Jean L. Carpenter February 29, 1932 – May 3, 2023
So this morning, after a six-year battle with Alzheimer’s disease, my momma went home at the age of 91. She was tired. She was ready. And I am truly happy that one of the strongest Christian women I ever knew has her reward. All of the pain she felt is gone. All of the memories she had are back with her. And she is finally reunited with her parents, who were a fixation for her the last few years. Mom was born in Martinsburg, WV, as a leap year baby, to Dr. William H. Cole and Lucille Clark. She grew up in Huntington, WV, and was a graduate of Huntington High School and attended Marshall University. She met my dad somewhere along the way (the things you really never think to ask) and they settled in Logan, WV, where she began a long association with WL Robinson Insurance Agency (while Dad worked across the street at McCormick’s). After Charlie passed away in 1984 and I went off to college the next year, she took a job at the WV State Insurance Commissioner’s Office in Charleston, WV, where she worked until she retired in 1995. Shortly after she retired, we (me, Lisa, and mom) put our heads together and thought of the money we could save if she just moved in with us – especially since there was no other family in the area – so she came to Bluefield to live with us. She lived with us there, and then in West Liberty, and then in Bethany, for about 27 years. In the early years, she helped us. In the latter years, we helped her. She was preceded in death by both parents (I mean, c’mon, she was 91) and three brothers – Carl Cole, Donald Cole, and Leonard Cole. Lisa and I are her only survivors. A life-long Christian, there are people who may remember her at the Church of God in Logan and the Logan Church of the Nazarene.
e. When in Charleston, she followed a favorite pastor of ours to First Baptist Church in St. Albans. With us, she attended Parkview Baptist Church in Bluefield, VA, and West Liberty Christian Church most recently. The memories I will always carry with me? Her love and compassion for animals (and my now deeply-instilled need to try to pet things I should never pet and try to save every injured critter that crosses my path). Her artistic and musical abilities – she loved choir, she could play the violin, and she could draw. Predating computer graphics, I can remember her doing posters for all sorts of things around Logan that people would ask her to do. Underneath that sweet personality was a sense of humor that could best be described as ornery – and she had almost a second career playing practical jokes and making my dad’s life more interesting – another trait that must have been genetic. And never has a mother been such a fierce protector of her son – whether he needed it or not. In keeping with our tradition of doing things a bit unusual, there will be no service. An INTENSELY private person, if she knew that I laid her out for everybody to come stare at, she’d kill me. Mom is going to be cremated. Then, we’re going to load her and a vault (which will also contain a number of her dogs and cats that have lived with us over the years) in the truck and head to Ceredo (near Huntington) where we can put her with the rest of her family (Crescent Hill Cemetery). Tonight, I miss my mom. I’m overjoyed that her struggle is over (Alzheimer’s is such a hideous thing). Yesterday morning, I stood at her bedside and had a pretty frank conversation with God. I told Him – for mom’s sake – to end this. I wanted this misery to be over for her. Exactly 24 hours later, He answered my prayer. It’s funny that, most of my adult life, one of my biggest fears was losing her. And in the end, I was asking God to take her. I love you mom. I hope I made you proud and will continue to do so. Save me a seat. I’ll see you again.