Teacher, historical society co-founder remembered
Independent Photo || Submitted
REMEMBERING CONNIE WIREMAN: Connie Wireman, a retired teacher and one of the co-founders of the Magoffin County Historical Society, passed away on June 20.
Constance Arnett Wireman was a woman with strong beliefs. Beliefs that she utilized to better her home and community throughout her life.
Family always came first, whether it was the family she was born into, married into or raised herself.
She was born on July 31, 1940, on Whitely Branch in Fredville, KY, to Arvel W. Arnett and Mae Shepherd Arnett. She was the first of four daughters. Her sisters, Nina Arnett, Carolyn Arnett (Henry) Coons and Madgie Lea (Vic) Arnett Davis completed the family. From a young age, Connie and her sisters were taught to look out for each other. Arvel's favorite quote was "all for one and one for all" and his four girls knew the depth of meaning that quote had for him and how it applied to his quartet of daughters. The girls were raised on the family farm. Mae was a talented seamstress and taught Connie to embroider and quilt, two hobbies that Connie enjoyed for most of her life, creating many treasured quilts and other items. Another hobby that she loved was photography. She had an eye for capturing the beauty in nature and the people around her.
Connie married Austin Wireman on August 1, 1963. Austin loves to tell about the first time he saw Connie, when she was four years old playing with her sisters in their yard. Years later, Connie's cousin Edna Arnett Meadows would play matchmaker for the two young teachers and after a friendly date at the Connelley Farm fair, Austin and Connie were inseparable. For 56 years, the couple lived in the Fredville community and raised their family. They had two children, Kimberly Mae Wireman (Jeff) Rudd, and William Austin Wireman and four grandchildren, Delaney Marie (Will) Wireman-Skaggs, Elijah Jamison Rudd, Levi Austin Rudd and Benjamin Jacob Thomas Rudd.
Along with loving her children and grandchildren dearly, she treasured time with her nieces Elizabeth Anetta Coons (Heath) Buckler and Laura Mae (Kelvin) Wireman and their children Matthew, Rachel, Claire and Caleb.
Connie believed in education. She committed much of her life to gaining her own education and educating others. After graduating high school, she attended Berea College for two years and then transferred to Georgetown College where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. During those years, she would ride a bus to college and could only come home during long breaks. Her dedication paid off and she got her first teaching job in Harlan County, Kentucky following graduation. She had many fond memories of her time in Harlan, sharing a rented room with another teacher and her first students made a lasting and positive impression on her.
In 1962, she moved back to Magoffin County and started a job at the John T. Arnett Elementary that turned into a 27-year career. Connie taught kindergarten and first grade. She fully realized the importance of her job in teaching her students to read and write, developing the building blocks of their education. But more importantly, she always wanted to build their sense of self-worth and focused on allowing them a voice in their educational experience...working to develop the building blocks for being fulfilled adults.
She drew upon the strengths of her community to expand her students’ education. Field trips were often to different farms in the area or inviting local speakers to come into the classroom. As a part of their farm unit, for many years, each student drew a quilt square that she would make into a class quilt and display in the classroom.
In 1977, Connie found an opportunity to merge her love of family and education when a project to map area cemeteries introduced her to Roy Todd Preston and Stanley Gardner. The project snowballed into the formation of The Magoffin County Historical Society in 1978, which she remained very active with the rest of her life. Their focus was on helping others discover their roots through genealogy and to that end, the historical society published numerous books and built a thriving membership base.
Connie and the other volunteer members worked diligently on those publications and the annual Founder's Day celebration. To say that genealogy was a hobby would be a huge understatement. It was a calling in her life that brought her great joy.
Finally, and most importantly, Connie believed strongly in Jesus Christ and spent her last days on this earth secure in that faith. She found immense comfort in the passage Isaiah 41:10...
So do not fear,
for I am with you;
do not be dismayed,
for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
with my righteous right hand.