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Let's strive to spread a little sunshine through this blog. There's enough fog hanging over us each day.
Though this column is a bit sad. Yet, it also brings to light the rays of sunshine a schoolmate shared with me years ago.
This week, we lost Community School alumna, Gwen Murphree Lane after a long battle with breast cancer. She was one of those high school sweethearts who had it all-talent, smarts, beauty, athleticism and Christian morals.
Still, Gwen didn't use all of her God-given talents to bully other people, as is sometimes the case. Rather than be the center of attention, she opted to obey the Golden Rule (Do unto others . . .)
Gwen was older than I, but she took me under her wing when I was in junior high and a freshman. I watched her from a distance and admired her so when we played basketball together.
Today, I think perhaps I should have told her in later years how much her high school friendship meant to me. But you never expect to lose someone at 58.
Gwen passed peacefully at her home in Riceville on Saturday, May 11, after a 10-year valiant and courageous battle with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She endured a staggering 515 weekly chemotherapy treatments, family noted, with grace and dignity and strengthened by God's promise from Isaiah 50:7.
Gwen's family says she was always looking for opportunities to share her unwavering faith in her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
That was the Gwen I knew in high school.
She only grew deeper in her faith as the years marched on. The same beautiful smile was evident in her obit pix.
A Unionville native, Gwen was the daughter of a farmer and an English teacher-Charles S. Sr. and the late Annie Ruth (Smith) Murphree. Her mother was also my favorite English literature teacher.
I even more admired Gwen when she graduated from Community High School in 1978 as valedictorian. She went on to earn a bachelor's in English with a mass communication minor from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Community's Viqueen did it again in 1982, when she graduated summa cum laude.
Unknowingly, I followed her footsteps into the mass communication department at MTSU. Though I did not graduate summa cum laude but more, thank ya Lawdy.
Gwen's family has shared how she developed an early love for language arts and not surprising, went on to teach. Her favorite hobbies, I discovered, were the same as mine, photography and writing.
I will be sad knowing Gwen is no longer in this world. But she rightfully has earned her wings. Tell Brenda B. Lane we said hello.
We are all here to fulfill a purpose under heaven, I believe. To me, Gwen did that many years ago.
Though I haven't seen her in years, she left an indelible mark on my heart. She became a mentor to a young and shy girl and probably didn't even realize it.
I have no doubt there's a special pair of wings for Gwen Murphree in heaven. Rest in peace, Gwen, you will be surely missed by this community.
If Gwen touched your heart in any way, please email me. Or, if you had a fellow classmate who had a positive influence on your life, I would love it if you would share those thoughts.
Online subscribers may see Gwen's obit information in the Tuesday, May 14, edition of the T-G. You can also pick up a paper at the T-G front office.