Cherokee couple has always given to community
by Chris Collett
Columnist
July 12, 2013 09:38 PM | 1635 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Collett<br>Columnist
Chris Collett
Columnist
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Dennis and Betty Jean Stowers have been active in our community for my entire life. Actually, their works and gifts to the community go back much further than that.

Dennis has spent years in service to the community through his giving to many charities. He has been active as co-owner of S & H Tire Sales, an employee of Canton Textile Mills, Sunday School Superintendent at Chalcedonia Baptist Church, President of Canton Golf Club, and as a member or president of various other boards.

In other words, people know Dennis. A lot of people know Dennis. He has given to the community without much fanfare. But he is known, and deservedly so.

Betty Jean, while probably not as well known in the community, has been the woman who has allowed Dennis to do all that he has done. I have known her my entire life and have never seen her seek attention in any arena or any situation.

She always worked and did the best she could in raising her children. Renee and Renita turned out as fine women. But having Dennis and Betty Jean as parents was the catalyst to bring their lives where they are now.

In several columns, I have mentioned church and stories of several preachers I have known in my life. And although no one would probably know church is a major part of my life now, it was. And it certainly isn’t my mother’s fault that my light shines dimly now. It’s only my fault. No one else is to blame.

For many years, Betty Jean was the piano player at our church. Now I love gospel music. I love the old-time hymns. And I love a good choir as much or more than any professional group. And we had a good choir when I was growing up. And that choir was always accompanied on piano by Betty Jean, as was the congregation singing.

Some might say “Every church has a piano player.” And that is mostly true. But Betty Jean had something else. It was something different. It was always as if she and the piano were one. The soft way in which she played the keys was angelic. She had the gift of knowing when the preacher needed a little accompaniment to bring home his point.

I am no music student, but I don’t believe you can teach that.

Betty Jean has played for hours during a revival as people came to the front to ask God for salvation. I have seen her continue playing as she bowed her head in prayer. I have seen her rejoice and continue playing. And the tone of her touching the keys never changed. It was always the same. She played softly and fluently. She played for her God and her church.

For the most part, Betty Jean has turned the piano playing over to a younger generation. The people she has given the reigns to are very talented piano players. They do a phenomenal job, and I feel certain they all have studied music more than Betty Jean did. So if you know any of the folks that are now playing, please understand that I am not saying they are less at the piano than Betty Jean. For they are making their own way and have their own style although I am not there to see it.

But the way Betty Jean played the piano made a difference to a church, a pastor, a choir and a congregation. I loved hearing her play and feel sure that I am not the only one who feels that way. Betty Jean has a calling. She has a talent. And for her many years of exercising that talent, she has been blessed. I feel certain that she has no idea how many people she has touched without saying a word. She touched them through the keys of the piano like no other I have ever seen.

Through the years, churches change with the changing of pastors and other office holders. Sometimes the changes are minimal, and sometimes they are huge. And change is not always a bad thing. It is life.

So Dennis, I know there are many people out there whose lives you have touched because of something you did for them. I am one of those that have thanked you for being a friend. But Betty Jean, you’ve touched just as many by sharing your special gift. Amen!

Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.

Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.
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