Suffolk legends remembered

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, January 8, 2015

In the past three days, I’ve had the privilege to write about three recently deceased Suffolkians who exemplified what the city is all about.

These three dedicated their lives to helping others, whether it was through pastoring a church, providing medical care for a rural community or being the familiar face folks knew they could count on at a local restaurant.

Bishop William P. Wiggins Sr. died Friday, leaving one of Suffolk’s largest churches to mourn his passing. Wiggins started working at Planters Peanuts as a young man and started a Bible study during his lunch hour. That Bible study eventually grew to become a church that met on Sundays in private homes.

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The church outgrew the members’ homes and eventually got a building on County Street, which has been expanded or added onto a couple of times. It’s now known as New Mount Joy Food for Living Ministries and provides a place for hundreds to worship, pray and find nourishment for the soul.

He handed over the pulpit about five years ago but remained an important part of the church.

On Jan. 31, a longtime waitress at George’s died. Shirley Winsor worked at the popular steakhouse for 36 years and, judging from Facebook comments on a story about her death, never failed to remember a customer, ask about their family and offer a shoulder to lean on.

“She just loved being there and being with the customers and talking with the customers,” her daughter Patti Philipps said.

That tenure with one employer is seldom seen in our ever-changing world. Winsor will be buried in her George’s uniform, a fitting tribute to her dedication to being what George Taglis described as “a very dependable and honest employee.”

It’s safe to say Winsor is now a legend at George’s.

This Wednesday, Dr. Julian McKenney died after a battle with leukemia. As Holland’s only doctor, he went above and beyond to help people.

His daughter, Julia McKenney, who worked with her father at the practice, was able to witness his dedication firsthand. She knew that he was providing a lot of medical care free of charge. She witnessed him giving money out of his wallet to patients. He would stop and help folks change a tire and started cutting the grass for a neighbor without being asked after her husband died.

McKenney will be sorely missed in Holland. Along with Wiggins and Winsor, they leave a legacy in three different realms — medicine, faith and food — but with the same goal: making Suffolk a better place to live.