I came into this world on Oct. 11, 1951, when Dr. William Bishop slapped my behind at the Bane and Bishop Medical Center in Lawrenceville. Mama and Daddy, Ben and Jewel Harper Barnes, left this world a long time ago.
I was a Christian, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a photographer, a journalist, a friend and writer. I loved my Lord, my family, my church, my friends, and the people in the communities I covered as a journalist for over 30 years. I loved dogs, firefighters, police officers, babies, birds, music, singing, dancing, photography, driving, watching my kids play ball, Grey’s Anatomy, Blue Bell Ice Cream, and editing pictures in PhotoShop. I really disliked politicians, phony people, and seafood. I always rooted for the underdog.
I married right after graduation from Brunswick Senior High School, then celebrated the birth of my first son, Wayne Crosby Jones, Jr. (Coby and Dawn of Bracey), two years later. My second son, Thomas Benjamin Jones (Ben of Newport News), followed five years later. Just two years after that, I was thrilled to give birth to my only daughter (Jenny Rebecca Jones of Richmond) after raising two rough and tumble, yet precious little boys. I especially enjoyed dressing Jenny in pinafores and bonnets!
I was features editor for my high school newspaper and began my professional journalism career in 1979 as a receptionist/feature writer for the South Hill Enterprise office in Lawrenceville. I worked hard and was “old school”–meaning I learned how to be a reporter and photographer from seasoned professionals who knew what they were doing. I learned how to write by reading good writers. I asked questions that needed answers and exercised an insatiable curiosity daily. I believed the most important aspect of being a good journalist is to be a good listener… to really hear what people are saying…understand it and report it accurately and fairly.
Even though I earned many writing, photography, and newspaper design awards on the national and state level over the years, I was more proud of the fact that I once had a news byline on the front page and a birth announcement announcing the birth of my daughter on the social page of the same newspaper!
I covered a fire that day, met the news deadline for the paper, and then went into labor that evening. I gave birth and called my editor early that morning to dictate my birth announcement for the social page!
I worked my way through the newspaper ranks and eventually became editor/general manager of the same paper where I began my journalism career. I also served as editor and/or reporter for the Brunswick Times Gazette in Lawrenceville, The Independent-Messenger in Emporia, and The Perquimans Weekly in Hertford, NC.
One of my greatest honors was when both Hertford Town Council and the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners proclaimed Dec. 13, 2012 as Cathy Wilson Day in Hertford and Perquimans County.
I followed my children everywhere. I served as a PTA president, state PTA committee chairman, Rotarian, a Red Cross volunteer, little league team mother, Cub Scout Den mother, Senior Saint, and church choir member for over 50 years. I was known by the kids in the community as “the newspaper lady” and was known to carry my camera everywhere I went.
I shared life with my late husband Berle W. Wilson of Elizabeth City; children Coby and Dawn Jones of Bracey, Ben Jones of Newport News, Jenny Rebecca Jones of Richmond, step-son David Wilson of Hatteras Island; grandchildren Macie Jones, Brady Jones, Hailey Grace Jones, Andrea Wilson, Simon Wilson; sisters Diane Barnes of Mt. Vernon, Iowa and Laurie Barnes Elmore (James) of Prince George, Va.
I will rest well in my nightgown in Oakwood Cemetery in Lawrenceville next to my parents following a graveside service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
Arrangements are by Williams Funeral Home of Lawrenceville, VA. Condolences may be expressed at www.williamsfuneralhomeva.com.
One last note of advice: always buy life insurance or marry an older man who has lots of it!