Fall of 1985: Mayoral elections being held in Coats

Posted 10/23/20

The days are shorter, temperatures are cooler and colorful leaves are carpeting the ground. Hurricanes have devastated the Gulf states and many of us in Grove Township have much empathy for the …

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Fall of 1985: Mayoral elections being held in Coats


The days are shorter, temperatures are cooler and colorful leaves are carpeting the ground. Hurricanes have devastated the Gulf states and many of us in Grove Township have much empathy for the people there because we well remember the powerful wind and rains from other hurricanes that left a path of destruction through Harnett County.

Even though the date on The Daily Record recorded Oct. 11, 1985, the paper shared that Mrs. Curtis Guy was named Easter Seals coordinator for the local “Community Roundup” and “Business Area” campaign.

The state convention of the North Carolina Young Democrat Club was to be hosted in Dunn at Howard Johnson’s. Harnett County Chapter President Truelah Wagstaff announced the event and they expected about 300 visitors to come to the Dunn area (The Daily Record, Oct. 14, 1985).

Jamie Lee Ennis, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Ennis of Route 2, Four Oaks, had died. An accident had occurred 5 miles east of Coats in the early evening. The accident involved two Coats residents, Clarence Harvey Neighbors Jr. and Doris Munden Neighbors, both of Route 1, Coats. They were both treated at Good Hope Hospital in Erwin and released. Mr. Neighbors was driving a 1971 AMC, pulling a trailer. When the trailer began to sway in a curve, the vehicle and trailer both overturned on its sides.

In that same edition of the Oct. 16, 1985, Daily Record, a story was printed that North Carolina’s new mandatory seat belt law was enacted on the day that Larry Byrd Jr. of Route 3, Dunn, was preparing for his road test with the North Carolina License Examiner Larry Stewart.

Many trophies were awarded to the Coats Farmers Day wagon train and parade participates on the second Saturday of October in 1985. Mark Byrd was the winner in the pig cooking contest. Dura-Bilt Engine Co. owned by Jerry W. McLamb had sponsored Mark. Second place went to G.R. Stephenson and Mark Pope and were sponsored by Billy Pope while third place went to an out-of-towner from Raleigh — James A. Pearce. Brian Patterson was the lucky winner of a paddle fan, Clarence Pleasant from Benson won a gas grill and Clyde Howard won a chain saw.

The best professional float was judged to be SLC of Coats and the best nonprofessional float was by Billy Pope and Kountry Kove. Buck Lloyd had the best antique car entry. Billy Pope also won entries for the best small single harness horse and the best surrey.

Others who won entries were Connie Allen and Andy Joyner for best saddle horse. Riding on convertibles in the parade were Michelle Champion, the last reigning Miss Coats High and Lisa Williams, Miss Coats Junior Order of 1985. Janice Lucas, one of the organizers of the event, said it was one of the best they ever had (The Daily Record, Oct. 16, 1985).

Three Coats women were among the 1,010 new enrollees at Wake Technical College for the fall quarter. They were Vicky Byrd, enrolled in the two-year business administration program; Tracy Ivey, enrolled in the one-year computer operations study; and Michelle Champion, enrolled in the one-year clerk-typist program.

Shannon Rose Stephenson received a $500 scholarship check from Wachovia Bank & Trust Co. to continue her education. A Coats baby was the “Harnett County 4-H Baby” being born the first baby on 4-H Week. Michael Caro was born Oct.7, 1985 to Mr. and Mrs. Miguel Caro. Mary Forest, a Cooperative Extension Program Specialist, was on hand for the honors (Daily Record Oct. 18, 1985).

Gladys McCaskill, Erwin Town Clerk for 18 years, had died. She was sister to Mrs. Pauline Ennis (Daily Record Oct. 21, 1985).

Tim McKinnie announced that he was running for Mayor of Coats. Tim had served as a Coats Commissioner for four years and was a member of the CACC. He had graduated from Coats High School in 1969 and was the son of Mr. and Mrs. George McKinnie.

Agriculture Extension Agent, Harold Lloyd, visited the Harnett County farmers-Don Byrd, Mackie White and Bobby Byrd. They explained the difficulties faced by farmers in 1985. These farmers had acres of tobacco, cotton, soybeans and corn (The Daily Record, Oct. 23, 1985).

Mr. McKinnie was to have competition in the race for mayor. Y.T. Jernigan, operator of Jernigan’s Service Center, announced he was also running for the position. Mr. Jernigan was born in Johnston County but married a Harnett County lady, Sarah Parnell. He is the son of James Jernigan and Bessie Jernigan. He has four children, Thomas, Jimmy, John and Louise Jernigan Bruckner of the Employment Security Commission (The Daily Record, Oct. 25, 1985).

Many visitors to the museum comment that they remember visiting the Jernigan store after they see the scales from the Jernigan Service Center that the family placed in the Coats Museum. Don’t you bet a lot of sausage and cheese were weighed on those scales?

Friends continue to remember their late friend, Joe Tart, with memorials. Thanks go to Cathy Penny McLamb and Austin T. Harris for their remembrances for Joe who would be so touched by the continuing expressions of love for him.

Much time and effort is put into the museum to make it a worthwhile place to visit. Patsy Avery, Blair Smith, Hilda Pope and Lynda Butler are strong museum supporters with recent birthdays who make it happen. A friend of the museum has honored these folks with honorariums.

Jonah C. Johnson, Alice Thornton Johnson and Kress Williams had memorials given to the museum to recognize their birthdays. Stacey Johnson continues to be remembered with memorials.

Our dedicated board member and volunteer, Linda Cobb, has given a memorial for Stacey. Thanks to all the generous and caring friends of these folks.


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