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Blessings to Others

Tim Holder, Carol and Jack Easterday, and Angela Easterday Holder at the Easterdays’ 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. Photo by Ralphine Major

By Ralphine Major

I remember hearing her crystal clear soprano voice long before I even met her. Rev. Bruce Forlines introduced Angela and told that she was only five years old when he began his ministry at Wallace Memorial Baptist Church. At that time, Bruce had not yet retired; now, he is the Minister of Music Emeritus. On that Sunday morning in spring, Angela’s mother, Carol, was at the piano and Angela lended the vocals as they presented a moving rendition of “Were You There?”

The five-year-old girl turned her talent into her life’s work. As one little girl told her great-grandmother during Vacation Bible School years later, Angela is a “music doctor.” For several years, the “music doctor” was on the staff of Georgetown College in Kentucky. It was in the Bluegrass State that Angela met her future husband, Dr. Tim Holder, who taught at Morehead State University. Tim and Angela were wed in a lovely ceremony at Wallace Memorial and eventually moved to Tennessee. Dr. Angela Easterday Holder is an Associate Professor of Music at her alma mater, Carson-Newman College, and Dr. Timothy Holder is an Associate Professor of History at Walters State Community College.

The move of these college professors to the Volunteer State gave their fellow church members and community the benefit of their time, talent, and friendship. Together, this couple leads a Sunday School class at Wallace Memorial. Angela occasionally substitutes for the Minister of Music and is frequently a featured soloist at church. My favorite song to hear her sing is “Give Me Jesus.” Tim has also served as chairman of the deacons. I have heard him teach; I have heard him preach; and I have a lot of nerve to write about this writer! He graciously appeared in my “Silent Witness” column, Focus 2-27-12. Tim comes from a military family; and he has authored or co-authored eleven books, including “Double Crossed,” “Ask the Professor: What Freshmen need to Know 2.0,” as well as “Influential Christians,” and “Nixon and His Men: The Road through Watergate.”

Carol Hobby was only fourteen years old when she became the church pianist. Even after she became Mrs. Jack Easterday, her dedication never declined as she balanced family and career at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and K-25. Recently, one church member reminded me of the plaque placed on the piano commemorating Carol’s forty years as Wallace Memorial’s pianist! She has now served faithfully as the pianist for fifty-four years using her amazing talent to honor God. It is a rare and special treat when this mother-daughter duo shares their talent and love of music with the congregation.

Jack is a deacon and was the narrator for Wallace Memorial’s long-running Living Christmas Tree until health issues sidelined him. In fact, both couples have been involved in the Living Christmas Tree for many years: Jack as narrator, Carol as pianist, Angela as a soloist and choir member, and Tim as a member of the pageantry cast. A retired insurance sales manager for American General and Jefferson Pilot Insurance Companies, Jack is outgoing and personable—traits which endear him to so many. My brother still recalls that Jack Easterday was the first one who spoke to him and made him feel welcome when he visited Wallace Memorial. Through all kinds of circumstances, Jack seems to never lose his humor. Once, when we were complimenting Angela’s song, Jack said that her trained talent cost him $10,000 a note! On a more serious note, he told me on a recent Sunday morning, “Carol has been a blessing to me every day of my life.”

Fifty years ago to the day after Jack and Carol were married at Wallace Memorial, family and friends celebrated with them on their Golden Wedding Anniversary at a reception hosted by their daughter and son-in-law. It was great fun to see their display of family photos and videos of this “young” couple with their baby girl. What a joy-filled life they have shared together, and what a blessing all of them have been to their church, community, and workplaces. No greater compliment can be paid to Jack and Carol than the words Angela and Tim shared: “they are truly the Christian examples and leaders in our family.”

I stand in awe of the accomplishments, talent, dedication, and sincerity of these loving families.

But, what impresses me most is their attitude of humbleness. It gives so much more meaning to all they are and all they do. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

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