North Carolina Newspapers

    The Kings Mountain Herald
March 31, 2005
OBITUARIES
Dutch couple love America,
Kings Mountain just like home
BY ANDIE L. BRYMER
Staff Writer
Leo and Lily Smeijsters
have seen more of the
United States than some
Americans.
The Dutch couple have
visited Florida, California
and the southwest. Ohio,
Kentucky, Indiana and
Georgia have been on their
itinerary as well. For the
next three weeks the couple
will be in Kings Mountain
visiting Nell and Ken
Randall.
“I felt at home right
away,” Lily Smeijsters said.
The two couples met
through Nell’s daughter
Amy Cannon, whose hus-
band was stationed on a
Dutch military base. The
Smeijsters have gotten to
know several American cou-
“ples through the nearby
base.
Leo Smeijsters grew up
hearing good things about
Americans. When he was
one year old, U.S. troops lib-
erated his hometown from
the Germans. A few soldiers
stayed in their home. Just
down the street a banquet
hall was converted into a -
. cafeteria to feed the troops.
Lily Smeijsters has equally
good memories of the
Americans. Just after the lib-
eration, a military doctor
gave her mother medication
for tuberculosis. The drug
was not widely available to
Dutch citizens at the time.
Dutch families have
adopted graves of American
soldiers, placing flowers on
Memorial Day. Many fami-
lies bring flowers more
often. President George
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Bush is scheduled to Sheik
at the military cemetery this
spring. Some 8,302 soldiers
are buried there.
While taking one of his
frequent walks, Leo
Smeijsters discovered a
plaque commemorating the
liberation. The writing was
obscured with dirt.
“It’s not right, nobody can
"read it,” he said.
Now Smeijsters cleans it
monthly.
The couple say Cleveland
County with its rolling hills
is similar to their home.
They live just outside a city
near the German border
with a population of 60,000.
An American history
enthusiasts, Leo Smeijsters is
eager to visit the battle
grounds of Kings Mountain
and Brattonsville, where the
movie “The Patriot” was
filmed.
“He makes me ashamed.
He knows more about the
battle than I do,” Nell
Randall said.
Leo Smeijsters jokes that
he would like to immigrate
to the states for the pick-up
trucks. The Dutch man
recently sold his Toyota
because the monthly tax is
increasing from $15 to $75.
The wide open country
side here appeals to him.
“I'm not a city man,”
Smeijsters said. Hine
Gas prices are triple that
in the United States. One
gallon of fuel goes for $6.
“We can quit complain-
ing,” Nell Randall said.
. Many people, including
senior citizens, ride bicycles.
There are no school buses in
- the Netherlands. Children
walk or bike to school.
The Smeijsters describe
the Netherlands as approxi-
- mately the size of New
Hampshire. Americans are
often confused about the
name of the country. Its
proper name is the
Netherlands but it is divided
into two regions - North
Holland and South Holland.
Instead of states, the
Netherlands is made up of
13 provinces. These are each
approximately 10 times the
size of a county here.
The official language is
High Dutch, though the
Smeijsters first language is a ©
dialect common to their
region. They also speak
German. Leo Smeijsters
speaks a little French as
well.
The couple learned
English by watching
American television and
movies. The “Bold and the
Beautiful” is a favorite of
Lily Smeijsters. Making
friends with Americans also
helped.
Sunday, they attended
ANDIE BRYMER / HERALD
. Leo Smeijsters, left, Lily Smeijsters, Nell and Ken Randall enjoy a cross cultural friend-
ship.
church with the Randalls at
Bethlehem Baptist.
“I think they do more in
church here,” Lily Smeijsters
said. “They take everybody
into their conversation.”
The Smeijsters, like 98
percent of the Netherlands,
are Catholic. They say the
younger people there do not
attend church often.
Leo Smeijsters particularly
enjoyed meeting Sunday
school teacher Boyd Howell
who was a prisoner of war
during World War II.
The Smeijsters are amazed
at American buffet restau-
rants and the lower price of
meat.
“No wonder Americans
are so big,” Leo Smeijsters
joked.
Nell Randall also has vis-
ited the Smeijsters.
“It’s one of the prettiest
places I've ever been.
Everything is so clean,” she
said.
Randall was amazed by
the frequent visits family
members made. They often
drop in for coffee and con-
versation. The Smeijsters
were equally amazed to
learn she only saw her sib-
lings at holidays. i
Before retiring, Leo
Smeijsters worked as a coal
miner. Lily Smeijsters man-
aged a catering business.
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Dogs must either be on a
leash, fenced or inside. The
initial violation results in a
$15 fine. A second violation
within 60 days costs $25.
“I think they're doing a
good job but they have such
a big area (to cover),” he
said.
Last year animal control
investigated 57 dog bites
and impounded 252 ani-
mals, according to Mullinax.
“I just don’t want to see
someone get hurt,” the
councilman said. “I've
talked to (police) Chief
Proctor and he agrees there
is a problem.”
Mullinax asked Mayor
Rick Murphrey to proclaim
April or May dog owner
awareness month.
Information on leash laws
will be included in utility
bills.
Councilman Rick Moore
asked the mayor to appoint
a committee to study crime.
Moore said he wanted to
keep Kings Mountain from
developing the murder and
drug problems that Shelby is
experiencing.
