Beaufort loses one of its treasures

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comNovember 19, 2012 

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Thanks to Jody Henson of Beaufort for sharing his thoughts about a special friend.

'ETERNALLY BEAUFORT'S GRACE AND CHARM'

By Jody Henson

I was tremendously saddened by the announcement in the Gazette of the passing of Martha Tucker.

This gentle, loving example of pure Southern grace and charm was one of the most wonderful and influential women of my life.

Two weeks ago, I was able to visit her at home while hospice workers were there. It was difficult seeing her barely holding on to life, but I was very fortunate she woke during my visit and I had one last time to tell her how much I loved her, and she in turn managed to tell me the same, bringing me to quivering tears as I left her side.

I met Martha -- Mrs. Tucker, as I still called her -- in the mid-1960s when I dated her daughter Jane for the first time. That evening before our departure she told me I was carrying gold with me and to take very good care of her treasure. The treasure of her friendship and love began for me that night and has been an important part of my life.

Both Martha and her husband, George, were truly Southern aristocracy in my mind, each warm and hospitable in ways they came by quite naturally.

As a military dependent, my family moved nearly every year, and I had few friends to hold on to until arriving in Beaufort in 1962.

If you've read any of my schoolmate Pat Conroy's stories or listened to him speak, you will recall the importance placed in those special people we met and forever brought into our hearts and held on to tightly during their lives.

Our personal relationship grew over the years and, though I was away from Beaufort for nearly 30 years, my cards, letters and calls were always portrayed by her to be most important and well-received. Many were timely during her losses, which brought us closer.

My heart goes out to all the family and friends she enjoyed, cherished and loved. We will miss her so much. She was truly the very soul of Beaufort as I knew it, and she is with her beloved George once again.

My personal treasure was knowing her and being called her "other son" over the past 50 years.

As future Mother's Days, Valentine's Days, holidays and Augusts (her birthday) come, I'll still remember her devotion to everyone she held close, even a boy she knew little of in the beginning.

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