Bill & Betty Mann Tribute

We remember and celebrate neighbors Bill & Betty Mann

Ten years after Bill’s passing and one year after Betty’s passing, we are marking the anniversaries by putting “pen to paper”, so to speak, to remember and celebrate Bill and Betty, so we can reminisce with family and friends, pass on lessons learned, and share stories of beautiful souls with anyone who did not get the chance to meet Bill and Betty in person.

Two offerings are posted below: a video with recollections by Eric Fitts of Bethlehem Farm’s relationship with Bill and Betty over our first 17 years (2005-2021) and an audio recording by Caretaker Casey Murano of a eulogy written by Jeannie Kirkhope remembering lessons and stories from the Catholic Worker Farm days (the CW Farm existed from 1983-2004; Jeannie visited in the ’90s and managed the Farm in 2000-2001). Jeannie’s reflection was so rich with imagery that we felt scrolling photos in the background would only take away from what our own imaginations can conjure (so it is meant to be listened to, not watched).

Please feel free to leave any further remembrances here in the comments or in the comments on YouTube. 
Special thanks to Caretaker Casey Murano for producing these recordings.

Eric remembers Bethlehem Farm’s relationship with neighbors Bill & Betty over the years.
Jeannie shares memories and stories of Bill and Betty from the Catholic Worker Farm days.

Bill’s Obituary

William L. “Bill” Mann, 82, of Talcott passed away February 3, 2013 at Summers County Appalachian Regional Hospital following a short illness.
Born September 23, 1930 at Talcott he was the son of the late Everette L. and Florence C. Bostic Mann.

Bill was a retired machinist for the C&O Railway with 43 years of service. He enjoyed farming, sharing stories, making people laugh and spending time with his family and friends. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.
Bill was the last surviving member of his immediate family. Other than his parents he was preceded in death by one sister, Laura “Polly” Mann.

Those left to cherish his memory include his wife of 62 years, Betty J. Mann, at home; one son, James W. Mann and wife Teresa of Hinton; one daughter, Rhonda Mann Hale and husband Gary of Phoenix, AZ; four grandchildren, Jamie Mann and partner Merenda Crotts of New Castle, VA, Joshua Mann and wife Zadia of Goodview, VA, Casey Hale and wife Kim of Phoenix, AZ and Adam Hale of Phoenix, AZ; three step grandchildren, Chris Bragg of Lost River, Michelle Bragg Comer of Huntington and Amy Bragg Crawford of Forest Hill; five great grandchildren, Lucas Mann, Sadie Mann, Mason Hale, Jackson Hale, Jocelyn Hale; two step great grandchildren, Candace Crawford and Leah Comer.

Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, February 7, 2013 at Ronald Meadows Funeral Parlors Chapel with Pastor Dana Stalnaker officiating. Burial will follow in the Talcott Cemetery. Friends may call from noon until time of services at the funeral parlors.

Pallbearers will be Richard Hypes, Jamie and Josh Mann, Casey and Adam Hale and Josh Lee.

Betty’s Obituary

Betty June Upton Mann, 89 of Talcott, passed away Tuesday Dec. 28, 2021 at Bowers Hospice House in Beckley, WV.

Born June 25, 1932 at Jumping Branch, she was the daughter of the late James and Nellie Bennett Upton.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William Lewis Mann; sisters, Twila and Garnet; brothers, Bill, Judd, Russell and George Upton and a grandson, Joshua Lewis Mann.

Ms. Mann is survived by her children, son, James W. Mann and wife Teresa of Hinton and daughter, Rhonda Mann Hale and husband Gary of Peoria, AZ; grandchildren, Jamie Mann and wife Merenda of New Castle, VA, and Casey and Adam Hale, both of Phoenix, AZ; 7 great grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, 5 step great grandchildren and 5 step great, great grandchildren; one brother, Charles Upton of Beckley, along with several nieces and nephews also survive.

Betty was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother and loved animals. She was a former employee of G.C. Murphy Company in Hinton and was retired from FCI Alderson, formerly PCI Alderson where she worked as a correctional officer and warehouse manager. She enjoyed life on their farm, tending her flowers and caring for all her animals. Betty never met a stranger. She would greet you with a smile, a “come on in, would you like a cup of coffee” make yourself at home attitude. She enjoyed sharing lots of stories about her life, work, and family. She will be missed greatly by all her family and friends.

Due to Covid19, funeral services will be private at Pivont Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be in Talcott Cemetery. The family would like to thank the staff of Hospice of Southern WV, both in home and at Bowers Hospice House for their care and compassion.

Walking the Earth with the Cornerstones

Walking the Earth with the Cornerstones

By Magdalena Smyth, Summer Servant and Bethlehem Farm Enthusiast, Exeter, New Hampshire

After completing my 11 weeks this past spring/summer at Bethlehem Farm, I was easily able to come home and pinpoint how I wanted to cultivate the four cornerstones in my daily life. But the thing that stuck out to me was how the Lord was subtly (well, it felt subtle then but looking back, I’m not sure how I missed it) planting those cornerstones in my life before I had arrived at the farm and could even identify them.

In January of 2020, I decided to spend a year committed to service to my neighbor. With no plan and practically no money, I found ways to travel and serve different communities. I spent two months in Ireland working in a Camphill Community (an intentional community for intellectually disabled adults). While I was there, I worked on a farm, in a school, and in the living facility itself. It was then that without me realizing, seeds of sustainable ways of living in a community, as well as a prayerful, simple lifestyle were being planted in my life. 

After Ireland, I traveled to northern Albania (which is tucked in snugly between Montenegro and Greece), where I lived with three Catholic nuns and twelve young Albanian girls. I took on the role of their English teacher as well as doing chores throughout the day for the sisters. Simplicity took on a whole different meaning for me there as Albania is a fairly poor country. I learned about living with what I strictly need and authentically sharing that with the people around me. Prayer became a central vein within my daily activities with daily mass and adoration. I learned to let go of many crutches which I had been unknowingly depending on for a while. 

After Albania, I found myself in the mountains of West Virginia on a farm I had never heard of until a couple of months prior to applying to be a Summer Servant. Learning about the four cornerstones more deeply once arriving, I instantly was convinced that cultivating them in every way possible was vital to the flourish of my mental, physical and spiritual health. I learned about different ways of prayer outside of the traditional forms, the importance of sustainability for us, our neighbors, and our future generations, how community living can be beautiful, stressful, and just right for me, and lastly how a life of service is the vocation God is calling me towards. 

A mother bird knows her chicks can’t eat and digest food without her chewing it first and then slowly feeding it to them. In the same way, now looking back, I think our Creator knew that in January 2020, I wasn’t ready to make drastic changes to my lifestyle yet to incorporate the four cornerstones. Our Lord, in all His glory and patience, slowly taught me how to lay down what is good and find what was best. And boy, am I glad He did.