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A long way from Raven's Branch, a good life well-lived by Messers

PHOTO SUBMITTED

A recent family photo of the Messers is helpful to know the family Iíve been
talking about in early August. From left are Pam and Jimmy Messer; Tate
and Jarod; Toye and Buford Messer; Randy and Margaret Messer, who are
the parents of Tate and Jarod. Jimmy and Pam live not far from Tunney
Moore and daughter, Mitzi; Randy and Margaret live off Highway 321 across
from the Billy Hugh Sparks farm.
Published: 7:08 PM, 08/09/2013 Last updated: 8:21 PM, 08/09/2013
 

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Jimmy McNabb got the yellow school buses running on time and smoothly, as thousands of students went back to classes for the first full week last week in our hometown, and the next event that is welcome by so many is our county fair opening Sunday. Be sure to follow the Plain Talk coverage every edition this week

You will be glad to know that Dog Days end today, August 11, and I thought it was supposed to be a time of extreme heat and humidity instead of 60-degree mornings and mild afternoons. We have been talking with Buford and Toye Messer because he retired from Solar-10 in late July after about 29 years. Add his years at Wall Tube and he is over a half-century of work. Solar-10 Vice President Tim Abramson praised Buford Messer's service at the plant located off Highway 411. Buford did many tasks and later took on management responsibilities.  As Tim said, "This was done in an unassuming way making sure everyone knew the correct labels, packaging requirements and special procedures. Buford will be sorely missed by all and we wish him well on his future travels. We will be expecting Buford's attendance always, at our annul Christmas luncheon."

 

Growing up in Raven's Branch

 

You may know some of the Messer family members. His daughter-in-law Pam (Click) Messer is principal of Centerview School. She is married to Jimmy Messer, who works in the giant warehouse for Walmart in Greene County. Oldest son Randy Messer is married to Margaret (Strange) Messer, a teacher at Parrottsville, and he works for Ball Corporation at Chestnut Hill. Randy and Margaret have two sons: Jarod, a student at ETSU, and Tate, who attends CCHS as a junior. Buford's wife, Toye, is already retired and worked 32 years at the cafeteria of Edgemont School until 2009. Principals during those decades were Dale Campbell, Ronnie Fezell, and Connie Ball.

I found out that, as a young man, Buford joined the Army and was stationed in Germany. He is the son of Robert and Esther (Rollins) Messer, one of seven children. But Buford is the only surviving child. Wanting to know more about the couple I drove over to Wallace Street off Hwy. 411 so that means Buford only had a half-mile to go to the plant. They've lived at 1731 Wallace Street since 1975 and more than 50 years in that neighborhood. Bob Large sold them his house and later they moved across the street into the Herb Turner home. That's when mortgage payments were $60 a month and you could buy a home for a few thousand dollars. Buford was born in Spring Creek, North Carolina, and then the family moved to Raven's Branch where Robert farmed and also worked at the sawmill and helped build the Enka plant at Lowland. By 1956, Buford joined Wall Tube & Metal where Herb Sane was his boss and some others you know included Gray Sparks and company president John Alt. By Nov. 1960 he married the former Toye Cagle, also of Raven's Branch and good friend to Beverly Leatherwood and Iva Lee Rathbone. Toye's parents were Ottie and May Cagle.

Buford was drafted into the Army that same month so Toye stayed at home with her parents. Buford also had many friends in the small community including Roscoe Rollins, Charles Rollins, Chuck Leatherwood, and Leonard Green just to name a few.

 

Joins Army in 1960

 

The Army sent Buford to Frankfurt, German, where he patrolled along the new Berlin Wall separating West and East Germany, occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union. Buford said at that time the "wall" was merely a wide plowed strip of land that extended for miles. It was an intense time to be in the military during the height of the cold war. Without incident, he returned to the US and home and back to Wall Tube but it closed in 1984, and many of you recall this so he visited Tim at Solar 10 and was hired. Some long-time co-workers there have been Willie Ivey, Danny and Earl Johnson, L.V. Talton, and Kenny Hurst, most still working at Solar 10. It shows that American-made products still compete in the world market.

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