Three Davie People Who Made A Difference

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 27, 2010

Tucked in my desk drawer are several treasures – personal notes from Jim Wall about a few editorials over the years. I was delighted to get them. They are more special now that Davie County’s recognized authority on its history has died.
If Jim Wall agreed with me on a topic, I must have been right. His opinion carried that same weight with a vast number of people. He encouraged two generations of community leaders and government officials with a quiet grace that exemplified the best qualities of a small town.
A trio of prominent Davie County leaders has died in the past month – all people that I respected and hoped to emulate.
Farmington leader James E. Essic, 91, was buried Dec. 6. Five handsome grandsons and a son-in-law carried Essic’s casket to his grave at Farmington Community Cemetery. A gleaming red Farmington fire truck escorted the mourners to the cemetery. Essic had been the first president and helped form the fire department more than 50 years ago. For most of the progressive ideas championed in his community over a half-century, Essic was in the thick of things. He and his dear wife Lelia established a scholarship fund for Davie High graduates, helping nearly 100 pay for college.
What Essic was for Farmington, Mary Frances Atkinson “Pan” Beck, 82, was for the Bear Creek community. She had a chronic smile and an infectious personality. She was involved in everything, served a stint on the Board of Education, helped in 4-H, the library, the YMCA and her church. She made things happen. She died Dec. 8.
Mr. Wall taught at Cooleemee High and Mocksville before moving to the new Davie High in 1956. He retired in 1978 and served 20 years on the Mocksville town board. He wrote the Bible of Davie County history. Only two weeks ago, we printed a letter from him praising four recent historical accounts of Davie County. Like me, those authors realized a nod from Mr. Wall was …