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January 15, 1999

The other Sunday after church, I had an opportunity to meet the new pastor of the Perry Methodist flock, the Rev. Ginny Hathaway, and her husband, the Rev. Bill Hathaway. Until recently they were co-pastors of the First Methodist church of Pryor, but Bill retired in December and the bishop gave Mrs. Hathaway this assignment. The Hathaways are settling nicely into the church parsonage on Rose Terrace and are being warmly received here. We look forward to becoming better acquainted with them in the months ahead. The Methodist congregation and the community are, still grieving over the untimely death of former pastor Corky Cranfill but we're pleased that Mrs. Cranfill and their son, Kyle, have chosen to continue making Perry their home.

Perry folks are sorry to lose Dr. John Loose and his wife, Stella, from our town. In the few short months they have been here, they have made a most positive impact on the community and accumulated many friends along the way. They are workers, and we wish them well in Ada where builders like John and Stella will fit right in. Between them, they managed to revive the American Legion post and auxiliary in Perry and stirred up new interest in the Boys and Girls State programs. Dr. Loose began earning his professional credentials right here and both John and Stella were involved in civic affairs. In other words, they have proven to be excellent citizens, the kind that is hard to replace. Thanks, John and Stella, for your brief but productive stay in Perry, and good luck in the future!

An obituary in this paper the other day reported the demise of Carl Laird Jr., who was perhaps one of the last members of a family that once played a major role in the development of Perry and Noble county. Carl, 79, died unexpectedly last week at his home in Cushing but he was buried in the family plot in Perry's Grace Hill cemetery. His grandfather, S.E. Laird, was the first county agent assigned to this county back in the early days of statehood, but he is perhaps best remembered as the developer of Lake Laird, a popular local resort before the Perry Country Club built its golf course nearby.

I remember that S.E. Laird and his wife had two sons, Carl Sr. and Paul, and four daughters -- Leola Donley, Kathryn McQuiston, Marjorie Bowles and Helen Boone. All were attractive and talented people, church workers, successful professionals, gifted in many ways. Mrs. McQuiston was the Presbyterian church organist for years, Mrs. Boone played the piano "by ear" (she did not read music but could play any tune you named), Mrs. Donley was a serious artist, and Mrs. Bowles reared a sizable family before enrolling as a freshman at Oklahoma State University to earn a degree which enabled her to start a career at a time in life when most people are planning retirement.

Carl Laird Sr. was a pharmacist at my Dad's City Drug Store when I was growing up. Later he and brother Paul opened their own store on the east side of the square, and still later Carl became a pharmacist at the Brownie Drug on the west side of the square, where Starling Miller now has his auction headquarters. Paul Laird's son, Paul Craig Laird, was my classmate at Perry high school. He decided early in life that he wanted to become a physician, and that is just what he did. While nurturing a successful practice in the Irving, Texas, area, now famous as the location of the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, he served the community and its hospital in many ways before his death a few years ago. Helen Boone's daughters, Betty Taber and Rose Ann Jackson, live in Perry.

Carl Jr. was a long-time employee of the Halliburton Co. before his retirement, and he was service manager for the local Chevrolet dealership before that. Our condolences to his wife, Dorothy, and the entire family. We could use several men and women like the Lairds today.