The Deer/Mt. Judea School Board received notification in early February from a law firm in Missouri of a bequest of $100,000 to the Mt. Judea High School from the Billie E. Marshall trust. In addition to this $100,000, there was an additional bequest of $25,000 for the upkeep of Mt. Judea cemeteries, and a further additional bequest of $25,000 to the Mt. Judea Church of Christ. It was specified that these bequests were made in memory of Joseph T. Sexton, Dona (Criner) Sexton, and Mr. Marshall’s wife Eileen (Sexton).
Not many people at Mt. Judea ever knew Bill Marshall and very few there knew him well. Currently almost no one at Mt. Judea remembers him or even recognizes his name. It is reported that neither the Mt. Judea school superintendent nor any of the current members of the Mt. Judea/Deer school board recall ever hearing of Bill Marshall.
Bill had served in the Army in Korea during that conflict. He was a capable man, educated, liked to travel, visited overseas after Eileen passed away. He maintained a strong interest in Mt. Judea folks even after Eileen died, as related by Ava Nell Ewing Friddle, in that he was a subscriber to and supporter of Ava Nell’s family newsletter for many years, often corresponding with her personally.
Though Bill outlived Eileen for 35 years (he died in early 2018) I have been told that he never stopped grieving for his beloved Eileen. To the best of my knowledge Bill had not been back to Mt. Judea for many years.
Bill and Eileen are buried in the Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery in Kansas, not far from Kansas City.
Aunt Dona and Uncle Tim are buried in the Sexton Cemetery on Big Creek in Mt. Judea.
Upon learning of this bequest I should not have been surprised, considering what I know of this family. And, though the bequest is in the name of Bill Marshall and is happening years after the deaths of Tim, Dona, and Eileen, I feel certain we are seeing the influence of the entire family, as emphasized by the statement in the bequest that it is being done in their memory. We are seeing in their generosity the continuing of the always beneficial effects of love. We see the perfect illustration of the Bible’s teaching that love never fails. And maybe this bequest also reflects something of the goodness inherent in all of us and will influence us all for the better.
The Mt. Judea school children will benefit. The whole community will benefit. And, by extension the whole world is made better by such acts of love. Hopefully we will never forget the love and generosity of the Bill Marshall/Eileen Sexton/Tim and Dona Criner Sexton family.
Billy Frank Hefley
PS: The above words are offered so that you may have some increased knowledge of and appreciation for our benefactors, plus a glimpse of what life was like at Mt. Judea in an earlier time. And hopefully you may recognize some of the names of people and places.
Much of this article is from my memory, thus subject to error. I have also done some internet research, aided by my daughter Laura Krupka. And I have visited with a few of my Mt. Judea friends (and relatives) for their help, including Lina Jean Cook Gregory, Ilene Holt Nichols, Fama Cheatham Dickey, and I have also used information from my dear friend and relative former Mt. Judea resident Ava Nell Ewing Friddle, and wish here to express my gratitude to all of them.
For comments or corrections I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.