Year is 1978: First test-tube baby is born

Posted 7/12/19

It was over 40 years ago that President Jimmy Carter was serving as the 39th president of the U.S. when Lee Iacocca was fired as president of Ford Motor Company by Chairman Henry Ford II. The …

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Year is 1978: First test-tube baby is born


It was over 40 years ago that President Jimmy Carter was serving as the 39th president of the U.S. when Lee Iacocca was fired as president of Ford Motor Company by Chairman Henry Ford II. The world’s first test-tube baby, named Louise Brown, was born in Oldham, England. The event was hailed as a medical breakthrough on the order of the first heart transplant. As the first human conceived outside the womb, she gave hope to millions of childless couples.

An accord between Egypt and Israel was signed at Camp David, Maryland, after negotiations were overseen by President Carter (Dickson, Paul. “From Elvis to E-Mail.” Springfield, Massachusetts: Federal Street Press, 1999, pp. 235-36).

Fast forward to July of 2019 and the news would be that Lee Iacocca has died and would be recalled as the father of the Mustang and the man who saved Chrysler.

Back in Coats in 1978, many of its folks were also making the news. Mrs. Rob Adams, Mrs. O.B. Ennis and Mrs. Mack Hudson of the Oakdale Club Home Demonstration Club had made donations to the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Red Hill Free Will Baptist Church, 4-H Club, Heart Fund, Cancer Fund and Cystic Fibrosis (Daily Record, May 8, 1978).

Three educators from Coats had received plaques at the North Carolina Association of Educators’ annual banquet. Hattie Jones, Sarah Dupree and H. Tallie Dupree were retiring at the end of school year (Daily Record, May 7, 1978).

The new officers for NCAE had several Coats faculty members. Vice President Madie McDougald, Secretary Linda Turlington and Treasurer Mary Cole- were listed in the May 9, 1978, Daily Record edition.

Juanita Hudson, awards chairman of the Coats Woman’s Club, presented Joyce Brewer a plaque for selection as 1978 “Woman of the Year.” You have read about Mrs. Brewer in several Coats Museum News columns and know how deserving she was to be awarded this honor.

Mrs. Howard Penny presented the 1978 “Family of the Year” award to the H.L. Sorrell Jr. family and she shared that Mr. Sorrell was a former educator at Coats High School before serving as director of the Driver Education and Traffic Safety in Harnett County Schools. He was president-elect of the Capital Area Driver Education and Traffic Safety, was a life member of NCAE and the National Educators Association and served as a member of the board of directors of North Carolina Driver Education and Traffic Safety.

Mrs. Penny also shared that Mrs. Sorrell attended Campbell College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before becoming an English teacher at Coats High School. The family was involved in Ebenezer Presbyterian Church. Their daughter, Lenee, was a first-grader at Coats where she was the Harnett County winner of the “Child Fund” poster contest and also the “Eat Right-Think Right” poster and art contest. Lenee was a student of ballet, a junior choir member and one of God’s Little Christians. She had a three-year perfect attendance record at Sunday school. Her younger brother, Bryan, was a participant in the Harnett County Public Library story hour and had two-year perfect attendance in Sunday school at Ebenezer (Daily Record, May 11, 1978). Do churches give perfect attendance now?

This I do know. Death had taken one of the area’s well-known residents on Thursday. Randall E. “Buck” Turlington had died at the age of 71. Two sons, John and Tom Turlington, and daughters, Sue Corbett, Rosa West and Betty Stephenson, survived him along with siblings, Henry A. Turlington Sr., Hilton Turlington, Bill Turlington, Gertrude Byrd, Alvah Wolfe, Ann Underwood, Hilma Croom, Minnie Morgan and Allene Honeycutt. His wife was Josephine Forbes Turlington (Daily Record, May 12, 1978).

Mary Jo Mann, Harnett County Primary supervisor for the Harnett County Schools system, helped plan the Summer Institute for primary teachers to improve the reading program (Daily Record, May 12, 1978).

Marc Powell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Graymon Powell, had received his first promotion in the US Air Force when he was promoted to airman. He was assigned to the Randolph Air Force Base in Texas (Daily Record, May 15, 1978).

