Sunday, April 29, 2007

RSI Goes to Wolfe County, KY

Yesterday, Mrs. RSI and I drove down to Campton, KY in Wolfe County to attend a funeral visitation for Janet Gabriel Turner. Janet grew up in Athens, PA, five miles from RSI's birthplace in Waverly, NY, and was a basketball star at Athens High School and the University of Oklahoma. RSI knew Janet from her five years of coaching women's basketball at Morehead State University where RSI is a professor. A great person who had been living with her husband and daughter around Campton, Janet died from massive internal injuries suffered when a lawn tractor rolled over on her. She was 47 years old.

Wolfe County in Kentucky is a very poor place. RSI grew up in Tioga County and went to college in St. Lawrence County in rural New York and both of those were poor places. Wolfe County is poorer still. A large number of houses had wood stoves, cows were grazing within sight of Main Street, and there seemed to be hardly any stores. In fact, the funeral home looked like the largest and most modern building in town.

It's safe to say that a town's not doing very well if its most prosperous-looking property is a funeral home.

But Campton was also alive with festivity and color. Wolfe County High School held its prom last night and the center of attention was the young women whose brightly colored, form-fitting prom dresses announced them as "women." Guys were there wearing tuxedos but parents were snapping pictures of the young women with the other girls. Like weddings, it was a high time to be female. The convenience store parking lot at the center of prom activity was bursting with happiness, pride, and laughter. In one car, the beaming couple was riding like they were in a parade. It was a great thing.

I was glad to be in Campton, Kentucky to pay my respects to Janet Gabriel.

Hopefully, there will be more later.


Anonymous said...

Small corection: Janet was 47 years old. She played basketball for Penn State.
Allen Shaughnessy

Ric Caric said...

Thanks for the correction on her age. I guessed 48 because Janet went to school with my sister-in-law who will be 48 this year.

But I did check on her school and she's listed on one site as going to Oklahoma.

Ric Caric

Dana Ollier said...

Stan and Janet are dear friends of mine. I was at the service also. We live just outside Cincinnati. We have cryed for 3 days. She will be missed.


vincent said...

Wow. I am blown away. I dated Janet when she worked at Pitt. I was a High School coach and she was a college assistant. I was thinking what ever happened to her? So I googled her and what a shock to find she had passed away.

I will pray for her and her family.


Ric Caric said...

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

It was a hard thing.

Still is.

Anonymous said...

Just came across this article. Janet was my college coach and I didn't know she had passed away. I am deeply saddened! She touched my life in a very special way.

Ric Caric said...

If you played basketball at MSU under Janet, I must have seen you play a lot. I hope you're doing well.