Woman’s Club And Garden Club Hold Annual Joint MeetingOct 22nd, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Sometimes people gather to celebrate, other times they gather to mourn. And sometimes, they gather to do both. The Madison Garden Club and Madison Woman’s Club held their annual joint meeting to celebrate the lives of six members who had passed away during the previous year, many of them members of both clubs. In 1983, Willie Clare Copeland began the tradition of planting oak trees in honor of deceased club members, a tradition that continues today, 165 trees later. In 2005, a tree in honor of Copeland was planted on the west side of the gazebo in Four Freedoms Park. At this year’s joint meeting, the Garden Club and Woman’s Club was honoring six ladies with tree dedications. Family members who were guests at the meeting spoke briefly about their loved one, or if no family was present, Princess Akerman or another close friend did the honors. Rachel Reichmann Rachel Reichmann served a term as president of the Garden Club, and was president of the Woman’s Club no less than three times during her years of membership there. She was also very active in her church and in the community. Daughters Raye Wooley and Nell Ring remembered her as a loving mother, “the best of the best” as Ring put it. “She loved her community, she loved the (family-owned) drug store, and she loved Madison,” said Wooley. “We were lucky to have her at home for her last days.” “Miss Rachel,” as she was known, passed away shortly after her 101st birthday, in the same house, in the same room where she was born. “She always said ‘I’m going to go to glory in that house,’ and she did,” Wooley told the audience, adding that her mother had always tried to live by the scripture, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) Lauretta Bottomley Describing herself as a “transplanted Yankee lady,” Lauretta Bottomley was an instructor at North Florida Junior College, and she was passionate about teaching reading. Before she worked at the college, she taught at the Madison Middle School. In describing Bottomley’s love of teaching, Princess Akerman showed the audience an example of a children’s book Bottomley had handwritten, complete with illustrations, which she used to read to her students. She was also an active member of the First United Methodist Church, especially its mission program. She was often known to house visiting missionaries in her home. Marjorie Woodard Akerman remembers Marjorie Woodard as one of her neighbors, who used to live on the same street. She was a member of the First Baptist Church, a church secretary and an association secretary for many years as well as being a member of the choir. A lifelong resident of Madison County, she was born in the Lee area, and later joined the local genealogical society. She believed in the importance of family and enjoyed tracing family roots and helping people learn their family history. Ruby Ulm Frances Mercer spoke of her memories of Ruby Ulm, an educator and a mentor for Take Stock In Children. She was a part of Hickory Grove United Methodist Church, and that church was her love and her life for many years. “Ruby loved to talk and she loved people,” said Mercer. Like Mercer, she was also a part of the Pink Ladies organization at the hospital. “She made a great Italian cream cake. I’ve known Ruby most of my life. We traveled together after her retirement…she was a great friend, she loved people. And she did wear many hats.” Jean Brandies Betty Williams recalls the outspoken Jean Brandies saying that if you weren’t born in Madison, you’d never belong. Being a transplant from Tallahassee, she may have believed that once, but as time went by, Jean came to belong to Madison more and more, being chosen Citizen of the Year, taking part in her church, in Take Stock in Children and being in charge of the Toys for Tots program for at least 20 years, if not longer. Over time, it was Jean who came to shoulder much of the responsibility for the rental of the Woman’s Club, taking care of showings, clean-ups and lock-ups afterward. Many times, Jean could be seen up at the clubhouse late into the evening, locking up after an event was over or taking care of some other little logistical detail. During the Christmas season her help was invaluable. “I have a lot of memories of Jean,” said Williams. “Happy memories. Funny memories.” Family member Maggie Davis added that if Brandies knew of someone who had a need, even if she didn’t know the people personally, she would be there to help, because, as Brandies would teach her, “this is was what growing up in a small town
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