*Council postponed voting
on a request by David
Faunce to rezone property at
the intersection of Ruppe
and Gold streets. Faunce
wants to see the property
developed into a new
urbanization-model neigh-
borhood. Homes and condo-
miniums would be built on
small lots to encourage
neighbors to know one
another. There would exten-
sive sidewalks. Faunce
asked for more time so he
could give the planning and
zoning board additional
information at its April
meeting.
Firefighter John Wright
was honored for 20 years on
+ the job.
County commissioner
Johnny. Hutchins attended
the council meeting.
The mayor proclaimed
Kings Mountain Woman's
Club Centennial Day and
Club Month. The organiza-
tion will celebrate its 100th
birthday April 9. President
Ann Gamble, centennial
committee chairwoman
Linda Dixon and members
Margaret Pearson and
Sandra Murphrey accepted
the proclamation.
The mayor announced
that Kings Mountain will
have a litter sweep April 16
to 30.
City customer apprecia-
tion day will be April 15
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Council members will be on
hand to meet residents.
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BERTIE MCGINNIS
KINGS MOUNTAIN - Bertie Lee Houser McGinnis, 87,
formerly of Charlotte and Hollywood, FL, died March 24,
2005 at Summit Place.
A native of Grover, she was the youngest daughter of the
late Clayborne and Hattie Turner Houser.
She was also preceded in death by sisters
Lillie Houser Lipe, Avalonia Houser Gregg,
and brothers Myles Houser, Manual
Houser and Marvin Houser.
She was a former employee of Hudson
Hosiery Mills, Charlotte, and Bobbie Brooks
of Hialeah, FL. She was a member of
Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, TN.
She is survived by her husband, Richard
H. McGinnis of Kings Mountain; son
Raymond Alan Coggins of Calabash; brothers Johnny
Houser of Charlotte, Herbert Houser of Blacksburg, SC, and
Willie Houser of Blacksburg, SC; sisters Corrine Bivens and
Shirley Canotas, both of Blacksburg, SC; granddaughter
Traci Lynne Stone of Charleston, SC; grandsons Todd
Coggins of Boynton Beach, FL and Corey Coggins of
Hermitage, TN; and great-grandson Jonathan Conrad Stone
of Charleston, SC.
A graveside service was held at 2 p.m. Monday at Sharon
Memorial Park, Charlotte.
Memorials may be made to Life Enrichment Center, 223
Kings Mountain Blvd., Kings Mountain, NC 28086.
Harris Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
JUNIOR COLE
KINGS MOUNTAIN - Junior Cole, 66, 1006 Shelby Road,
died March 28, 2005 at his home.
A native of Rutherford County, he was the son of the late
Addie Bostic Cole Sr. and Louise Blackburn
Cole. He was husband of the late Margie
Garren Cole.
He was retired from Donaher, Gastonia,
after 25 years. He was a member of the
National Watch and Clock Association. His
nickname was “The Clock Man.”
As he is set free from his illnesses he
leaves behind his children. Tempus Fugit -
“Time Flies” Dad.
He is survived by his sons, Don Cole and ==
wife Cheryl of Kings Mountain and Mike Cole and wife
Denise of Cherryville; daughters Crystal Love and husband
Darriel of Blacksburg, SC and Debbie C. Williams and hus-
band Brad of Kings Mountain; brother Ronnie Cole of
Rutherfordton; sisters Susie Arrowood and Wanda
Marsengill of Rutherfordton; grandchildren Amber Love,
Ashley Love, MaDonna Cole and Amie Cole; and special
caregiver Wanda Patterson.
» The funeral will be conducted by the Rev. Vernon Craig at
2 p.m. Thursday at Ollie Harris Memorial Chapel. Burial
will be in Westview Gardens, Bessemer City.
Memorials may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research
Hospital, 501 St. Jude's Place, Memphis, TN 38105 and
Hospice of Gaston County, P.O. Box 3984, Gastonia, NC
28054.
Harris Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
NANCY ROGERS
KINGS MOUNTAIN - Nancy Featherstone Rogers, 56,
died March 23, 2005 at Gaston Memorial Hospital,
Gastonia.
She was the daughter of Purvia Lee and Alice Lucille
Smith Featherstone. She was a member of Ragan Wesleyan
Church and Telephone Pioneers of America.
She is survived by’her sons, Lance Wright and Mandy of
Myrtle Beach, Jessie Wright and Angie of Gastonia, and
Dani and Wayne Dills; brother Lynn Featherstone and
Brenda of Pittsboro; sisters Barbara F. Franklin and Terrell
of Kings Mountain and Marsha F. Morrow and Carl of
Kings Mountain; and grandchildren, Chandler and Zachary.
The funeral was conducted by the Rev. Dick Whitener at 1
p.m. Saturday at Greene Funeral Service - West Chapel.
Interment was in Gaston Memorial Park.
Pallbearers were Wayne Dills, Tripp Morrow, Tommy
Hudson, Dale Meeks, Roger Dale Cook, and Ken Eudy.
Memorials may be made to Bessemer City Relay for Life,
c/o Ragan Wesleyan Church, 535 Oates Road, Gastonia, NC
28052.
Greene Funeral Service - West Chapel, Gastonia, was in
charge of arrangements. :
i
ANDIE L. BRYMER/HERALD
Flowers adorn the cross in front of Central United
~ Methodist. Many churches place flowers on a cross to sig-
nify the resurrection at Easter. During Lent a purple drape
is used. Black is used on Good Friday and Saturday to sig-
nify the crucifixion.
    

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