Lonnie Wilson Jordan
February 23, 1917 –February 21, 2004
It was turning into Wilson’s service station on Monday, January 31, 2005 that resulted in the accident which took my mom’s life. She was making what would have been her “Saturday rounds” (to Kitty’s, Bojangles, Wilson’s and Aline’s) had the weather on Saturday not been icy. She and Wilson had a close bond and talked a lot. For example, when he told her of his plans to update his funeral arrangements, she immediately went and did likewise, stopping in unannounced at Lady’s funeral home and finalizing the details of her own funeral a year or so before her death.
Wilson was an unusual Jordan, clearly an introvert and (by my observations) pretty private. I never heard him talk much about worldly affairs—I think his main interest was his business and his family. He did keep up with world affairs and local news and had some definite opinions about things, according to daughter Joye.
He was named after his father, and he looked more like Lon than any other sibling. In 1966, I “interviewed” each of the siblings at the reunion and I asked him how he got the nickname “Wick”—assuming it was the makings of a good story. Nope. “The kids just started calling me that,” he said. “And it stuck.” So much for that interview. He did tell the story about when he was to wait at the gate for the cows (which I assume his siblings were gathering). “I guess I waited a little long,” he said, “because Leonard had to come along and clean me.” So he was good for a story after all.
Like Leonard and other Jordans, he has been known to take his own tomatoes to lunch at the Centerview restaurant. He would peel them at the table with his pocket knife (or ask for a knife) and would share with any at the table. He ate a tomato every meal, 365 days a year—resorting to the canned variety (his own) when all else was exhausted.
Like his brothers whom he had outlived, he died suddenly at the end of a routine work day and two days short of his 87th birthday in 2004. He had just made his last delivery for son Charles at Brother’s Tire Service in North Kannapolis. He had taken off his shoes to relax. When Billie told him dinner was ready, he told her he had a terrible headache, most unusual for him. As she put a wash cloth on his head, Billie called the station and Wayne said someone would be right there.
The help came in the form of one of his good friends, Scottie, a Kannapolis policeman who lived nearby, who rushed to the home to help as Wilson collapsed. “Is that you, Scottie?” Wilson asked. “Yes,” Scottie responded.
“Where are you taking me?” Wilson inquired.
“We are going to the hospital.” Scottie replied.
And those were his last words—he died at the hospital in a matter of just over a day.
At the funeral home, as the family was receiving guests, son-in-law Gary Wyne told the story about being with Wilson in the back yard near a pecan tree. Wilson looked into one of the trees and saw a squirrel enjoying one of his pecans. He went inside, got his .22 rifle and shot the squirrel squarely between the eyes—then removed the nut from his mouth as he lay lifeless on the ground. Gary said, “Daddy in law, you shot him between the eyes.”
“Let that be a lesson to you, son,” said the ever-understated Wilson. That line became a family joke which lasted for some time.
I enjoyed Joye’s visits to my house—particularly on Christmas Eve when she and her dad would visit for a while before we opened gifts. I always thought Joye was beautiful and if she hadn’t been my cousin I would have easily fallen in love! She lives in McLean, VA, retired from a career in the CIA, having spent much time in Australia. She has a daughter, Joye Adair, who is employed as a speech therapist in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools.
Charles has taken over his dad’s business and lives in Charlotte, NC. Charles and his wife Terry have two children Weston and Mary Stuart.
Sibilng Stories: Ester tells the story of Wilson milking the cow as Leonard watched. Nearly finished, the cow kicked over the bucket, angering Wilson tremendously. He threw the remaining milk into the face of the cow, saying, “Well, you can strain it again!”
Joye’s recollections of life as a Jordan:
- Dad used to laugh about riding the cows until they could no longer walk.
- Some of the great breakfasts his mother use to make such as ham, red-eye gravy and etc. for such a large family that never went hungry.
- The children having to double up in the bedrooms due to the number of children.
- The favorite bedroom was Granddad and Grandmother’s always affectionately referred to as the” breeding room.” If the door was closed you knew another child would be on the way in nine months.
