The Southern Standard’s feature segment called “Publisher’s Pics” is stirring wistful memories of days gone by.
“It really took me back when I opened the paper and saw a picture of my mother,” said Dr. Robert “Bobby” Barksdale, of Willie Crain Barksdale. “She was presenting Ricky Bryant with the Barksdale Award back in August 1974. I have that original picture, but I haven’t thought about it in years.”
The memorial award was given annually to the baseball player considered most valuable in the league.
“My father, Robert L. Barksdale, coached the Warren County High School baseball team,” he said. “I remember they went to a state championship.”
Mr. Barksdale passed away June 3, 1958 at the age of 63. Mrs. Barksdale followed on March 12, 1986 at the age of 87. Both are buried in Riverside Cemetery.
Bobby said his father was from Florida and his mother was from McMinnville, so the couple visited her hometown regularly and eventually retired here.
“My father was very passionate about baseball,” he said. “My mother was passionate about the piano. She was very talented. She gave lessons out of our home. There was a feature story about her in the paper.”
That feature was written by Merry Lynn Short and was published in the Aug. 23, 1972 edition.
“My parents would have never let me quit mylessons,” said Willie, “and I would have never wanted to. From the very first I loved my music more than anything else, and it even came in handy. Whenever there was work to be done around the house I could always get out of it by saying I had to practice.”
After high school, Willie went on to study at the Winkler Conservatory in Nashville. After graduation she married Robert and moved to Jacksonville, Fla.
The couple had their son and music then took a backseat.
“I was an only child,” Dr. Barksdale said. “I was born in Leesburg, Florida. We used to visit McMinnville. When I retired, this is where I wanted to be. This felt like home, because I had spent so much time here.”
Standard publisher Pat Zechman, who has been in the newspaper business for over 50 years, offers Publisher’s Pics. For the feature, she looks into the newspaper’s archives and selects pictures to spotlight.
“The goal of the Southern Standard is to be a key source that people can rely on for local news,” said Zechman. “In offering that service to the public, we have been keeping Warren County’s history in our archives. I really enjoy looking back into our collection of newspapers and providing a weekly glimpse into the past.
Publisher’s Pics is my way to honor the past and give back to the community. The feature has received a wonderful response from the public, and I’m pleased Dr. Barksdale, and others, have enjoyed it.”
Publisher’s Pics is featured in Friday’s editions.