Jo Westmeyer, as she is lovingly called by many, is a living historian for the Tyson Temple and the town of Versailles. She is still an active member for the temple and most events which honors the late Jim Tyson, whom she knew personally and was present when the Tyson Temple was being built.
These are some of the key milestones in Jo’s life:
- Born in New Marion in 1925.
- Oldest member of the Tyson Temple.
- Flower girl at Jim Tyson’s funeral.
- Electricity came to Versailles in the early 1930’s.
Edith Comer was born on January 19, 1919. She was married to her husband, Art Comer, for 49 years until his passing in 1989. She is passionate about scrapbooking as she loves history.
Every year on Labor Day weekend, Edith and the Comer family continue to host the Comer Watermelon Party where up to 800 people would come by to eat watermelon and be entertained by music and a friendly croquet tournament. Also happening on the Labor Day weekend is the Comer Family Wagon Train, to commemorate Edith and Art’s 1976 Bicentennial Celebration wagon train pilgrimage to Valley Forge, PA. Their wagon was the only privately owned wagon from Indiana to complete the said journey.
She has written and published The Hull And Comer Journals, a legacy gift for her 6 children, 26 grandchildren, 60 great grandchildren, 2 great great grandchildren, and counting. The journal will also give them the opportunity to know the family history, dating back to the 1700’s.
Secret for longevity
“Always keep busy and always keep moving forward. Do not worry about the past. Laugh a lot and eat vegetable soup.”
Stephanie is the author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days To A More Generous Life”, a speaker and life coach.
“I want to challenge people to live a more generous life - to be grateful, to not take things for granted and to live a purposeful life. So many people go through life of just day-to-day getting up and going to work, and I want people to be giving and living intentionally each day and not just exist. There’s so much we can do by pursuing our dream. Be bold, dream big and bless others in everything you do.”
“After a teacher begged me to write for our junior high newspaper, then becoming editor of the West Lafayette High School newspaper and attending journalism summer camp at Indiana University, I was sold. I was going to be a reporter.
I graduated from IU, then worked as an editorial assistant at the Purdue University Office of Publications, lifestyle reporter for the Chattanooga News-Free Press and a freelance writer for the Hammond Daily Star in Louisiana.
Following my husband, Bill, back north to Batesville three times for his career, I paused working to raise our two sons, Tony and Ben. But I was always writing to keep my chops up –newcomers,school and Cub Scout newsletters.
And, of course, I love to read, too, and encourage others to have that quest for knowledge. In fact, I purchased over 10,000 used books at Indianapolis library sales, repaired them and organized volunteers for annual book exchanges and sales at Batesville schools for 16 years.
Our family lived in Mexico City for a year. When we returned, I began my career at The Herald-Tribune, Batesville. First I was a part-time page designer, then reporter, assistant editor and now editor since 2014. And I still crank out the articles, believing even a small city like Batesville deserves a great newspaper. With just five employees, we are small, but mighty! My goal is to inform and entertain you, delight and inspire you.
I want to get as many voices in The Herald-Tribune as I can.
I have a passion to tell your stories.”
“I moved back to Versailles at age 27. A major reason for returning was thanks to a vision from my mom. She had saved hundreds of her dad’s columns (my ‘Paw’), and remembered that he always wished to write a book. Over the next year, I worked to make that vision a reality. The result was two volumes - one book on Indiana basketball, and one on baseball, track, football and other favorite topics in The Ol’ Coach Sez column. My grandmother, ‘Gigi,’ was able to enjoy both books before she passed on in the spring of 2018. Knowing that my mom and grandma cherish these books is what made the project feel like a true success.”
Jessica Gorman raise her four children by herself while staying true to her unique, beautiful self.
”Well, I just did it. My dad always say, ‘You do what you have to do,’ I always tell my children that we always have each other. I didn’t consider myself so disadvantaged - I mean, we have a place to live, we have food, and we did fun things…sure, I couldn’t buy new cars for them when they turned 16, but they always did well in school and were able to pursue higher education. Bernadette, Carter and Norah went to DePauw University while my youngest, Mary-Colleen went to the Art Institute of Indianapolis majoring in Fashion Design.
I’m so blessed with my children. We used to be considered poor by some standards but I always tell them, ‘The world is your oyster!’ and to do what makes them happy. They are doing so well with their lives now. I am very happy and proud of them.
In trying times, my faith has always been my refuge, and I know with God, I am not alone.”
On March 24, 2011, a semi crashed into her family pick-up truck along US 421 Versailles, as they were waiting to turn left onto County Road 450 S, and claimed the lives of her two daughters, Kacy Nonoka Indiana Brown, 7, and Grace Nana Brown, 6. Ai and her husband, Kris were critically injured and had to endure years of rehabilitation. For many years, Ai’s mobility was dependent on her wheelchair.
In this photo, you are witnessing two miracles:
(1) Alex Brown was born on Jan 5, 2014, almost three years after the tragic accident, hence making him a miracle baby.
(2) At the time of the interview and photography session in 2018, Ai was able to walk a short distance without the help of a walker, and just by holding Alex’s hand.
“It’s my first time to walk, holding my son’s hand! One of my dreams came true!”
Marita “There are many people who would say that their mother is the greatest and I’m no different. She was a stay-at-home Mother when we were young, which I believe is the hardest yet most important job of all! I can remember her stopping what she was doing to give her complete focus on whatever it was I believed was important at the time.
She is always busy baking wonderful goodies for bake sales, or just to share with family and friends. Our home always smelled wonderful because of it.
She is a woman of faith and that shows by the way she lives her life. What I can say is that she IS the greatest Mother and more importantly she is my greatest supporter and friend.”
Paige Parker Byard is the author for a children’s book titled ‘Mrs Ackley’s Birds.”
“I like to sit by this kitchen window and watch the birds in my backyard. This is my favorite spot in the whole house. While watching the birds, I am always curious of their thoughts and wonder what they would be saying to one another. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, so I would make up the conversations and that was how the story of Mrs. Ackley’s was created in my head. I had that idea for the book for about 5 years and when I decided to write it, it was completed in 3 months.”
Harold and Kathy, married for 46 years, have owned and operated the Hertel Shoe Store since they took over the business in 1979.
Hertel Shoe Store History
Harold “It has been an eight family shoe store for over 100 years. It was initially the Gausman Shoe Store, then the Brockman Shoe Store, the Donnell Shoe Store, the Meister Shoe Store and then the Hertel Shoe Store. It has been the Hertel Shoe Store since the 1920’s, for almost 100 years. It’s been owned by different families but it was always a family shoe store. There are very few family shoe stores around anymore.”
Kathy “In 1971, my dad moved the business over to this current building on E Boehringer St and we took over in 1979.My dad was looking to retire and we werelooking for a change. Back then, we lived inIndianapolis, and were starting a family, and thought Batesville would be a good place to raise our kids.”
Harold “Oh, what came to mind is when I was fitting a pair of shoes on a little one -year-old, and getting a hug when I put on the shoes. She really surprised me.”
Kathy “The horse over there has been a part of the shoe store for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl growing up, it was in the old shoe store. It’s so nice to hear families come in and have the moms say to their children, ‘I rode that horse when I was a little girl.’ That is very memorable and means a lotto me. We don’t know where exactly it came from but it has always been around.”
Harold “It’s called the Red Wonder Horse.”