Marc and Jean have lived all over the country and it is so ironic the timing of their returning to Coats a short while back. They have remodeled his family’s home place, beautified the flower gardens and become involved in the community affairs. What is ironic about that? Marc and Jean have been able to revisit their past as recorded in the 1977 and 1978 Daily Record editions. Their returning to Coats was perfectly timed to read all about themselves in the Daily Record’s Coats Museum News column.

Mayor Ronald Coats drafted proclamation recognition for the “Police Memorial Day” held during National Police Week (Daily Record, May 16, 1978).

Edna Stewart Hawley was installed as president of the VFW Auxiliary (Daily Record, May 23, 1978).

Who remembers this event? A tanker carrying 5,500 gallons of gasoline ran off the road in order to avoid collision with a car driven by Patricia Glover of Route One, Coats, who was transporting a load of children. The Coats Grove fire chief, who helped with the assistance of three other towns’ firefighters, said one spark could have made a disaster heard by the entire county. No one was seriously injured, but the courageous firefighters had some tense moments (Daily Record, May 30, 1978).

Kathy Lynn Williams, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Williams, was selected as second runner-up of the Miss Coats Junior Order on May 25 at the Coats Community Building (Daily Record, May 30, 1978).

The school term for 1977-78 had come to an end. William Henry Turlington had been named as valedictorian and Liza Ann Fuquay and John Sherwood Langdon were named as co-salutatorians of the 1978 graduating class. The marshals were Chief Betsy Pollard, Emma Jo Knox, Keith Faulkner, Vivian Faircloth, Beth Garriss, Sharon Rowland, Kathy Turlington, Joey Ferrell, Karen Fuquay and Van Powell.

Andy Joyner was seeking the position of Harnett County Surveyor (Daily Record, June 5, 1978).

The 1978 yearbook, “The Echoing Memories,” was dedicated to Dava Gage. Business Manager Donald Ennis and Editor Henry Turlington made the presentation. Assistant editor was Betsy Pollard and assistant business manager was Shelia Pope. Madie McDougald was annual sponsor while Alda McNeill was copy adviser and Marie Salmon was photography adviser (1978 Coats yearbook, “Echoing Memories”). Do you recognize those names?

Next week’s column will contain moments to remember from that 1978 yearbook but for now let’s read that Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Williams of Route One, Coats, announced the birth of a daughter at Rex Hospital. Mrs. Williams was the former Catherine Hayes (Daily Record, June 5, 1978).

Albert Gregory, school board chairman, and Joe Hawley, principal, presented the seniors of 1978 their diplomas. They were: Randy Allen, Brent Beasley, Duane Beasley, Glenda Byrd, Joan Byrd, Vincent Charles, Jan Coats, Nora Cole, Julia Daniel, Robert Dunston, Donald Ennis, Scott Fleming, Lisa Fuquay, Michael Godwin, Shirley Green, B.W. Holland, Jennie Holmes, Cathy Honeycutt, Jimmy Horton, Lorie Hudson, Deborah Hupfeld, William Jackson, Michael Johnson, Liza Lamm, John Langdon, Shelia Loyd, Max Matthews Jr., Terri McGill, Garry McKinnie, Tommy McLamb, Garry Myatt, Kenneth Norris, Peggy Norris, Sherry Norris, Marcia Parrish, Diane Pleasant, Donald Poole, Jacqueline Rowland, Willie Royster, Karen Shannon, Linda Snyder, James Sorrell, Kim Spears, Deborah Spencer, Deborah Stewart, Martha Stewart, Rhonda Stewart, Tonya Stewart, Betty Surles, William Styons, Teresa Tart, William Turlington, Penny Turlington, Darlene West, Bonnie Whittington, Glenn Williams, James Williams, Raline Williams, John Wolf Jr., Vickie Wood, Bruce Manucy, Richard Smith and Steve Weaver (“Together We Leave” 103-104).

Our Bryan and Lenee’ were so fortunate to have many good friends while growing up in the Coats community and it gave us the opportunity to interact with the parents of those friends. We were so sad to read that Eddie Mize had died. We cared much for their children, Randy and Angela Mize. Eddie had combated cancer for many years but he was always so upbeat when we would run into Joan and him at various occasions. We are better for having known this family and we lovingly have given a memorial for Eddie to the Coats Museum.


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