find them in libraries if you look hard enough. And then her brilliant flame slowly went out that fueled her writing. Her life became very quite.  She was always so polite and courteous when we visited in those later years... she told me on one visit not long ago that "I am done with that [my writing] you will have to make do with what you've got." Then she smiled and asked about how I was doing and how my family was doing ... Her life story was a great one. I will have to do with what I got of it. Hope you were in it. I am glad to have been in her story among the histories of  East Texas.

Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth
July 1st, 1922 - January 30th, 2013


Quotes were writen by Jessie Jo Wedgewoth from her bio, "About Me" , from Chimes of Time: A Collection of Poems

"When I was born on a cotton farm near Terrell, Texas on a hot summer day in 1922, I was named after my grandfathers, Jesse Dennard and Joseph Heath. I have always been proud of my name.” Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth was born July 1, 1922. She was one of four children born to the marriage of Buford Leon Dennard and Loma Heath Dennard. “We moved to East Texas when I was twelve; two years later we settled in the Clayton Community, and I still live within two miles of that place, as the crow flies. I graduated from Carthage High School in 1939 and attended SFA at Nacogdoches.”

Jesse married Tracy Howard Wedgeworth November 27, 1940. “In WWlI my husband, Tracy, was drafted and with our two little girls, Peggy and Patsy, I lived with my parents at Irving. When my husband was discharged from the army, we returned to East Texas, bought land and operated a daiiy many years. Our son, Denny, was born during this time. We worked hard developing the lfe we wanted and we were a happy, close-knit family, with our home and church the center of our lives.” Mrs. Wedgeworth was a member of the Cedar Grove Baptist Church where she served as the church clerk for 50 years. “After our two daughters left for college, I began a career in banking, which lasted over twenty-three years.” Jesse worked for the First National Bank of Carthage. “This was a very educational and fulfilling experience. My husband died of lung cancer two months after I retired in 1987, and I seriously began writing poetry and articles to help heal the grief of being forced to carve a new life alone.” Mrs. Wedgeworth was a writer of Poetry and member of the Rusk County Poetry Society. She volunteered with the Panola County Historical and Genealogical Association in the Old Jail House [where she worked with Dr. V. M. Holland, her brother-in-law, on historical reseach of Panola County]. She is preceded in death by her parents, husband, Tracy Wedgeworth in 1987, son-in-law, John Meek, sister, Evangeline Holland and brother, James C. Dennard.

Mrs. Wedgeworth is survived by her children, Peggy Wedgeworth of Nacogdoches, Patsy Waldrop and husband Doug of Carthage, Denny Wedgeworth and wjfè Barbara of Longview, brother, Robert H. Dennard and wfe Jane of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, grandchildren and great grandchildren, Dawn and Dan Killough, Abbie and J.P. of Winters, David Waidrop of Clayton and Fiancé Cris Barkowski of Bentonville, AR, stepdaughter, Madeline Lee of Pine Tree, Jessica and Kirk Carlisle, Anna Grace of Longview, Sabrina and Mark Westfall of Nacogdoches, step grandchildren, Jamie and Bart Eppenauer, Alex, Alyssa and Luke, Tern Lightfoot, Nolan and Pam Meek, Keith and Karen Meek, and Melanie.

Serving as pallbearers will be the Dennard and Wedgeworth nephews. The family
requests memorials to
 Cedar Grove Baptist Church, 1896 CR 106, Carthage, Texas
75633, Bethlehem Cemetery, 181 Emma Drive, Diana, Texas 75640, Marian Place
Assisted Living, 1690 NE Loop 59, Carthage, Texas 75633 or The Old Jail, 213 N.
Shelby, Carthage, Texas, 75633.

Funeral services for Mrs. Jessie Jo Dennard Wedgeworth, 90, of Carthage, Texas were held at  2:00 p.m. Friday, February 1, 2013 at the Cedar Grove Baptist Church with Rev. Freddy Mason and Rev. Dale Read officiating. Burial followed in the Bethlehem Cemetery under the direction of Hawthorn Funeral Home. Family visitation was on  Thursday 6-8:00 p.m. at the Wawthorn funeral home. Mrs. Wedgeworth died January 30, 2013 in Carthage, Texas.

Bethlehem Cemetery
1343 CR 108
Carthage, TX 75633

Books by Jessie Jo Wedgeworth (c) 2013

Chimes of Time: A Collection of Poems


Joisms 2, Etc.

A History of Cedar Grove Baptist Church

Bethlehem Cemetery, Genealogical Survey 1867-1990: Panola County, Texas

(c) Bethlehem Cemetery Association, 1990 - 114 pages

Sister to Robert H. Dennard , Fellow at IBM, inventor of DRAM