I know it has been a while since I wrote a column as we have Bobby Jonte and now Melissa McCoy and her always entertaining ‘Manning Mama’. This week I have on my heart some words and felt this may be the best way to express them.
Last Sunday I lost my friend, William “Bill “ Fenters.
The story of how I met Bill began in 2010 when I began working for The Manning Times as a Market Director. Of course, when you begin this position, it comes with certertain expectations, one of them being more involved with the community. For those of you who have been readers for a while, you will remember the newspaper wars, which are long in the past and buried, but back then we were hot and heavy with all sorts of competition. Several people in the community greeted me with open arms and kindness. Bill was the main one of them. Some of my favorite memories from the early years at the paper will also include him and Lannes Prothro at Manning Rotary on Wednesdays at lunch. He looked out for me professionally, sent me to new clients, directed me in the way of business.The Manning Times even purchased Bill’s first State Farm office and to this day that is where we put the paper together each week. As the years went by, I met his wonderful wife Patsy. In fact, I would often joke to Bill that I believe Mrs. Pasty is a saint. I mean that to this day! She worked with me and my late editor Robert Baker on many Relay For Life events as she is a cancer survivor. She is always one of the sweetest yet toughest women I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
Bill and I lived within a short golf cart’s ride away from each other and as anyone in Pine Knoll can tell you, Bill would ride his golf cart in the evenings, making his neighborhood rounds. He had a black lab named Jake. Jake had a litter of puppies and soon Bill had two buddies, Jake and JJ. After the loss of Jake, Bill and JJ would make these evening rounds, sometimes just the two of them, and sometimes with Mrs. Pat.On these evening visits, we would catch up on the latest happenings in the county and he would ask about the children, the office, and the neighbors.
I remember fondly when I lost my father in 2015, Mr. Bill and Mrs. Pat were there for me. In fact, through all of the ups and downs of the past 15 years, Bill was there offering words of direction and wisdom and Mrs.Pat was always by his side offering kindness for whatever was going on at the time.
Bill was a State Farm agent and operator for 47 years. He had a tough exterior and with Bill you always knew what he was thinking, how he felt, and what he thought. His kindness was shown through his work with The Shriners Club. He so loved the Shriners and work that was done through them to improve the lives of so many children.
The last conversation I had with him was the Friday before he passed. He was at home with Mrs. Pat. I had originally called about business and we ended up speaking about his heart health but he said he would be fine and was more worried about Mrs. Pat’s broken foot.
I am very much going to miss the evening visits in the front yard on the golf cart with JJ and my friend Bill Fenters.
Leigh Ann Maynard