Appalachia

Remembering Ethelene Dyer Jones – A Friend to the Blind Pig and The Acorn

Ethelene Dyer Jones

Long time Blind Pig and The Acorn reader Ethelene Dyer Jones passed away on Friday November 26, 2021. Ethelene was 91 years old.

Ethelene was one of my earliest readers. I searched the comment archives and found she left her first comment way back in 2009. And in true Ethelene fashion, in that comment she invited me to her upcoming family reunion which was held in the Choestoe section of Union County Georgia. I went to the reunion and had a wonderful time. There was a history lesson on members of their family line, many of whom lived during Revolutionary War times. Of course there was great food and I also got to meet Ethelene’s son Keith who became a long time Blind Pig and The Acorn reader as well as a friend.

Here’s a brief paragraph from Ethelene’s obituary:

“Ethelene was born in Choestoe, GA on May 13, 1930 to the late Jewel Marion Dyer and the late Azie Collins Dyer. In addition to her parents, she was also preceded in death by her husband, Rev. Grover Duffie Jones, and by her son, Rev. Keith Jones. Having been a native of Union County, Ethelene began teaching in a one room school in Choestoe, GA. She retired from the Fannin County School System as a media specialist, and had written weekly articles for the News Observer in Blue Ridge, GA. Being a pastor’s wife, she served with her husband all over Georgia for 32 years. She was a member at First Baptist Church in Milledgeville.”

Over the years Ethelene wrote many guest posts for me. You long time readers will remember her writing, but I encourage all of you to follow the links below. I know you’ll enjoy Ethelene’s writing as much as I do.

I’ll share one more of Ethelene’s writings from my archives. It’s a lovely poem that incapsulates how I feel when I leave Brasstown and long to return. 

The Lands of Home-Again

Far away the birds fly toward the forest’s quiet vales;
Above the fields the mountains rise in blue crests.
Choestoe Creek runs over shoals, murmurs and hails
The leaves that drop quietly from above hidden nests
That rest on limbs outstretched above the stream.
This scene is real, a paradise, not some wild dream.
Go with me there, to the land of home-again,
Where we will quietly and slowly regain
Perspective for the years that yet remain.

Ethelene Dyer Jones 2014


Tipper

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    December 8, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about her passing.

  • Reply
    Allison B
    December 7, 2021 at 9:51 pm

    I always enjoyed Ms Ethelenes writing.
    Many heartfelt words spoken about her here today….

  • Reply
    Leslie
    December 7, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    I surely did enjoy her writing.

  • Reply
    Judy Mincey
    December 7, 2021 at 8:25 pm

    Miss Ethylene was a wonderful person and leaves a hole in the community that cannot be filled.
    She was a great aunt of my first cousins. I was fortunate to spend several afternoons in her company. Would you tell me what paper published her obituary?

  • Reply
    OkieJammer
    December 7, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    My respectful sadness to lose the company of this lovely lady who just makes me smile in seeing HER smile. I’m referring to your picture of her. And besides losing her experiences and future writings, it seems there is a library of ‘Know’ and ‘Remembering’ when a 91-year old go-getter crosses over. Here’s to a real CELEBRATION of her Life.

  • Reply
    Gigi
    December 7, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    Sorry for the loss, my sympathy goes out to her family, friends and you to Tipper. I know she will be missed. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    donna sue
    December 7, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    AWGRIFF – I wrote those words this morning when I first woke up, and my brain had not kicked in yet. Those words were from the Holy Spirit, I typed what He whispered in my heart. I am so grateful to God that He used me to touch your tender heart. All Glory and Praise goes to Him! He is the Author, I am merely His servant. Those words are definitely how I feel, God articulated them for me, however. I look forward to meeting you, and so many others, in Heaven! When I sing here on earth, I almost whisper. I don’t think I can sing. I know God made me as I am, and I know He hears my whisper singing. But when I get to Heaven – I will be belting out my songs as loud as Heaven can bare – which will be very loud! I look forward to singing with you, and all my Christian family, one day forever more!

    Donna. : )

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      December 7, 2021 at 8:19 pm

      The words of our mouths never reach the ears of God.
      Only the words of our hearts!

  • Reply
    dee
    December 7, 2021 at 12:55 pm

    Sorry to hear of Ethelene Dyer Jones passing. I always enjoyed reading posts she wrote as I knew some of the old ways were actually ways my grandparents/great-grandparents had used in their lives too. What really matters is she had a personal relationship with Jesus and is in heaven now.

