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Joe Spires: by himself an entire Spout Springs school reunion

He lives in Columbia, now, but he heads back to the north side of Green River almost every chance he gets. He's still the bigger than life figure he was fifty years ago, when he provided the title for one of Janice Holt Giles most beloved books, "A Little Better than Plumb."
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By Ed & Linda Waggener

Joe Spires will be 97 years young on his upcoming birthday November 29, 2017. He was seen at one of his favorite places, Green River Bait Shop, Saturday, July 8, 2017, bringing news to the stores regulars and keeping owners Kenneth & Lois Janes owners there for 34 years, informed.

He was taking the blow off that day, of the Columbia Gas Transmission Pipeline as just an expected event, but remembers almost every time it has been necessary.


In fact, he remembers about everything that's happened North of Green River - as much as anyone - in the past 100 years.

He remembers the days of the one room schools. He remembers when the school right at hand - he didn't need a school bus to get there, was bustling. He's the only one alive today of those who attended the Spout Springs School where one of the Chelf sisters, a daughter of the late Lee Roy & Nettie Chelf, he remembers, was his teacher.

He's the last alum alive today, saying that if a reunion or held today, he'd be the only former student in attendance.

The school building still stands, part of the Janice Holt and Henry Giles homeplace near Knifley, and he was one of the builders.

He became friends with and worked for the Gileses often, mainly during the construction of their log house.

He was there when Mrs. Giles wrote a "Little Better Than Plumb," and happened to be with them as they were struggling to find a name to give to the publishers. "Wow! I see it," he recalled telling Mrs. Giles, "just name it 'A Little Better than Plum,'" and the book by that title became one favorite.

He has done a lot of building in his life after being released from World War II.

And he recalled one of his most recent works, on the brick house closest to the pipeline explosions, he felt good about its quality - it had withstood the blast with slight damage.

He now lives in town, he said, but stays in touch almost daily with Neatsville, Pellyton, Spout Springs, Knifley and Egypt. Grant's Store is his most frequent hang-out he said. And the Hwy 551 Auction barn is another. He rarely misses a Saturday event there, he said - and that was where he was headed as he left.


This story was posted on 2017-07-16 08:54:30
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Joe Spires - a walking library of Green River history



2017-07-16 - Green River Bait, 5240 Knifley Road, Egypt, KY - Photo by Ed Waggener, ColumbiaMagazine.com(c).
When Ralph Roy Waggener started the list of People Who Make You Smile,, Patty Bunch nominated Joe Spires (Story) right off when she heard about it, and he joined that prestigious group along with fellow Above-the-Riverman Eb Arnold. Not only can he make anyone smile, he can tell them a thing or two, because he's seen it all, as he nears the century mark - he'll be 97 on November 29, 2017. At Lois & Kenneth Janes' store, on July 8, 2017, he was an indisputable expert on the history of the Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline blow-off, which scared the beejeesus out of anyone who had never heard the blast, but not him. He'd heard them all.

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Alan Bret Dickey, Breeding, KY (1956-2017)



2017-07-16 - 1765 New Columbia Road, Campbellsville, KY - Photo from L.R. Petty Funeral Home.

Alan Bret Dickey, Breeding, KY (1956-2017)


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