Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Allison Hunter Spiva Honored
Mention the name of “Mrs. Dora” and many in
This is a special “Happy Valentine’s Day” and “Happy Birthday” tribute all rolled into one for a noble teacher who was a major influence in my high school years and throughout my life.
A significant honor and well-deserved
recognition was announced publicly on
The event at
Pastor Dick Stillwell of
Her membership in and work at the church span more than nine decades, for there she has been a teacher. She helped to found Woman’s Missionary Union in 1929, and became a leader of this women’s organization in church, Notla River Association, and Georgia Baptist Woman’s Missionary Union as a divisional vice-president. She served as Superintendent of the Sunday School in a time when women were not usually elected to major leadership positions in a local church.
From Truett McConnell College were president Dr. Jerry W. Pounds, Sr. and his wife, Bayne; Dr. Sam Cash, Vice-President for Advancement Services; Dr. Susan Gannaway, Professor of Education who wrote the proposal for the four-year degree program approved by accrediting agencies; Dr. DeWitt Cox (and his wife Edna), special consultant for the campaign to raise funds for the Spiva School of Education; Ms. Edna Holcomb, now associate with Dr. Cash in the Office of Advancement as Dean of Institutional Support and long-time professor at the college; the Vice-President of Academic Studies; music professor Ms. Kathy Duren; students Rachel Bailey and Michael Bailey who sang; and student Brett Carson who rendered background piano music during the luncheon. Others from the college were present for the luncheon, with food provided by the ARAMark Food Service which also manages the cafeteria on campus.
The Blairsville Garden Club of which Mrs. Dora was a founding member made lovely arrangements not only for the speakers’ table but for each of the round tables where guests enjoyed a delightful meal, good conversation, and the program that honored “Aunt Dora.” Everywhere one looked were smiling faces, savoring the atmosphere and reveling in the association with one whom they loved and honored.
Representative Charles Jenkins of the Georgia Legislature, a student of “Aunt Dora,” Class of 1947, was present to present the Georgia House Resolution in her honor. However, the framed bill did not arrived due to the snow, because Representative Terry Johnson did not hazard mountain roads to be present.
There were light and serious
interspersed as testimonies to Mrs. Dora’s influence came from County
Superintendent, Tommy Stephens. He said
he was never known for his acumen in Mrs. Dora’s math classes as a high
student and it took a stint in the military and Truett McConnell
College (he is
an alumnus) to set him on the right course, as well as remembering Mrs.
sound advice when he “liked sports better than studies” in high school. Mr. Stephens lauded the integrity of Union
County Schools, past and present, due to dedicated teachers. He is excited about the new
From her niece, Dr. Austine Hunter Wallis, an outstanding math educator, counselor, administrator and in “Who’s Who Among America”s Teachers” came funny stories about how the then near-centenarian, her real Aunt Dora and Austine’s Uncle Roscoe Collins could out-do her on trips to California and elsewhere. She said, in tribute, “My Aunt Dora inspired me to become a teacher.”
From Dr. Paul Abernathy, former
came accolades of how Mrs. Dora inspired him to buckle down, study,
education. For twenty-seven years he was
on the science faculty of
Clyde Collins, retired educator
principal, gave a tongue-in-cheek report of how sometimes Mrs. Dora was
first period Algebra class when he was her student, and he, therefore,
“half a class of Algebra II.” But,
before Mrs. Dora retired, he was her principal at
In addition to Dr. Pounds, Dr.
Gannaway, and Dr. Cox of the college, those on the Dora Spiva Campaign
Committee are Ethelene Dyer Jones (Union native now living in
“yours truly”) Honorary Chair; and from Blairsville, Rev. Troy Acree,
Collins, Mrs. Janet Hill, Representative Charles Jenkins, and Rev.
(Dick) Stillwell, and from Cleveland, GA, Rev. Doug Merck.
We have a large challenge before us: Raising
$1.1 million dollars to endow the
newly-formed Dora Hunter Alllison Spiva School of Education at
Jones; published Feb. 16, 2006 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
[Ethelene Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian. She may be reached at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708 Cedarwood Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411.]
Updated September 27, 2009