  • Reply
    Earl L. Cagle, Sr.
    December 7, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    Ethelene Dyer Jones, it seems strange that I should learn of her passing on this “Day In Infamy”, but maybe not. It will always be remembered. I first read her research on Tipper’s site, which was a four part presentation on Patriot John Nicholson from whom I am descended. I called her and we had a treasured conversation that included her mentioning a gentleman, Robert Davis, also an educator and researcher and a relative, descended from John Nicholson. There is so much I could speak of but suffice it to say, Ethelene was a treasurer in many fields of interest and she has probably already started taking notes for eternal posterity. I still have a pint of syrup (souvenir) that my Dad bought from Bluford Dyer and hauled to stores in North Georgia. She is already missed. Earl L. Cagle,Sr.

  • Reply
    Patricia A Small
    December 7, 2021 at 11:42 am

    What an elegant lady. I do remember some of her stories. Heartfelt sympathy to her family and friends!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    December 7, 2021 at 11:30 am

    This is such a loss. We are your Blind Pig family, and when one is affected we all feel it. I followed this gracious lady anytime she posted on the Blind Pig blog. Her love of family and Choestoe was so evident in her stories and poems. She was very missed when her postings ceased. I am certain your blog, Tipper, comforted and inspired her when she suffered losses of those dear to her. It has often comforted me through many losses, and it keeps me focused on the bigger picture. We realize life is a cycle as we review so many things about Appalachian handed down by our forefathers.

    I also missed B Ruth, and missed her straight forward, often humorous posts. Your blog is a draw for the best of people.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    December 7, 2021 at 11:28 am

    A verse of a song comes back to me It is from “Heaven Holds All to Me”.

    “Out on the hills of that wonderful country,
    Happy, contented and free,
    Loved ones are waiting and watching my coming.
    Heaven holds all to me.”

    I very much believe that when the Lord instructed us to “lay up treasures in heaven” he meant people, beginning for us with Himself. You have another friend ‘ laid up’ and waiting. And I am as equally convinced we will be as uniquely ourselves there as we are here. And we will each and all be family and each and all be at home. The thing we’ve yet to discover is what memory we may have of here. About that, I think each believer can agree: if it is good in His eyes to remember, we will, if not, we will not.

  • Reply
    Melissa P. (Misplaced Southerner)
    December 7, 2021 at 10:50 am

    Ah, Tipper. God rest her sweet soul. I really appreciate that you gave us links to her wonderful stories. I can keep this and read them again whenever I wish. That poem really touched my heart. You know how much I miss the south, the mountains, my “homeplace.” Her poem said it better than I ever could.

  • Reply
    Betty Saxon Hopkins
    December 7, 2021 at 10:09 am

    I was born and raised in the Choestoe District of Union County where Ethelene Dyer Jones comes from. I have so enjoyed her articles “Through Mountain Mists” over the years and they have been invaluable to me in researching my family roots. Growing up, I never knew the paternal side of my family beyond my daddy, Comer Saxon, as his parents died when he was ten and he was raised by his grandmother on Upper Choestoe. I had heard my great grandfather, Theodore Saxon, owned a lot of land in that area and was considered a wealthy man for his time. When I started my research, the first mention I found of him was in an article written by Ethelene Dyer Jones about the hiring of an extraordinary teacher, Silas Chambers, for Hood Chapel School. In it she mentions my great grandfather, Theodore Saxon, as a prominent man in the community. That was enough to peak my curiosity and confirm what I had heard. As a result, I’m now in the process of researching and writjng about my Saxon family’s connection to Upper Choestoe. I will be forever grateful to Ethelene Dyer Jones for that one line about my great grandfather. She was a treasure!

  • Reply
    Christine
    December 7, 2021 at 10:02 am

    My deepest sympathy for the earthy loss of your friend Mrs. Jones. She must have been a very sweet lady. I read a couple of her writings you listed and she was indeed a talented writer. I could relate to her experience in The First BlackBerry Pie where she talks about getting chiggers while Berry picking. Her story brought back memories of my own Berry pickin days, my mom’s cobblers and them chiggers that drove us kids crazy scratching. I know Mrs Jones will be deeply missed by all her family, friends and her loyal readers that have followed her throughout her years.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    December 7, 2021 at 9:11 am

    Ethelene will be missed by many in what is surely a huge circle of friends from school and church. Her writing here on the Blind Pig & the Acorn will be missed as well. I have read many of her posts and enjoyed every one of them. May God Bless the loved ones she left behind.

  • Reply
    Edward Karshner
    December 7, 2021 at 9:09 am

    This is such sad news. I enjoyed her writing, her perspectives on your writing, and the interactions we shared when I had a piece on Blind Pig. Everytime we lose and elder in Appalachia, we also lose a lifetime of knowledge.

    We are lucky that she shared so freely and her work will continue to educate us and others.

    A reminder, too, how important the work is that Blind Pig and Tipper do. We write and tell our stories so they live on.

