(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL Jerry Hall relaxes at the Cocke County Courthouse where I bumped into him in early March. He was a master mason and forced into retirement because of his health, especially spinal problems.
Friday, March 29, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-03-29 18:28:18)
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

March may have roared in like a lion but didn't depart quietly from our hometown where an early spring snow surprised citizens preparing for Easter weekend and perhaps we will see lambs frolicking in green grass in April.

During the mini-winter last week, I stopped at Town & Country Drug Store to continue staying well. There was a tall fellow at the counter who turned and greeted me but didn't look familiar. He reads my column and introduced himself as Ronnie Forrester. The name is unfamiliar to me and he explained he comes from Hot Springs. For more than 30 years of his life he worked for Xerox in copier sales out of his office in Hickory, North Carolina, where his territory was a 12-county area. After retiring he moved to Newport and that speaks well of our hometown.


Hunter may face the Tide


At our Kiwanis club meeting last week we got a chance to hear from Dean Shults who was a senior to whom I taught English during the 1972-73 school year. He went on to have a marvelous career with the power companies that operate Walters Dam and hydroelectric plant. You will be reading more about him and what if the dam breaks scenario. Another professional you know is L.C. Gregg, who is a fellow Kiwanian and coming to a milestone in his life so we will chat with him in early April about that and his plans for the future.

Let me share a bit of news that City Parks & Recreation Director Tim Dockery told us, and the Plain Talk will follow up this fall during football season. Tim and Margie Dockery's son, Hunter, has a strong chance of starting against Alabama during UT Chattanooga's last game of the season in November. Ardent football fans can appreciate their excitement. It doesn't seem like that many years ago when the parents had to deal with the horrible news that Hunter, age 9, was an insulin dependent diabetic. Through lots of family and doctor support and his own determined efforts, at age 21, he is 6'5" and 285 pounds, playing at right tackle offense. In his fifth year at UTC, Hunter is on track to be a civil engineer and has had an exciting football experience with a chance at a bowl game. All of the Dockery friends and boosters will be watching. Playing in Division 1 AA, Hunter hit the spring practice field with a slam after a strong 2012 season on the field in the last eight games. You can find Margie working for Eric Varner at State Farm Insurance.

I came across another bit of news that we hope to report on in more depth soon. At Walmart I chatted with Jerry Cody after hearing a sad report the Cosby Ruritan Club might disband. Jerry, one of the last old timers from the 1960s, said, alas it is true as membership has declined. The club is mulling over possible sale of its assets to give to other charitable organizations for good use within the county. Does this mean the end forever of the ramp festival?



Do you know Rolen family?


I got to learn a little more about Angie whose mother, Lois Rolen owned the half-dozen gold and diamond rings found at The Closet and on her death Lois left these to Angie. Lois is of the Sevierville McFalls family. You may have known her husband, Bill Rolen, a hard-working block and brick mason who died in 2005. He is related to the local Rolen family and has sisters living in Newport. I asked if he were kin to Otha Rolen, retired from Newport Utilities, but Angie was not sure. Lois worked at Arnold Engineering in Sevier and also Food City for many years. She died in 2009.

Angie and her brother, the late Joe Rolen, grew up in Sevier County. He also was a mason and learned the building trade skills from his father. But tragically, Joe was just 36 years old when killed on Highway 411 about 2005 in a vehicle accident. This happened just three weeks after the father died. "It was a very difficult time," said Angie, who in a few years was to lose the remainder of her close family. She now lives in Newport, having moved here early this year, and is here because of her lifelong friendship with Rhonda Evans. The two girls went through schools together and graduated from Sevier County High School about 25 years ago. Angie is able to stay close to Rhonda because Angie helps out at the Jewelry Connection store. Many of you may know Lois's brother, James McFalls, who preached at the Edgemont Church of God through the 1990s and into 2000. He is retired and living in Knoxville.

Angie explained that when she was preparing to move to Newport her mother's small porcelain jewelry box was packed among other items and many of these were taken to The Closet for consignment sale. So she was more than elated to get the phone call from the girls who found and were returning her rings. "I posted this on Facebook,' said Angie. 

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