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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Tribute to Two Women of Strength

This day has brought a pall of sadness to our home.  Two dear women that had been influential to us had passed away overnight.  The younger of the two women was Mason Strong.  The second woman was Milligene Womack.  Both women and their families came into my life through the Allen Methodist Church.

Mason and Dan Strong were sponsors for the MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship) about my senior year in high school.  Dan was a builder and Allen was just beginning to grow. Mason was a beautiful, confident young woman.  A few years later after Gene and I married I went to work part time "tending the store" for Dan and Mason.  The store was a carpet and floor covering store.  Under Mason's management it grew and moved to a larger location in "downtown" Allen.  In the larger store the business expanded to wall covering and window treatments.

Mason taught me about record keeping for the business.  She and Dan allowed me to help decorate his speculation houses.  I even helped a few of the carpet store clients in choosing decor for their homes.  Her two older daughters, Tammy and Sally were still young and Libby was hardly even a toddler.  Gene and I were included in dinners with their circle of friends.  I had to quit working for them when we started the adoption process.  Mason went on to work for the county.  She was a strong and resilient woman of faith.  And she had just enough fire in her to let you know she was definitely a Texas gal.

My relationship with Millie Womack was a result of her husband's career change.  Ramon had felt the call to become a minister.  The Allen Methodist Church was a circuit church with a couple of other small congregations.  Seminary students would be assigned to that circuit during the course of their seminary years.  The church went "full time" while Ramon was there.  Millie was a banking person.  Even in the 1960's and early 1970's this capable woman could only be a teller type employee.  Millie was not the typical "preacher's wife".  She did not feel compelled to be at every function, be the president of UMW nor believe everything Paul taught about women's place in the world.

Millie and my mom, another independent woman, decided to take knitting classes together at the Sears store in Valley View Shopping Center.  Okay, that may not seem very "women's lib" of two women in the early 1970's.  The classes were held in the evenings about 20 miles from Allen.  Two women, one in her mid 50's and the other in her early 40's that had put in full days at work would take off back into Dallas for classes alone in the dark.  And they were determined to learn new skills at that age!

One night during the trip to the classes Millie became somewhat agitated and quite.  She finally fessed up that she and Ramon had "words" that morning.  She had not spoken to him all day or evening.  She just remembered that she had forgotten to unplug the coffee peculator   If she did not call Ramon and tell him to unplug it, the thing would burn up.  Cell phones and texting were not even options in that time frame.  And it was a long distance charge to make the call even more of a pain.  Much to her dismay, Millie found a pay phone, called Ramon.  She still said only what was necessary to keep the house from burning down.

Millie, in profile, & Ramon at Mom's 90th, 2008.  Millie was talking to him by now! 
Gene and I moved to Missouri in the fall of 1975.  Through Mom and more recently Facebook we have kept track of these two wonderful ladies and their families.  The last time we saw Millie was about 4 years ago at my mom's 90th birthday party.  This past fall the "Strong Sisters" gathered their families along with Mason and Dan for a photo shoot.  Tammy posted the pictures for all to enjoy.

Thanks be to God for putting these two women in our life path.  They will continue to be a part of the fabric of our lives.  And may the Spirit surround the families of these two women of faith with comfort and love.  Amen

2012 Strong Sisters plus Mason & Dan photo shoot.
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