    My prayers to her family.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    December 7, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Ethelene was a southern mountain lady. She sent me a book of poetry entitled “Mother and Child Reunion” with poems by her and her son, Elton Keith Jones, who predeceased her. One of my favorites from that book is Appalachian Farmer, written by Ethelene.

    Bent from years at plow,
    Overalls faded, hanging on a lanky frame,
    He moves with deliberate lod
    Following the faithful mare
    On sloping hillside farm.
    For generations the cycle has run:
    He, dawn to dusk, determined
    To wrest a living from the land,
    Tills his acreage
    And gathers what it yields.
    The seasons turn, and weather, too,
    Is friend or foe.
    As fate would have it,
    So be it.
    He holds his own. He manages.
    And no one tells him
    What he has to do.
    This freedom clothes him more warmly
    Than faded overalls and chambray shirt.

    Ethelene left us on winter’s eve to hasten to a land where it’s springtime forever.

    • Reply
      Robert
      December 7, 2021 at 3:23 pm

      She is a lady I would have liked to have known. May she rest in peace in the Arms of Our Lord and Savior.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    December 7, 2021 at 8:40 am

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your precious friend. What a blessing it is to have her writings with you on the blog so that you can treasure them.
    I used to have family in Milledgeville and it makes me wonder if they may have attended church together years ago.
    I have only been reading the blog for a couple of months now and I look forward to it each day. I will go back and read some of her guest posts.

  • Reply
    Lori Hughes
    December 7, 2021 at 8:37 am

    It sounds like the world lost a wonderful lady. My heart and thoughts are with all of you as you mourn her passing.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    December 7, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Tipper–I never had the pleasure of meeting Ethelene in person, but to sample and savor her writings was to know that she was a wonderful, and wonderfully gifted, woman. I’ve followed your blog for years and can unreservedly say she was one of my favorites among commenters and guest posts. She was precisely the sort of individual who has long been the backbone of Southern Appalachian life–matriarch of her family, church, and community; beloved teacher; and in her case a woman of considerable literary gifts (she was the author of at least two books and a recognized authority on local history).

    When someone passes and you can say the individual “made their mark,” that is something of note. If, as was the case with Ethelene, it was a deeply meaningful mark, it means she left an exemplary legacy and was an example to follow and be admired.

    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Janette Auditor
    December 7, 2021 at 8:33 am

    I’m so sorry you have lost your Friend Tipper.

  • Reply
    Dena Westbrooks
    December 7, 2021 at 8:09 am

    So sad to hear about her passing. I enjoyed reading all the historical articles she has written about Choestoe and the Union County area. My family is from the same area and she has given me many clues over the years as I continue my family research. We have lost a jewel.

  • Reply
    Denise R
    December 7, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Loved reading her stories! The first time I had ever heard the term “blinky” for milk was from my now ex step mother in law. It was interesting to see where this term probably originated.
    Prayers of comfort and peace for her family, she definitely was a special gem!

  • Reply
    Margie G
    December 7, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I am sorry to hear of this fine lady’s passing. I can tell it has surely saddened your soul, Tipper. But she has hitched her last ride outa here and now lives in a mansion just over the hilltop. As a matter of fact, I encourage you to listen to I have a mansion just over the Hilltop by Eva Mae Le Fevre. It’s a wonderful song I think you’ll find appropriate today. God’s blessing and comfort to you all!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    December 7, 2021 at 6:50 am

    What a beautiful spirit in this world, she will be missed. She was such a good friend and follower of The Bling Pig. I always loved to see that picture of her come up she had such a sweet countenance!

  • Reply
    donna sue
    December 7, 2021 at 4:22 am

    I am so sorry to hear about Ethelene Dyer Jones passing. Sad for all of us who enjoyed her writing, but rejoicing that she is home with our Lord and those who were waiting there for her. Heaven is where we as Christians long to be, and my heart is happy knowing that she is there, her eternity has just begun. How exciting is that?! One day I will be there, too. Oh! What glorious days there will be forever and ever! I have enjoyed her writing on your blog. She has been an inspiration to me time and again. Thank you for sharing her obituary with us. I love to hear about everyone’s lives. They become more than just a name written in a sentence when I understand what their lives are, or have been. Each person who has walked this earth is part of the fabric that makes up my life, whether I have known them personally or not. I am a nobody in most people’s little places in the world – yet I am somebody in the big scheme of humankind. God made each of us for a purpose. And that makes each of us unique and important in the continuation of this earthly world. And when we place our trust in Jesus, we become members of the family of God. And that is the most important place we can ever be.

    Donna. : )

    • Reply
      AWGRIFF
      December 7, 2021 at 8:21 am

      DONNA SUE, that was so heart felt and I so agree with you. It brought tears to my eyes and when I came to the end of your paragraph I said amen. I will see you and Ethelene some day in Heaven. It’s so great to be in the family of our Lord!!

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