Thursday, July 09, 2009

She Finally Caught Up With Him

“She finally caught up with him,” was the caption one of her granddaughters put on this photo.

Lucy Bryan Philpott was buried this week at Andersonville National Cemetery after a courageous battle with Lymphoma. Her funeral service was held at the First Baptist Church in Reynolds, GA.

And that is exactly where it should have been held.

Lucy was the last of the children of Dr. S.H. and Louise Bryan. For many years, Dr. Bryan was the town doctor and was also a prominent farmer. He raised his four children in what was affectionately known in Reynolds as “Big House” that sits directly across the street from the Baptist church.

I couldn’t help but notice some folks who grew up in Reynolds and moved on to other places made the effort to come back home Wednesday morning to pay their respects to this magnificent lady and her family.

And maybe even to pay respects to a remarkable community that helped shape their lives.

You would have to be from a small town to understand how deep the roots of friendships grow for people who have friends whose parents were friends, whose grandparents were friends and even whose great grandparents were friends.

It becomes difficult to separate friends from family.

Lucy left Reynolds after high school to get an education. She fell in love with an Oklahoma boy who had just graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point. They married, had a family and traveled all over the world with the United States Air Force.

By the way, her husband had a rather illustrious military career. He eventually became Director of Intelligence of the U.S. Strategic Air Command and later became Vice Commander in Chief of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and a 3 Star General.

Of course they would visit her family in Reynolds every chance they got.

Sometimes their kids would spend their summers in Reynolds at “big house.” In fact many of the other Bryan grandchildren who lived in other parts of the country would also spend their summers in Reynolds. As you might imagine, the “big house” was a very active house and kind of like the Grand Central Station of Reynolds.

And the Bryan grandchildren who lived in other places became friends with all the kids in Reynolds. And lifelong generational relationships were established.

General and Mrs. Philpott, known in Reynolds as Jammie and Lucy, retired in the 70’s and built a home on the outskirts of town. General Philpott died in 1999 and was honored at Andersonville National Cemetery in the incredible way a decorated retired General should be honored.

When Lucy found out she had cancer a few years ago, she decided to sell her house and move to Virginia to be closer to her children.

She said she didn’t want to be a burden.

The retired General and his wife loved to exercise after they retired. It was a normal occurrence to see them walking through town or on the outside of town or on the golf course. Jamie always had a stick in his hand. Lucy was always about 8 paces behind him.

She had also followed him all over the world as he served our country.

But she has caught up with him now.

And when she did, an incredible era in the history of Reynolds GA ended.


sherry said...

One of the most incredible women I ever knew. It was an extremely sad day when I found out she was moving. She has been such an inspiration and source of joy and encouragement as long as I have know her. She was a blessing to all who knew her. I have missed her terribly and will always remember her and wish that I could be half the christian woman she was. She can see HIM face to face now and she has lived a life that will be rewarded greatly! Thank you Lucy for the life you lived! And give Lane a hug for me.

Anonymous said...

Lucy and my mama (Snookie as Lucy called her) were great friends from childhood. Lucy told me the story about both of them sending their "beaus" off to war. Hers (Jammie) came back and Mama's didn't. Later on Mama met and married my sweet daddy and the rest is "history" as they say. I
have missed seeing and visiting with her on my trips from SSI to Reynolds. I have such fond memories of Lucy and Jammie swimming in the freezing cold pool in Reynolds! Oh how she loved that water!! I'll just bet that Mama, Lucy and "Wootie" are having the best time "catching up" now that they are all reunited.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this beautiful tribute. I am making copies of it for our four children to keep. Jonathan and I are so grateful to you and the people of Reynolds for both the warm welcome we got while we were there, and for the loving send-off they gave Lucy. Your photos and blogs have helped us share an era gone by with the younger generation. It means so much to us, and to our children: Mary Chandler, Sarah, Will, and Katie.

Fondly, Liz Philpott

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this love story.

Richard Preston

Anonymous said...


I just found how to get onto your blog. What an inspiration it is! Thank you so much for writing about my mother's life and funeral. It was such a touching tribute to her. The excerpt on Uncle Buddy was also awesome. I cried real hard when Dixie rolled off that piano at his funeral and I cried again reading about it just now. No one will ever know how much going to Reynolds each summer meant to us. It was an enchanted place where we always knew we were safe and most of all loved by all the wonderful folks in Reynolds. There really isn't anything as special as a small town and the deep friendships one has there...unless its a small town in the heart of Dixie!

Thanks again for the wonderful tribute for my mother.

Susan Heath

P.S. Lucy's granddaughter who wrote the caption for the picture of mother and daddy is named Margaret Challand.