- Dad always wondered why Grandpa was only interested in raising cotton instead of veggies–a good cash crop that would sell out when taken to Charlotte. Grandpa believed that cotton had to be the main crop as most other farmers did.
- I often remember the time I got to stay a week with Grandpa and Grandmother Tincie. Dad had given all of us instructions to stay away from the fishing pond for fear of snakes and I could not swim. As soon as dad was headed up the road in the truck, Grandpa took me by the hand and off we went fishing.
Aunt Nezzie/Uncle Doyle
- I will always remember their buying Christmas gifts all year long to take down to the Hancock home Christmas Eve and the gifts given to those who were less fortunate.
- The love of peanut butter that both of them ate. They were never out and you knew where it was kept.
- Seeing Uncle Doyle sitting on the sidewalk at Plant #4 waiting to go to work. I would pass by and toot the horn and that hand would come up with a big wave and smile. Meeting Aunt Nezzie lots of times at Rose’s Dime store before her going to work and eating lunch at the counter.
- Helping box up worms for customers.
- Calling up Uncle Doyle on a Saturday afternoon asking him if he wanted a date for the day to go and see “Old Yeller.” Without hesitating he took me that afternoon to the Gem Theater. I was around seven.
Aunt Aline & Uncle Harold
- How they always showed affection to you and telling you before they left that they loved you.
- How involved they were in their church and the many people they helped through the years.
- Remembering I was born on their wedding day and always knowing how many years they had been married.
- Raising two wonderful children who have carried on the family tradition of loving and giving.
Uncle Bo/Aunt Quay
- One of the proudest things my dad felt he had accomplished was to assist Uncle Bo in making a decision in quitting farming and going into the service station business.
- Always being able to stop in their home anytime and enjoying the visit. There was always an invitation to have a meal with them.
- Aunt Quay is an excellent cook.
- The camping trips that Uncle Bo, dad and Gary had going fishing and Gary taking the lead of cooking.
- was one of the most outgoing , cheerful and had a joking way about him to make others laugh and be happy.
- His sweet smile will always be remembered.
- Being thankful that he bought the old home place so we have a family gathering place for many years.
Uncle Blease/Aunt Josie
- All the fun I had the many times they took me to the beach.
- The time Uncle Blease helped me win at the YMCA when the red team was running against the blue team (in membership drive).
- I had a strong supporter Uncle Blease on the blue team and guess what? We won!
- All the pecans that were gathered through the years and being given some to enjoy.
- Taking Gary and me in 1967 through the mill on a VIP tour and visiting Aunt Nezzie on the job.
Aunt Kitty/Uncle Ed
- Enjoying hearing her play the piano especially “Sugar in the Morning”. I would always say, play it again.
- Her sweet giggle and smile that made you feel happy and the sparkle in her eyes.
- Collecting from Uncle Ed on Saturday mornings at Winn Dixie from all those peas sold thru the week. He always called me the “PEA Girl”.
- The two fine young men that they raised and the love given to aunt Kitty up to her last days.
Uncle Lloyd/Aunt Earlene
- The fun I had going down to stay several times in the summer. They tried to keep Jimmy from chasing Kay and me with toads and the loose snake that was never found in the house.
- All the good visits on Sundays and the wonderful food that was provided. There was always plenty of it.
- The kind and gentle disposition that Uncle Lloyd had and the outgoing person Aunt Earlene was.
- My dad was married to Billie Watkins Jordan for 63 years.
- Mom kept the home front going during dad’s five years in the service.
- Mom and Dad raised two children who are well-rounded and successful contributors to society.
- Mother had a big part in keeping the pea business going on the Kannapolis end while dad was bringing a load from Fla. or S.C.
- Dad always enjoyed listening to “gospel music” tapes while riding in the truck.
- Enjoying many years of going to the all night singing programs in Charlotte on Easter weekend.
- Enjoying the trip to Camp Rucker several years ago after 50 years for dad to show the family his barracks. They were gone and he was ready to leave.
- Having fun riding on the tractor and all the gardens we plowed.
- All the door to door selling tomatoes. Of course, folks wanted to buy from a five/six yr. old. How could they say NO.
- Many trips that Charles and dad took to the mid-west and California. Enjoying visiting Elmore Miles.