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Joyce Wilson dies on July 19th

Joyce E. Wilson of Macclenny died on July 19, 2012 surrounded by loved ones. She was predeceased by parents Daniel Higginbotham and Jennie O’ Berry and brother Donald Higginbotham.

Mrs. Wilson is survived by son Brett Wilson; daughters Lori Moore (Wayne), Lisa Davis (Tim), and Sandy Alford (Gary); brothers Daniel Higginbotham (Rosie), David Higginbotham, Frank O’ Berry (Laura) and Clarence O’ Berry (Peggy); sister Lora Gazebo; grandchildren Bobby, Andy, Danielle (Jessee), Brittany (Russell), Justin, Mattie; great-grandchildren Tyler, Adrianna, and Evan; numerous nieces and nephews.

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Which drugs are the worst?

An acquaintance queried the other day: which is harming Baker County more — prescription pill abuse or methamphetamine?

Hmmm.

The correct response is, I suppose, who cares? They both are taking a toll destined to bring misery to users and heartache to their families. They merely do so to varying degrees.

Is the abuse worse here than elsewhere? The correct response to that, I suppose, also is who cares? Whether it’s worse here than, say, in Clay or St. Johns counties misses the point. We don’t live in Clay or St. Johns counties, and whatever problems beset us because so many people chase drug habits are our problems.

Here’s what we do know.

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Program honors veterans at Heritage Park

Above, Robert Osborn (left) of Jacksonville and Karl Joyce of Macclenny meet in a tearful reunion. Both attended Robert E. Lee High in Riverside.A modest but patriotic crowd turned out at Macclenny’s Heritage Park at midday on April 21 for the second annual Korean and Vietnam veteran appreciation day.

With the theme, “Freedom is not Free,” the program organized by Jessie and Karl Joyce included speeches by veterans of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, a special tribute to the missing in action and other recognitions.

Mrs. Joyce planned to have just the single event last year, but public demand led to the second annual tribute in 2012. “And I enjoy doing it,” she said.

Mrs. Joyce got the idea for the first tribute after a visit to Jacksonville International Airprot to welcome home returning vets.

“We would go to the airport and greet them and wave flags,” she said.

But it made her remember how Vietnam and Korean War veterans were not greeted in the the same way.

“They were never welcomed home,” she said. “They were spit on when they came home.”

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Performers take stage as forbears

From left: Denny Wells, Mallory Chauncey, (front) Harper Archambault and Julia Archambault, and Shelly Neri.“I was about to step on stage in my seersucker suit and I had to stop for a second. I thought, ‘I’m about to play my grandfather.’”

Denny Wells, who plays City Manager Frank Wells in the Baker County High drama and Baker County Community Theatre production of Baker County, Fla.: 1861-1961, was one of several performers with personal connections to the people in the play.

When he was asked to portray his grandfather, who had a big hand in helping stop moonshining in Baker County, he paused for a moment before saying, “You can’t imagine what an honor this is.” He then went out and bought a seersucker suit, which was his grandfather’s signature apparel.

For Mr. Wells, playing the role has been like channeling his grandfather. The two were extremely close and he remembers seeing his grandfather in the self-same suit. Others also remember it fondly.

Wells was leaning against the front of the stage after the sold out performance January 13 and a passing audience member commented, “I saw your grandfather dressed like that many a day.”

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