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Perhaps the best writing to ever grace the thousands and thousands of pages from Hometown Headlines that have clogged the Internet these past 16 years is on our website today.
It is a story we wished we never had to read. It is the obituary for Dr. Ouida Word Dickey, a legend at Berry College and in Rome, and also a friend.
From her devotion to Berry College to her community interests and especially her support of the Kiwanis Club, we quickly learned that an email or phone call from Dr. Dickey commanded immediate respect and reply. That was not because she was a former dean; it was because of her passion for any project that carried her name. It was always a quality conversation.
Things as simple as the Kiwanis Club’s next meeting date and time were important to her and she wanted to share it – and to do so properly. And that was perhaps a tiny thing compared to all her storied adventures.
Which brings us back to her obituary, or as we’re calling it, her life story. We don’t know the author – we suspect Dr. Dickey and her daughters, Angela and Jennifer, worked on it together. The author doesn’t matter; the story it tells is just amazing.
Her childhood, her many siblings, the loss of both parents at an early age, of her boarding a train from mid Florida to Rome, Ga., to attend Berry at age 18 on her own, having never traveled before. That’s courage and determination. That’s Dr. Dickey.
And then her education, her marriage, her family and her devotion to Berry College. Her obituary tells those stories, including her interests off campus as well.
Count us among those who read of all her accomplishments and suddenly inventoried our own – and kind of quickly moved on, knowing we could never come close to matching all that she’s done.
But please do your own research on this. Don’t just read the obituary – talk to her former students and colleagues and friends. Their devotion to Dr. Dickey is inspiring.
And perhaps the reason for that devotion is they already knew her story or much of it. Many of them are part of the story, either as students or fellow educators or authors or garden club members or neighbors in Summerville Park.
We’d almost say her’s was a life well lived but we fear a familiar red pen would politely compose a note saying something about avoiding the use of cliches when our own words would work much better. That’s Dr. Dickey.
From milking cows before school each morning to securing Berry College’s first computer, how do you write a better story about such a vital person?
And yet that’s the bad thing about obituaries. We learn so much more from them after our friends are gone.
So one last time, we refer you to the life story of Dr. Dickey. Toward the end of it, as it lists so many relatives, friends and other loved ones, there’s a sentence that provides a perfect ending to a wonderful life.
It reads: “Many of them attended Berry and will ensure that her light there never goes out.”
Be assured that light burns brighter than ever today.