Remembering a very special lady

Posted 5/5/19

Nancy Green, 83, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, died Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

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Remembering a very special lady

Posted

Nancy Green, 83, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, died Wednesday, May 1, 2019.

Typing that sentence was incredibly difficult for me, because Miss Nancy was a very special lady to not only me, but to everyone she ever met.

Nancy Green worked for nearly 65 years at The Star-Herald, a newspaper in Kosciusko. I met Miss Nancy for the first time on the morning of July 3, 2013, which was my first day as publisher of that newspaper.

While I was being recruited to come to Kosciusko, one of the last things the chief operating officer of the company who had recently purchased the paper told me about the place was that my only full-time reporter was 80 years old. I was still a few years shy of 40 at that time, and most of the reporters who had worked for me prior to that were closer to their teenage years than to their golden years. I quickly found out on that first day on the job that Miss Nancy was 78, not 80. I also quickly found out that this “little old lady” could work circles around most any other reporter.

Nancy was lifestyles editor at the Star-Herald when I came on as publisher, but her job duties included everything from handling calendar items and obituaries to writing feature stories to covering school board meetings. She also took outstanding photographs. Over her years at the newspaper, she wrote hundreds of stories and took thousands of pictures of the people of Attala County.

I consider my three years at the Star-Herald to be quite successful. Our team took a newspaper that had lost much of its connection to the community it served and built it back to the source of pride that it had been for most of its 150 years in business. That was only possible through the efforts of our entire staff, but especially Nancy. She had told other member of the staff before I made my arrival that she didn’t need that job, and she would just retire if she didn’t like the way things were headed. I must have won her over, because it broke my heart to see tears in her eyes on the day when I broke the news to her that I would be moving back to Alabama.

Nancy knew the importance of a newspaper to its community. She knew that we were there to record history and tell the stories of the people who call that area home. Nancy had a rolodex filled with names, numbers and addresses of just about everyone who had even visited Kosciusko and the surrounding areas since 1955. Having a living and breathing encyclopedia of that area sitting three feet from me was an invaluable asset. Even thought the publisher’s office was at the back of the building, I spent the majority of my time in the office sitting at a desk in the newsroom next to Nancy. That turned out to be an intelligent decision, because most anyone who visited that office was coming in to see Nancy. I was able to meet everyone in town and they all got to see that I had the Miss Nancy stamp of approval.

Personally, Nancy was also godsend to me and my family during our time in the Magnolia State. Miss Nancy became a surrogate grandmother for me and Andrea and great grandmother for all of our children. She never had children of her own, but Nancy loved little ones. She had a great relationship all our children, but she especially enjoyed spending time with Joy. She would constantly talk to Joy about her wild hair that was almost always hanging down in her face. Nancy was also amazed that my children were barefoot a majority of the time, again, Joy being barefoot constantly.

Nancy was also a role model for crime victims as she persevered after the violent death of her husband Charles in 2002. The couple had been married for 42 years at the time of Mr. Green’s death. Even a decade later when I met her, it was obvious that she adored her husband by the loving way that she talked about him.

I can’t imagine Kosciusko and Attala County without Nancy Green. I certainly can’t imagine The Star-Herald without her. It’s my hope that the newspaper and the community will use this as a way to recognize that special relationship they share.

Miss Nancy accepted me as her “boss” at the Star-Herald and treated my family like they were her own. I’m so thankful our family got to spend some time with Nancy and I got one last photo taken with her back in late December. I’m also extremely thankful for the time that I was able to spend with her at the little newspaper covering the Beehive of the Hills.

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He may be reached at 205-221-2840 or james.phillips@mountaineagle.com.