For her outstanding contributions as an English teacher, Idella is recognized on the Donors’ Wall of Fame by Sheri (Hallman) DeWitt of Aiken, SC; Marianne (Mowry) Gardner of Atlanta, GA; and Ken Weaver of Emporia, KS.
These are words paraphrased and quoted from the Eulogy delivered by Rev. Dr. W. Timothy McClendon at the memorial service for Idella Fallaw Bodie on January 4, 2019.
To compose a tribute to “a writer as accomplished as Idella Bodie” is a daunting task. She is larger than life in the minds of so many: her family whom she inspired and loved so much, children in our church whom she taught in Sunday School, her pupils in South Carolina for 30+years, even the people in Aiken County Jail that she tutored so they could pass the GED. Idella Fallaw Bodie was a treasure, a South Carolina Treasure. Her 25 books and numerous articles inspired young and old to appreciate personality and place, and the world of reading. Her gift for encouraging others to find their voice and write their own stories has inspired so many. There have been countless tributes written about her from teachers who watched the way that she taught English and Creative Writing. Others saw another mother in her who inspired them to love both literature and themselves – to place themselves in a story and find a way to cope with their own challenges through another person. Everyone has noted her sweetness, kindness, the caring tone of her voice, her beauty, her quiet strength. There have been a few, too, that remembered that ‘look’ that she could dispense when needed.”
The story of the Epiphany of Baby Jesus no doubt inspired Idella. Her pastor knew “she believed it” and “lived a life of faith from her childhood.”
“She was the epitome of a fine Southern Lady, genteel and strong, nurturing, patient, quiet and yet a Steel Magnolia. Her demeanor commanded respect as well as adoration. She was always organized, and proper.” Her “voice exuded melodious Southern Charm.” For instance, due to her ever positive attitude, Idella said that she never had any bad students in her classrooms in elementary, middle, or high school. If things got the tiniest bit out of hand or loud, Idella actually lowered her voice, instead of raising it, so that her students got quieter and focused on what she was saying.
“Teaching was a calling and a passion for her. She felt born to be a teacher. When she was a little girl she would set up little classrooms and teach her dolls.” Through her writings “she wanted young readers to see history come alive and see their own potential in her characters as she made them come alive.” “Her writing career began with a submission of an article for the Sandlapper Magazine. From there she submitted numerous inspiring stories of faith to Guideposts Magazine.”
She received numerous honors and awards for her teaching and writing. Among them were “the South Carolina Senate Award for Service to the Young Readers of South Carolina, and the Wil Gray Educator Award from [her alma mater] Columbia College. She was also winner of the Guideposts National Writing Competition.”
“Idella Fallaw Bodie was supremely a lady. She did proper right. ‘Lips that touch wine will never touch mine’ was one of her sayings. ‘Pretty is as pretty does’ was another. She was a lady, a Christian lady who loved her family and loved her students, fellow teachers, education, English, Creative Writing, and so much more.”
ORMOND RALPH PARKER
Born in Emporia, Kansas on March 17, 1909.
He received his B.S. and Masters degree in music from the College of Emporia and in 1934 he was hired to be the band director at Emporia High School and Lowther Junior High School. He served in the United States Navy from 1944 – 1945 and resumed his teaching position at Emporia High School, where he remained until his retirement in 1971. Throughout most of his career, he also served as director of the Emporia Municipal Band. He died on October 16, 1978 in Sun City, Maricopa, Arizona.
As a music educator, he is well known for mentoring an astounding number of professional musicians, particularly for a community the size of Emporia.
Here is a partial list (in alphabetical order):
LARRY ALDERSON (saxophone / clarinet) – United States Air Force Strategic Air Command Band.
ROSALEE ASKEW-LENIGAN (piano/accordion/organ) – Ada Leonard All-Girl Orchestra.
ROY BURNS (drums) – Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton and many more. Drummer for the Merv Griffith Television Show. 2004 International Percussive Arts Hall of Fame inductee, 2019 Emporia High School Hall of Fame inductee, 2021 Emporia State University Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction inductee. Founder and CEO of Aquarian Drum Head Company.
RANDALL GRUNDY (trumpet/keyboards) – Red Dogs rock & show band.
JOHNNY MAYHAN (saxophone/clarinet) - United States Navy Band, Paul Lavalle’s World’s Fair Symphony Orchestra, and many more.
MARSHALL MCNUTT (trumpet) – Prez Prado, Jimmy Dorsey, Les Elgart.
JACK MOUSE (drums) – United States Air Force Academy Falconaires jazz band, Clark Terry,
Stan Kenton, Janice Borla and many more. 2019 Emporia High School Hall of Fame inductee, 2022 Emporia State University Frank A. Beach Hall of Distinction inductee.
MARION PLUMMER (trombone) - Henry Mancini, Randy Brooks, Ray McKinley, Bob Crosby and many more.
CARL VAIL (euphonium) – United States Naval Academy Band.
ED WORTMAN (trumpet) – Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman.