This morning I looked up the term “Pillar of the Community” and up popped a picture of Homer Gene Wasson.
I realize Homer’s family feels the loss. However, they are not alone. The entirety of Navarro County just suffered a huge loss.
I know, we often lose people that mean a lot to the community. There are any numbers of “pillars” in any given city or town. However, it is unusual for someone to mean so much to two towns, a county and a school.
Kerens, Corsicana, Navarro County and Navarro College will mourn the loss of Homer Wasson while simultaneously celebrating his life.
I first met Homer and Jann back in 1977 when I came to Corsicana. I don’t recall the specific time or place of the first time I met him.
What I do remember was that Homer treated me like he had known me all my life. Homer reminded me a lot of my dad, whom I lost 15 years ago this month.
Both men were cotton farmers, lifelong Christians and civic minded. The two had a lot in common for two men who had never met.
Homer was a one-time president of the Kerens Chamber of Commerce. He was a strong supporter of youth sports in Kerens, including contributing a couple of pretty fair athletes to the local teams. He was an elder in the Kerens Church of Christ.
Homer didn’t have to tell anyone he was a Christian. His faith and Christianity were evident just by the way he treated everyone, and I do mean everyone.
Navarro College was literally a part of Homer’s DNA. He graduated from there in 1951 when Navarro was nothing more than a dream of some of the local fathers and a collection of discarded buildings from the military.
In fact, when Homer started serving on the Board of Navarro College, I know they were still playing basketball in a converted airplane hangar, and I think the campus still had some of the old barracks around as what passed for dorms.
I don’t know of any school in the country that saw the growth and modernization that Navarro College saw during Homer’s 30 years of service on the board, of which 17 were years in which he was board president.
Navarro went from being a national champion in golf, with a golf team consisting of James Stubbs and … that’s it, James Stubbs, to becoming nationally recognized in a host of sports as well as being an innovator in academics and vocational training.
I am so glad Homer was around to see son Hal come home. That’s Corsicana’s loss. You see, in addition to all the accomplishments at NC Homer presided over, none was bigger than having Hal come back to bring Tiger football back to the place of prominence it has historically held.
I know he was proud of all three of his offspring. I don’t know Sonda, but I’ve considered Hal a friend since back when we both had dark hair …yep, that long.
(When Hal was in Southlake, the higher he was ranked, the closer I claimed our friendship to be.)
That’s not the only family link. When Tim was at Navarro, he and my sister Tammie were classmates and friends (and I think a little math knowledge might have been passed back and forth between them.)
And, I see where my old friend Jimmy Glenn officiated at the service celebrating Homer’s life. (and when I say ‘old friend’, I mean old.
Jimmy and I go back to ACU together, and he is certainly older than I.)
Homer’s legacy will live on, through all three of his children, through the Kerens ISD where he was also a board member, through the growth, innovation and athletic accomplishments of Navarro College, his church and the example that will live on through those children and all who knew him.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Hal, Sallie, Tim, Sonda, Jann and all the grandkids.
May God comfort all of you in your loss. It may be a sad occasion, but you have so much to celebrate. I know he was so proud of all of you. God Bless.