Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday's Obituary - A Youthful Life Ended

Several years ago, while working for the Panama County Club in Lynn Haven, FL, I discovered a mystery!

One of the perks of the job is taking golf carts for rides around the beautiful course and this day was my first tour. A seasoned employee of the country club, Pat is at the wheel and I, riding shotgun, hold on for dear life as we zoom across cart paths dodging Fox Squirrels. Pat is on a mission to show me the cemetery on the golf course. We arrive and quietly come to a stop. Nestled between Live Oaks and a fairway is a small cemetery with a handful of headstones. If Pat is telling me anything about the people buried there or which fairway is nearby, I am not listening, because I am struck by the lonely, peacefulness of the scene.

Flash forward to a week ago. Still wanting to know who is buried at the golf course, I email a few members of my local genealogical society to see if they have any information about this cemetery. As several emails pass from member to member, I discover that this cemetery and surrounding area used to belong to the Gay family.

With that information in mind, I search several indexes on our society's website and discover one of the girls buried there has an obituary.  With excitement building to finally meet this young lady, I search the Panama City Pilot, which has recently been digitized. After clicking a few pages, I find her obituary:
A Youthful Life Ended - Mrs. Lee Porter died September 18th at the home of her father, R.W. Gay, on North Bay. Mrs. Porter had gone to visit her parents, and was seized with a fatal illness shortly after her arrival. She was given the best medical attention to be had, but without avail. The deceased was an amiable and attractive young woman, who had many friends in this vicinity, where she was born and raised. She was about 19 years of age. February 27, 1913 she was united in marriage to Lee Porter, who together with her parents and other relatives, have the sympathy of the community. Funeral services were held September 19th at 1 o'clock conducted by Rev. W.S.R. Burnett of Lynn Haven, and interment in the family burying ground at the old homestead. (Panama City Pilot, 25 Sep 1913, pg. 4 col. 1)
Ironically, as I sit down to write this post, I notice that she was buried 97 years ago today. So while her life was tragically cut short, it is nice to know that through the efforts of fellow genealogists, I know who Myrta May Gay Porter is...know that she has family and friends...know that she is loved...and know that she has a beautiful and peaceful final resting place.

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