As published in the White River Current - Thursday May 7, 2015
Congratulations are in order for the Batesville Daily Guard for winning the General Excellence Award in the Arkansas Associated Press Managing Editors Association’s 2014 contest. Winners were announced Saturday, April 25, at the Arkansas APME annual meeting. The Guard took home 27 awards including 11 First Places overall, competing in Division 1 dailies. Congratulations also to Calico Rock High School graduate, Angelia Sanders Roberts, who was awarded First Place in two categories, Editorial Writing and News Feature. She is the Executive Director of Ad/Ed for the Guard and a very talented writer. I am going out on a limb here and predicting that Angelia will win First Place in the Human Interest category for her article, “Pulling Together,” when the 2015 awards are announced next year. This well-written article first appeared in the February 12th edition of the Guard and spotlighted a well-known Calico Rock couple, Gene and Reva Lockie. The Lockies moved to Calico Rock from Charles City, Iowa, in the 1980’s and quickly became actively involved in the community. Gene had first visited our city a few years earlier when he made the trip from Iowa to see his parents who had a home here. On the next visit, he brought Reva along. They, of course, fell in love with the area and began making plans to make this their home when Gene retired. Both had been active in civic and church activities in Iowa, so the transition to local interests was quick and smooth. Unfortunately, Reva began developing a debilitating form of Alzheimer’s about 10 years ago and was a resident of the local nursing home for over seven years. The article that Angelia wrote describes the devotion and loyalty that Gene has exhibited these last few years. The vows say, “for better, or worse” and Gene never wavered. Reva passed away April 20th. The funeral was a few days later at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Calico Rock and she was laid to rest in the family plot at Riverside Cemetery in Charles City, Iowa. At the funeral service, the pastor inquired if there were any friends who would like to say a few words. I thought about it, but declined; afraid I might get emotional or speak too long (you know, ramble). Here’s what I might have said: “I first met Reva at a chili supper, a fund-raiser for the local fire department. She and Gene had closed the deal on the purchase of the bluff property and were moving to Calico Rock in a year. Sure enough, about a year later Jim C. called to inform Anita and I that Gene and Reva were here and were asking about us. We rushed down to welcome them and very quickly became close friends. Reva had a very infectious laugh (her daughters inherited this trait from their mother) and you could not be around her and not be happy. Together, our two couples spent a lot of time together, travelling to such faraway vistas as Hawaii and our Nation’s Capitol. We represented our small city at numerous tourism and festival conferences. At one unforgettable Governor’s conference on Tourism, we had a confrontation with the top official of our state who later became our country’s 42nd president, but that’s another story. Even though Gene and Reva were from “off,” they never failed to sing the praises of our small community and the beautiful Ozarks area whenever the opportunity became available. Speaking of singing, both Gene and Reva lent their bass and alto voices to their church choir (Reva’s father was a choir member at his church in Illinois until he died at age 103). I will always remember the good meals and fellowship that we shared together. On one occasion, Reva prepared a dish that was new to Anita and I at the time, known as shepherd’s pie. Funny why I remember this event.” Anita and I will soon be celebrating our 62nd anniversary. Gene and Reva were married for almost 68 years, sharing vows at the Little Brown Church in the Vale as Angelia’s article so eloquently portrayed. Some might say that they met by accident. Others might say that things don’t always just “happen,” but that they happen for a reason. You would have to be a “believer” to have this opinion. I’m a believer.