SundaySeptember 21, 2014,

Staff,Students Honor Beloved Janitor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 29 September 2010 19:19

By Joyell Nevins
Staff Writer

Donald “Mr. Don” McConehea worked in the Tecumseh school district for 33 years, ending his career at Park Layne Elementary.
Beloved by family, friends, students and staff, the quiet and faithful janitor passed away at the end of June.
This past Thursday, Park Layne held a Tree Dedication in his memory.

“This tree will help us remember Mr. Don, but then we’ll get to watch it grow and it’ll do what Mr. Don used to do – take care of us,” said Principal Greg Baker.
The dedication was attended by the entire school, with special guests from McConehea’s family.  Several non-related people came as well to remember their co-worker and friend. 
Director of Building and Grounds Mike Lucas, whose days with McConehea date back to when Lucas was a teacher, reminisced about how he and Mr. Don always used to talk about fishing and hunting – when they weren’t hard at work.
You didn’t have to ask him anything; he knew how to get things done,” Lucas said.
McConehea’s pastor, Bob Linkous of Grace Church of Alcony, also was present at the ceremony.  He read a poem called “Trees” by Joyce Kilmer, and talked about his own relationship with McConehea.
“I loved this man, and I can see here that you did too,” Linkous told the students.
Another poem was shared, this one actually written by a student on the day she learned of Mr. Don’s death.  Third grader Harley Adamson shared a story about the day she was eating lunch and threw her ring away.
“Guess who got it – Mr. Don,” she read, concluding with, “I miss you – see you soon.”Many remembered McConehea’s soft yet strong presence.
“He was one of those quiet giants that you meet,” said Baker, “He didn’t say a lot but you knew that you could always count on him.”
Co-worker Dana McKenzie added that when McConehea did speak, “he was firm and strong.”
“He was a real good man,” McKenzie said, “He loved the kids and loved this school.”
What follows is a poem written by McConehea’s daughter, Crystal M. Whitaker.  It was on the back of the program – maybe it could go in a separate box?:
My Father,
Donald R. McConehea
Remember me when you’re in the woods.
Remember me when you’re in the water.
Every time you catch the “big” one, clean your gun, or sharpen a knife.
Every time you gig a frog or set your traps.
Remember my hand patting you on the back.
Remember me when you chase after snipes or catch a lightning bug.
When you eat ice cream, drink a cold one or fry up fish.
Remember me when you think something is rough but never give up.
And when this life is hard stay tough.
Most of all remember me when you are with your family, when you smile, sing and laugh.
If I were here to tell you, I would tell you to remember me just like that.
-    Crystal M. Whitaker


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 September 2010 19:27

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