It’s 1989; hearing held about new water district

For the Record
Posted 1/14/22

The year 1989 was the year there was upheaval in China, radical change in Eastern Europe and an oil spill in Alaska. Former Sen. John Tower’s nomination by newly elected George Bush to the post …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

It’s 1989; hearing held about new water district


The year 1989 was the year there was upheaval in China, radical change in Eastern Europe and an oil spill in Alaska. Former Sen. John Tower’s nomination by newly elected George Bush to the post of secretary of defense was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 53 to 47. It was the first time in history that the Senate denied the president a nomination for his first cabinet.

This was also the year Eastern Airlines filed for bankruptcy. The company’s Chairman Frank Lorenzo claimed that Eastern was $2.5 billion in debt. Oil spills are nothing new for our country. The tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Alaska. Before the leaking was stopped, 11 million gallons of crude oil polluted miles of shoreline and killed wildlife (Dickson, Paul. “From Elvis to E-Mail.” Massachusetts: Federal Street Press. 1999, pp.303-04).

Things were more optimistic in the Coats area where there was a hearing heard in Lillington concerning the new water district to include the municipalities of Coats, Buies Creek, Angier, and Lillington. Coats area residents who took the opportunity to be heard were Billy Pope who wanted it to pass under the old census numbers before a new one showed an increase of income per capita and thereby knocking out the possibility of a grant under the FHA rules.

Robert Strickland was concerned with water pollution from a landfill in his area and the need for more fire protection. Keith McLeod, Coats fire chief, agreed the new water system would bring more water sources with which to fight fires.

James Grimes was concerned with the current well water sources. Carsie Denning expressed that citizens were lucky to only have to “maintain” the system while Mack Reid Hudson stepped away from his seat on the Harnett County Board of Commissioners to speak about the “great natural asset” of the Cape Fear River and was in favor of passing the plan.

Do you recall reading in earlier columns that farm animals lived in the yards of the Coats residents who had outdoor toilets and wells side by side. The streets were unpaved and ditches contained all kinds of garbage and wastewater. The town commissioners had threatened them with fines if conditions were not corrected in their yards.

It is quite sad that many of those early residents would not live see a modern water or fire-rescue district. Then again some of those same citizens many times voted no to a modern water system despite the relentless effort of Mayor J.B. Williams to get clean water for more of his town’s residents.

Surely the James Robert Hedgepeth family, who lived in a lovely home on Route One, Coats, had heard about the hearing but were distracted due to the death of the popular 62-year-old husband of Ellen Dupree Hedgepeth and father to Danny, Randy and Angel Hedgepeth. He was the son of Annie Lou Hayes and the late Tommy Hedgepeth.

Good parenting by James and Ellen resulted in Danny being a chemist, Randy, a pediatrician, and Angel, a pharmacist.

Another Route One, Coats resident had died. Martha M. Spears, 58, was mother to Gerelene Blue and Thelma Blue. Her son was Ronnie Smith and brothers were Thomas, Earl and Lawrence Cameron. Her sisters were Lucille C. McNeill, Elizabeth Harris, Minnie L. Parks, Loraine C. Freeman, Ethel Williams and Katie Heath. She had eight grandchildren who survived her.

Was Martha a relative of the Mrs. Cameron who taught school at Coats and were Dion and Doug Blue her kin? This I do know. The THM Mfg. in Coats was hiring sewing machine operators and trainees at a base pay of $4.50 per hour (The Daily Record, March 13, 1989).

Social info was being posted by Belle Williams in her “Notes From Coats” to The Daily Record where she shared that Wanda and Baxton Pollard always enjoyed vacationing in Southport and had even more reason to with this writing because their daughter, Betsy Pollard, was living and working there.

Agatha McLamb had returned from the hospital. Due to the ice storm, the Senior Citizens trip to the planetarium was canceled. Speaking of trips, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Langdon were home after their visit to see Elma’s sister in Florida. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wheeler were at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when the snow came. They said it was beautiful there, too. Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Lockamy and Mr. and Mrs. Wil Breeden had spent a week in Hot Springs, Arkansas (The Daily Record, March 5, 1989).

Neither ice nor cold had kept death from coming to harvest Grove residents. Mae Johnson Sorrell, 92, had died. She was the widow of John L. Sorrell Sr. and was survived by sons, John Jr. and Dr. Richard Sorrell, and four daughters, Mrs. John Wiloughby Sr., Mrs. Marion Bone, Mrs. Donald Jackson and Mrs. Gordon Townsend.

Robyn Renee Hollis of Route One, Benson, had married Randy Elwood Pulley of Selma. The bride was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Hollis. The ceremony was performed at Coats Baptist Church and Keith Hall officiated. Brenda Carol Roper, daughter of Carol Stone Elliott, was also married in March, 1989. She had married Stephen Marshall Tew (The Daily Record, March 20, 1989).

Were these girls Coats High graduates or did they go to Triton High School? I do know that Belle Williams wrote in “Notes” that Mrs. Laylon Turlington had celebrated her 97th birthday in style. Mrs. Turlington and all her children met her daughter, Bobbi Adams, and her husband, Fred Adams, at McGregor Downs in Raleigh for the celebration.

Mrs. Turlington was a big Wolfpack basketball fan, so Bobbi asked Jim Valvano to make an appearance to surprise her. Coach Valvano had a news conference, but postponed it to visit with Mrs. Turlington. He also promised to give her special honors on her 100th birthday.

Betty Gregory opened her lovely country home to host a wedding shower for Cinda Massengill, a hostess at Lane’s Steak and Seafood. Cinda was to marry Ronnie Pleasant.

Robbie Clayton had celebrated his big sixth birthday with his friends who enjoyed the magic tricks of “Clay Adams — The Magician” from Dunn. Question: Does Clay continue to do his magic tricks? I do know that Mr. and Mrs. Claude Abate were celebrating the birth of Carmen Alexandra Abate with big brother, Bradley Jordan Abate.

Column after column I have shared the names of those whose death announcements were in The Daily Record. Each week we clip the announcements of those with Coats connections and file the write-ups in our alphabetical obituary notebooks.

Some years ago, death announcements were a bit different in that they shared about the pallbearers, flower tributes and other interesting tidbits such as friends’ comments. With our social media today, we often know all about the death before even reading about it in the paper.

Many times we follow the decline of someone we love dearly as they go from our reality into a world unknown to those who are tasked with the job of caring for them. Love is truly tested during those final years.

Recently, we lost two very dear ladies in our community. One was in my church and we saw her decline until she was unable to attend church anymore and needed the constant attention of her husband, John, and loved ones.

The second lady was Mary Stewart, wife of Eugene Stewart. What a life they had together and what an impact Eugene had on aviation near and far as he taught flying lessons to those who wanted to be licensed pilots. Age also took the spark that we witnessed in Mary when she visited the museum and shared items of interest.

A thank you goes Randy and Rhonda Stephenson for remembering Kathi Ennis and to Ralph and Lorena Denning for also remembering Kathi Ennis and Mary Stewart with museum memorials showing that they also cared.


No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment