This is from Rick Troth, husband of Marilyn Nerren Troth, about friends at her funeral service here in Lufkin. Marilyn was the daughter of Jo Ann Nerren and the late Gene Nerren of Corpus Christi. ‘‘Danny and Lorrie Davids are some of our dearest friends from Houston. We met them when we joined Houston Northwest Church. We later participated in small group Bible study in their home.

‘‘When we moved, Lorrie helped Marilyn with some of the preparation, specifically the yard work. (Yard work is Lorrie’s thing. Her help really softened that load for Marilyn at the time.)’’

They drove up from Houston for the Saturday service in Lufkin. What follows is what Danny said. (From Danny about the service): “Spent yesterday celebrating the life of our friend Marilyn Troth with her family and friends at her funeral service in Lufkin, Texas. I know what people mean when they use ‘those’ words, and why they use them, but there was a lot of mourning going on as well.

‘‘The pastor handled the service with dignity and respect, and brought up a few points from Scripture that gave many longtime Christians reason to ... well, reason. Marilyn’s daughter Chelle and son Martin shared their thoughts and feelings about their mom (and they’re both incredibly brave; I would have collapsed like a house of cards). Her husband/our friend Rick was able to lift his hands in worship during the singing of ‘Amazing Grace’ (again, don’t know how I could have done it). But what made this memorial service truly memorable to me was what happened afterwards on the way to the cemetery.

‘‘After the service, we went to our car and were instructed to turn on our lights and flashers as participants in the funeral procession. When the time came, we merged into the line of cars and headed out on the highway. This is a six-lane divided highway that circles the city, kind of like what the 610 Loop does (or did, years ago) in Houston.

‘‘While I expected traffic to stop and wait on our side of the road (because the constables were making it so), I was surprised to see a number of cars on the other side of the highway turning on their headlights and flashers and pulling over to the shoulder. At first, I thought an emergency vehicle was coming up behind them, but one never materialized. After several more seconds both Lorrie and I came to realize they were doing it because of the funeral procession.

‘‘Ordinary people minding their own business and living their own lives took the time to stop in consideration of the life of someone they didn’t even know. This continued from the six-lane highway, to the four-lane street, and finally to the two-lane side road taking us to the cemetery gates. I had never seen this happen before, ever. I was touched and my heart broke ... but in a good way.

‘‘After the graveside service, Lorrie asked an attending constable about what we’d witnessed. He responded that it is an ‘East Texas custom’ to show honor and respect for the deceased and their family. This isn’t a state, county or local law mandated by legal authorities. This is people, on their own, agreeing to inconvenience themselves to recognize the pain and anguish of total strangers and acknowledging in doing so that life is precious. And my heart broke again.

‘‘Increasingly we live in a world where we are so busy managing our careers that we can’t even manage our families; where gaining more ‘stuff’ means losing more relationships; where taking time off to go to a funeral, or a doctor’s visit, or a child’s band concert or dance recital, is a detriment to advancing at the workplace, or within your social standing, or even with other family members.

‘‘Legislating this type of action would most likely have the effect of fewer people participating, or doing so grudgingly or for the wrong reasons. But on a grass-roots level, if we could all agree to do something this simple, two to three minutes of our ‘inconvenience’ could help our communities at least agree that life matters, and that the loss of life is something we should all grieve over. After all, none of us gets out of this world alive, and I don’t see how being a selfish jerk makes things any more pleasant.”

Thanks to the family for sharing this with us. East Texas is a wonderful place and Lufkin is the best place to call home.

Jill and Scotty West are the proud parents of Nora Elizabeth West, born Dec. 30 weighing 4 lbs. 10 oz. She was 17.5 inches long. Her big brothers are Landon and Evan. Grandparents are Mary Jane and Jim West and Paula and Mark McClellan, of Roswell, New Mexico. All are home and doing fine.

Abby Yates was in town from Austin for Christmas with her dad Stephen Yates and we met them at Café Del Rio for a late lunch on Friday.

Abby had taken off from February to the end of June and went to Europe. She was telling us of her adventures starting in Portugal, France, Romania, Georgia, Spain, a boat to Morocco (which she liked), back to Portugal, Poland, France and Romania where she attended a music festival with friends from Austin. Then Italy and home because her dog was sick.

She used Google translator on her phone and took trains, a bus and flew everywhere. She has some stories to tell and we enjoyed hearing them. Abby even came on Saturday and took my Christmas decorations down and put them in storage. She was a super “elf.”

Mary Margaret Rowe celebrated her 60th birthday with family in Livingston at Catfish King. Her mother, Cordelia Gardner, reserved the room and Ernest and Ern Jr. surprised her because Mary Margaret thought they were hunting.

Ben Queen called me during the Christmas holiday and we had a good visit. He is in Arkansas and will be 95 in February. He keeps up with Lufkin on the computer.

Evelyn Durham and family: son Gregg and Vanessa Durham with Payton, Larry Wilcox, Sharon Wilcox, Saumer and Shelby Crumpler drove all night to Branson, Missouri, on Christmas Eve. They saw the Dolly Parton Stampede and enjoyed the five-course meal at the Christmas Show. Payton and Shelby went ice skating. Evelyn was hoping for snow. I saw Marilyn Oliver in the grocery store and she told me about Evelyn and family.

Football is almost over. Our Auburn Tigers did not make it. Will have to wait until next year. We had our black-eyed peas and cabbage, so maybe our 2020 will be a good one. Hope that your holidays are fun.

Janice Ann Rowe’s email address is

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