They will be missed

Published 8:58 am Friday, May 8, 2009

It’s true that death is a natural part of life, but Franklin and Southampton County seem to have been hit with an unfair amount of it recently, losing three prominent and active citizens within a matter of days.

First, the Rev. Ira D. “Tuck” Hudgins, who led Franklin Baptist Church for more than three decades, died Tuesday, April 28, after a long illness. Hudgins was a deeply caring man who loved both his community and the people in it.

Then, Gail Parker, a former Franklin High School head football coach and an assistant coach of the 1970 Marshall University football team that perished in a plane crash, died Saturday. He was only 66, and the people who spoke of him talked about an easygoing man who loved football and the kids he coached.

Tuesday, we learned that Russell Darden, a well-known and well-respected member of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans group here, died unexpectedly. His death will leave a gaping hole in the organization because he devoted so much time to it and to studying and preserving the history of the area.

Much can be lamented about the brain drain that happens in a community such as ours, and hopefully someone here is working on providing career opportunities for those who might opt to venture out otherwise.

But what about stopping the slow leak of history, camaraderie and legacy that seems to happen every time we lose someone like Hudgins, Parker or Darden? Will younger generations carry on in their footsteps? We certainly hope so.

This area needs more people to step up and carry on the legacies of these great men.