RODNEY COLVILLE LOVE
by Arvord M. Abernethy
from The Hamilton Herald-News
28 March, 1991
A SALUTE TO OUR TEACHERS
Love is the one we pay tribute to this week. Rodney love was born February
2, 1910, to Roscoe and Eva McKenzie Love in Denton County, Texas.
father was a school teacher and things were going well until his mother
passed away when Rodney was three years old. At that time he and his older
sister, Wynell, were taken to their grandparents, the John McKenzies of
Mesquite. The McKenzies were a highly respected and successful family so
this made a good arrangement for Rodney and Wynell in spite of their
Things worked really well for the children there, but
Rodney always remembered one occasion when it wasn=t
so pleasant. The children were playing church and Rodney was the preacher
and things were going well until all at once Rodney decided that he was
not called to be a preacher so he let out a few words that most preachers
don=t have in their vocabulary
and stepped down. Wynell ran and told their grandmother the words that
Rodney had used so she successfully administered a lasting lesson with the
aid of a peach tree switch.
The McKenzies had some teen-aged boys that liked to
tease Rodney so when he was eight years of age, he thought that he had had
enough and went to his grandfather Love to live.
About this time his father married one of the teachers
where he had served as superintendent. This lady was Idelle APeggy@
York, petite, ambitious young lady whom many of us got to know and love
after she moved here in later years. She was always affectionately called ALittle
Mommie@ by Rodney.
It was this writer=s
great pleasure to visit with her and write a story of her life. When she
was 93 years old, she was asked to speak to a United Way gathering at
Roanoke. That night she penned a little verse that I thought was cute,
going something like this: A93
is a ripe old age, so said an ancient sage; I know what I=ll
do about this age of mine, I=ll
reverse the digits and make mine 39.@
The new family life worked well for both Rodney and
Wynell as ALittle Mommie@
was a great encouragement to both. When Rodney finished the elementary
grades at Roanoke, she was one of the teachers, and his father was the
He graduated from the Denton High School in 1928 and
then worked for the Texas and Pacific Railway for two years before
starting his college work at North Texas State University, from which he
graduated in 1935. At the time he was there, ALittle
Mommie@ would also be taking
some work there. A practice that she continued even after she reached 80
years of age.
Soon after graduation, we find Rodney filling out a
teachers tern at Fairy
and thus Hamilton County claimed him from that time on.
In 1936, Rodney went to Pottsville
to be the principal, a teacher, and the coach. It was during these
early years of teaching that the inherent leadership qualities of Rodney
began to express themselves. We will hear much leadership as a coach, but
he possessed other qualities which we will see led to his great success as
Bert Schrank was one of the pupils and players who
received some of the benefits of Rodney=s
leadership. Bert recalls the encouragement that Rodney would give any
child, regardless of conditions, whether it be to conquer a subject of
study or an opponent on the playing field. The Pottsville teams won over
60% of the basketball games they played under him.
Rodney started six man football there at Pottsville and
jokingly told that the first six man game that he ever saw was the one
there and played by that team. Most of the players had never seen such a
game. The first year they only won one game, but the only losses, the next
year were district games. By the third year they were undefeated and
With the coming of WWII, Rodney became an instructor at
Sheppard Air Force Base at Wichita Falls. Then he was moved to the
Amarillo base where he taught for most of the time, finally being
transferred to Keesler Base at Biloxi, Mississippi.
After things settled down, he returned to this area and
in 1948 began his great years in Evant
as principal, teacher, and coach. It would be hard to list all the awards
and trophies that boys and girls won while Rodney was there. The girls
were district champs from 1951 to 1958 and went to state three times.
Almost the same could be said of the boys. In 1954 the boys set a state
record when they ran up 85 points against Rankin. When Rodney realized
that the boys were about to set a state record, he let every boy on the
team play some so they could say that they had played on the record
Rodney came to Hamilton
as high school principal in 1959 and served until 1972. Since this was an
administrative job and not as coach where there is a lot of publicity, we
did not hear his name so often, but if you will look in some of the high
school annuals, you will find him wearing many hats. It was not a A9
to 5" job for him. And we all learned to appreciate AProf.@
greatly for his efforts.
