Jane Thomas became a part of the Thomasson Lumber Company family on Jan. 10, 1983.

"The best birthday present I ever received," said Helen Thomasson, celebrating her birthday, the same day Jane was celebrating her 30th anniversary with the company.

Jane began her career with Thomasson "in the little green house on Golf Course Road," and has grown and moved with the company to the "big green office with white shutters and tin roof on St. Francis Drive" in 1991.

This lumber/timber business which Hugh and Helen Thomasson established in 1972, appropriately found its permanent housing on the golf course.

From his office window overlooking the sixth fairway, Hugh lived, and actually died, operating a company which won the Governor's Cup for Small Mississippi Businesses in 2010.

Jane says she has worked with a lot of wonderful people, and feels like family, in this "ever-changing business."

"Nothing stays the same, the market changes, the products change, the customers change."

Jane's "family" surprised her with an "in-office" anniversary lunch party on Jan. 10, an event she graciously shared with Helen.

Special guests at the party were Jane's husband, Steve Thomas, and their son, Steven Thomas.

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I first knew Deborah Duncan as a champion golfer.

My respect for her grew as she emerged "Star teacher" at Neshoba Central year after year.

Deborah reached a new plateau on Nov. 5, 2012, when she became "grandmother" for the first time!

Josh and Brandy Duncan Herrington of Starkville are the parents of Parker Isiah Herrington who has Deborah and Grandfather Jim Duncan vying for "holding time."

Deborah teaches Chemistry and Advance Placement Chemistry and Physics at Neshoba Central, while Jim teaches U.S. History and Economics. Congratulations to everyone!

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The "January Birthday Bunch" had breakfast with me on Jan. 15 as they have done for some twenty-plus years.

The breakfast casserole I served one year was rejected; therefore, the menu remains the same, bacon and sausage, eggs, grits and biscuits.

Of the fourteen in the original roster, which included Sue Anne Mars, Flynn Dobbs and Helen Tolbert, attending this year's party were Dawn Mars, Helen Thomasson, Babs Kirkland, Sue Wells, Hazel Allen, Peggy Dees and Billy Greenleaf.

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Sue Anne penned these, her thoughts on friendship, in November 1995, shortly before her death, even truer and sweeter now than when she wrote them.

"Life is made sweet because of friends we have made, and the things which in common we share. We want to live on, not because of ourselves, but because of those who care. It's in giving and doing for somebody else, on this all life's splendor depends. And the joys of this life, when you've summed it all up, are found in the making of friends."

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Philadelphians were saddened to learn of the death of Sam Hand.

Sam grew up in Philadelphia, the son of Minnie and Max Hand; his sister, Susie Hand Denson, lives in Birmingham.

Max operated a dry cleaning business on the present site of Philadelphia Middle School offices.

Minnie was an educator and one of Philadelphia loveliest ladies.

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We extend our sympathy to Sam's wife, Lynn, and the family.

Lynn's dad, J. C. Walton, operated Walton Hardware Company, at the present site of Shawn Byars' Dance Studio.

Her mother, Claudine Walton, was the love of many a kindergartner at the First Baptist Church.