Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN

Mr. and Mrs. Hershel Lankford

From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Brewer Printing Company, Jackson, Tennessee, n.d.).

This People of Action, issued circa 1969, reproduced newspaper clippings about people in Decatur County. Most items probably were written in the mid 1960s. Most, but not all, of the items were written by Lillye Younger herself and most, but not all, appeared in the Jackson Sun. The photographs, which in the book were poorly reproduced from clippings, have not been scanned.

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make these web pages.

Thanks to www.tnyesterday.com for contributing this transcription.

By Lillye Younger, Sun Correspondent

‘Retirement' Busy Time For Couple

PARSONS, Tenn. — It certainly wasn't hard for Mr. and Mrs. Hershel Lankford of Cleveland, Ohio. to adjust to retirement. In December 1962 Hershel and Sarah Lankford hung up the fiddle and the bow of the work-a-day world and headed for the hills of Tennessee.

The small town of Parsons was just right for the former city dwellers to sit back and take life easy. However this can hardly be said of the Lankfords. "We are busier now than ever," explains Hershel. Sarah chimed in, "I cook more meals now than I did before my husband retired."

"Lankford worked on a shift schedule for on oil refinery in Cleveland and meals were served at very irregular hours," recalls Mrs. Lankford. "Shift schedule was rugged but I soon became accustomed to it after 35 years of service," says Hershel, who retired on a retirement service plan.

Prior to work in Cleveland, the couple lived in Jackson. During World War I Lankford worked for the Smith Engine Boiler Works there. He worked until it closed down in 1926 and then moved to Cleveland.

When asked about her work, Mrs. Lankford smiled and said, "I helped put up stock when F. W. Woolworth moved to Jackson in 1917. She was quite young, that was before the wage law came into effect. She worked here for three years. Later she secured work as a bookkeeper for a sewing machine company in Jackson.

Romance entered the picture at this time and in 1925 Sarah and Hershel were united in holy wedlock in Jackson. "We married during the fringe area of the 1929 depression," Mrs. Lankford recalled. However the following year the couple moved to Cleveland to seek their fortune and did quite well, even during those lean depression years, with the Standard Oil Co. of Ohio. Mrs. Lankford worked as a saleswoman in a Cleveland department store a short time during World War II"

"The reason we chose Tennessee as our retirement state is because our people live in Jackson," explained Mrs. Lankford. She has two sisters, Mrs. T. A. Shults and Mrs. Frank Barker living here. Lankford's parents, Mr. and Mrs. George Lankford, resided in Jackson before their death,

While visiting the Shults at their cottage on Lick Creek, 10 miles north of Parsons, the Lankfords decided several years before their retirement that they wanted a cottage here.

They bought a lot next door and have a 20 by 28-foot three room haven of rest. It has a huge living room and kitchen combination, two private bedrooms and a large screened-in front perch overlooking Lick Creek. "I love that screened porch," Mrs. Lankford remarked. "We spend a third of our time at our cottage summer and winter."

Fishing is Mr. Lankford'a sport. He catches crappie in the spring season and cats and bream all year.

Another delight to the retired gentleman is gardening. He has a prolific vegetable garden at their town home at 215 Goff Street in Parsons, "We raise enough vegetables to supply us during the summer," he said.

Odd jobs such as painting woodwork and finishing work is also a hobby with Lankford since his retirement. He stays quite busy and has to turn down many jobs.

"We keep busy in Parsons," Mrs. Lankford said with a chuckle. Members of the First Baptist Church here, they do a lot of church work. Mrs. Lankford belongs to the Margaret Bruce Circle of the W.M.U., is president of he Phebean Sunday School class and is a member of the Parsons Garden Club. Her husband belongs to the brotherhood of the First Baptist Church and is quite active.

"We have also adopted the lovely family who lives next door," Mrs. Lankford said jokingly.

"Its the Billy Goff family who have four youngster, the youngest being a year old. We feel like they are our second family," she said.

Mrs. Lankford's hobbles are sewing, cooking and reading. She won first place in the County-Wide annual Dress Revue this year on her sewing which she modeled.

The Bible and mystery stories plus other type of fiction are her choices in reading.

The couple agrees that they reached their goal in life. "You get out of life what you put into it," Mrs. Lankford added. "We didn't set our goal too high therefore we are not disillusioned with life."

Their words of advice to young people of today are to plan for the future and retirement. "It is vital in this modern age. The most important thing in life is to affiliate with the church and live good clean Christian lives. Today material things are stressed too much. If we put God first in our lives all else will be added," Mrs. Lanklord said.

"The people in Parsons have been lovely in accepting us in their fine town. We are thoroughly enjoying the September years of life. The friendly atmosphere of the small town is just what we ordered," Mrs. Lankford said.

"If one is friendly and helpful to others they will be friendly and helpful to you."

The couple has a son and daughter living in Cleveland, Ohio.

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