Along about this time we find another character entering
our story: Gayle Campbell by name. Gayle was a native of Lamkin and lived
back there when it was a thriving little town and had many businesses, a
railroad that shipped out a lot of cotton, and a school system of some 200
After finishing school at Lamkin and doing college work,
she began her teaching career by teaching at Batesville in far south Texas
where her sister Sybil (Mrs. Robert DeLaney) was teaching.
In 1944, Gayle enlisted in the U. S. Navy and was sent
to Washington, D. C. Where she worked in the Navy Building for the
duration. After that she returned to Houston and began teaching; a place
she filled for some 25 years. One of those years she taught for the Gulf
Oil Company in South America.
After her father died, Gayle returned to Lamkin to take
care of her mother until her passing. Then she did some teaching in the
Gatesville State School and also some in the Comanche schools.
Gayle met Rodney at some of the school functions but
nothing had developed. Mark and Freddie Sills decided they could help the
situation some by inviting both of them to their home for a social
occasion. It worked, the friendship grew into a full grown blossom and
they were married May 24, 1975, and made their home in the redone Campbell
home there in Lamkin.
Theirs was a full, active life there in the community
and in the United Methodist Church until Rodney was stricken with an
extended illness that led to his passing on September 2, 1985. He was
buried in the Gentry=s
Mill Cemetery were many of the Campbell family are buried. Among
Rodney=s keepsakes are several
letters and notes from former students expressing their appreciation for
him for the encouragement that he gave them. A letter from a student to
Gayle after Rodney=s passing is
POTTSVILLE EX-STUDENTS HONOR PROF LOVE WITH
The Hamilton Herald-News
29 September, 1994
When the Pottsville Ex-Students Association has its annual
reunion Oct. 8, a new scholarship will also get its start.
Every year since 1953, a group of Pottsville ex-students have
met at Whitney Lake to honor Rodney Love, their teacher and coach. Endearingly
attended every year as long as his health permitted. After his death in
1985 the meetings were continued in memory of Prof Love. Often the conversations
turned to how his memory could be further perpetuated.
Last October the group had a banquet at Pecan Creek Inn
honoring their wives, many of whom had also been students of Prof. Love, and
Mrs. Gayle Love, Prof=s widow. Other
students and friends also attended.
At this meeting, Bill Rea, former student, introduced the idea
to form a scholarship trust honoring the memory of Prof Love since he had
devoted his career to education.
. ... ... ... ... ...
Prof. Love came to this area in the spring of 1936 at the
request of Fairy High School to fill a temporary teaching position finishing
that school term. In the fall of 1936 he was hired by the Pottsville School as a
teacher and coach. He soon became the principal of the school and head coach. It
was soon apparent that his methods and actions would inspire students to use the
highest principles to achieve academic superiority and athletic skills
attainable. It was his objective to keep students in school. Dismissal was never
a threat or concern. He helped everyone regardless of their need or background.
He left the Pottsville position to engage in the war effort by
teaching aeronautics classes in Amarillo and in Biloxi, Miss.
After the war, Love returned to the area to become principal
and coach at Evant. It was here that he took several athletic teams in
basketball and baseball to state competition.
He completed his career as principal at Hamilton High School.
He met and married Gayle Campbell and they lived in the Lamkin
community until his death in 1985. Mrs. Love expressed great appreciation for
the scholarship trust and has given a donation to start the trust.
Robert Williams, longtime local merchant, retired, says that
it is fitting that a scholarship trust in Love=s
name be established, for he was the best handler of young people he had ever
known. He also said that his complete devotion to his step-mother, who raised
him from the age of 3 when his mother died indicated to him the caring person
Shared by Roy
ACROSS THE FENCE