- [S24] The Newport Plain Talk, (http://www.newportplaintalk.com), 30 Mar 2002.
Rosa Lee Click Rhea obituary
- [S24] The Newport Plain Talk, (http://www.newportplaintalk.com), 25 May 2009.
Just Plain Talk - Death does not diminish the faith of this mother
(c)2009 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
Christine Smith stands in her front lawn off White Oak next to a large angel statue. She holds a Bible that she got in 1984 and takes it faithfully to Greene's Chapel Church near Morristown. The pastor there is Jack Greene.
Author: David Popiel
Hay mowers went to work in earnest when the sun took over this week in our hometown, as workers too advantage of hot days to cut and bale cattle feed for this coming fall.
Mid morning on Wednesda, as the day warmed toward an expected high in the 80s and thunderstorms passed, I got a call from a grieving mother with an unusual request. During our talk I learned of a man we both knew from years past and of her son, who had died in a tragic motorcycle accident. Harold T. Shoemaker was 55 when he died of injuries after a crash with a van on Highway 25E on Wednesday, May 13.
Christine Smith not only has Christ in her name but in her life, more so during sadness but she said God has been a comfort to her over the years to get through many deaths in her immediate family. I knew one of those deceased from years past and we'll talk about him. Her surviving sons, Ronald, known mostly by "Hatrack," and Rickey were at the crash site that late afternoon. Christine said what made the accident more upsetting is that Harold lost his left leg because of the severe impact with the van. She said he was still conscious and calling for help. Her deep concern is to know if he called out to God in his last minutes or if a friend knew of his relationship to Christ. It would comfort her to hear from you.
This is not her first loss, as you might expect for a person who has lived 71 years. We talked briefly at the front door of her neat White Oak Avenue home Wednesday. It's easy to find. Look for the large white angel in the front yard. A tree was cut down years ago to make room for the angel. There is a smaller angel amid yard ornaments.
She loves plants and flowers, of which soon to bloom, as days get longer and warmer, is a cluster of Gabriel's trumpets. A lone yellow lily was blooming the week of Harold's death. My recollection is first meeting him about 2000 and the last time he was eating a meal at People's Choice restaurant during this past winter one cold day. At that time and for some years he had worked at Falcon Products, now CF Group, but had been laid off in recent weeks, she said. He lived alone off Evan Valley Way.
Christine, who is a small woman with a big faith, was a Click by birth. That's when I learned that my late friend, R.D. Click, was her brother. He died about three years ago from cancer. A logger and sawmill operator, my interest in wood and lumber brought us together. He operated a mill on land Dr. Glen C. Shults owned off Hwy. 25E, not far from where Harold died. Just two months before R. D. died, his older brother, Y.J. Click, also died.
Much earlier in time, and she has memorized the date. Her daughter, Beverly Edwards was found dead. That was Jan. 19, 1991. Although Beverly was found in her crashed car off the road, Christine believes it was no accident but that Beverly was murdered. Christine also lost a child three days of age, Gary Lynn, from a rare brain disorder. But through all this and with the loss of Harold, born Feb. 27, she said, "The Lord has given me a glimpse of heaven." Her strong belief is to be reunited with all her family members in heaven so that is why she said, "It would satisfy me, if I could know he (Harold) was calling out to God." He survived the crash, had lost a lot of blood and was flown to UT Medical Center by helicopter. His heart could not stand the strain and he died, she said.
Harold's Dad was Percell Shoemaker, though later Christine had twice remarried. For the past 18 years, she has lived at 411 White Oak and you may contact her at 623-5048. She was overwhelmed by the number of people at the funeral, the gravesite and her home during the last days. Estimates are of about 200 motorcycle riders going to Manes Funeral Home, some never had met Harold but shared their interest in motorcycle riding. The long line of steel horses, many Harley-Davidsons, and riders trailed the Manes hearse to the Open Door Church where the Phillips cemetery is located. Born Everette Harold Shoemaker, there he was buried alongside his father, brother, and sister.
Christine and I met again on Thursday for the photo you see here with the angel statue. She wanted to wear the bright yellow dress, the same one she wore quietly to the funeral, but she could not put it on again so soon. It was one given to her as a special gift from Harold more than 20 years ago and she wore it as a memorial of her love and sure hope of meeting again.
In plain talk, the paths and people through time always seem to meet the same timeless place at the end of the road.