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In Memoriam - JAMES PICKETT WESBERRY
BIOGRAPHY: The Morningside Man
RUBY LEE PERRY WESBERRY
MARY SUE LATIMER WESBERRY
MARGARET SPRATLIN WESBERRY
LILLIAN RUTH WESBERRY JOHNSON
MORNINGSIDE BAPTIST CHURCH, ATLANTA, GEORGIA
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Ruby Lee Perry Wesberry

Ruby Lee Perry Wesberry Graduation Picture
Graduation Picture

 

If This Were All

 

If this were all of life we know

If this brief space of breath

Were all there is to human toil

If death were really death

And never should the soul arise

A finer world to see,

How foolish would our struggle seem,

How grim the world would be!

 

If living were the whole of life,

To end in seventy years,

How pitiful its joys would seem,

How idle all its tears!

There'd be no faith to keep us true,

No hope to keep us strong,

And only fools would cherish dreams,

No smile would last for long.

 

How purposeless the strife would be,

If there were nothing more,

If there were not a plan to serve,

An end to struggle for!

No reason for a mortal's birth

Except for him to die -

How silly all the goals would seem

For which men bravely try.

 

There must be something after death,

Behind the toil of man

There must exist a God devine

Who's working out a plan;

And this brief journey that we know

As life must really be

The gateway to a finer world

That someday we shall see.

 

E. A. G.

(presumed to be the poet Edgar A. Guest)

 

Note:  This poem is written in my mother's hand on the last page of a Bible I found while cleaning our my father's library in 1997.  The Bible is inscribed as follows:  "To Ruby Lee Perry:  For the best composition on the Life of Paul.  From your Leader….W. L Watkins" 

 

There is no date, but it must have been given to her in Park Street Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., when she was a teenager.  It is one of only two writings I have in my mother's hand.

 

My mother did not live her "seventy years".  She died at age 33 on Christmas Day, 1941, when I was seven.  Two younger siblings died in their early years and her sister, Margaret Perry, died at age 21. Perhaps that is why this poem meant a lot to her.  

 

Until my children were born, I was the only surviving member of the Perry family. My father, James P. Wesberry died exactly 51 years after my mother, on Christmas Day 1992.  I look forward to the "gateway to a finer world"…James P. Wesberry, Jr.

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Rev. Perry Sanders

From the sermon "The Tears of Jesus"

First Baptist Church of Lafayette, Louisiana - www.thejoyoflife.org
November 10, 2002 Morning Service
by Pastor Perry Sanders

 

There’s a magnificent song that used to be in our old hymnbooks. It will always be one of my favorite songs, and I will tell you why. My boyhood pastor was James P. Wesberry.

 

He was the one who baptized me in the little Salkehatchie River in lower South Carolina. He was the one who came out from the city church and preached to our little country church every Sunday afternoon.

 

His wife, Ruby, became ill with cancer. We prayed for him and for her and for the little boy, Jimmy. The Lord saw fit to take her to heaven.

 

Sunday after the funeral, he showed up at the little Colston Branch Baptist Church, to our great surprise. He walked in, and after the opening song, he thanked everybody for their prayers and love and support. And then he requested that we sing the song, “Does Jesus Care?” We were all crying, but the song helped us to dry our tears. Here are the words:


    "Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye
   To the dearest on earth to me?
   When my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
   Is it aught to Him? Does He see? 

   Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares.
   His heart is touched with my grief.
   When the days are weary, the long night dreary,
   I know my Savior cares.”

 

http://www.thejoyoflife.org/artman/publish/printer_147.shtml

 

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I remember Ruby Lee's mother, Leila Abigail Perry (my grandmother) asking that the hymn below be sung at her daughter's (my mother's) funeral:

"Til we meet again"...JPW, Jr.

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James and Ruby Lee Wesberry, 1929

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James Pickett Wesberry