the LOVE issue
A dissolving organization with deep Temple roots is making a "love presentation" today. Plus, love stories for Valentine's Day and tips for great gifts!
MONDAY FEBRUARY 14, 2022
A FAIRLIE TALE: Mary and Thomas Fairlie have survived 50 years, seven orchestras and 28 years together in the Temple Symphony Orchestra.
LOVE RUNS DEEP for a former Temple ISD coach and teacher who now work for the city.
LAST-MINUTE LOVE: Locally owned flower shops have great gift ideas.
SHELTER BABIES: Meet Jaeger, CEFCO and a cute little Malamute with no name — three of the dozens of animals at the Temple Animal Shelter who need homes. Remember, February is half-priced adoption month!
WHAT’S HAPPENING? Events Calendar — New activities added daily.
THE LINKS — News from everywhere!
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
On Valentines Day, 10 Temple organizations will receive portions of a $280,000 “love presentation” from the dissolving City Federation of Women’s Clubs.
The local chapter of City Federation formed in 1915, but now the group is dissolving because of a financial double whammy caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the winter storm of 2021.
But, as City Federation President Beverly Kermode said, the group is going out in style.
Temple College and the Cultural Activities Center will each receive $100,000 gifts from the City Federation.
“The Temple College money will endow a scholarship fund so we can continue to help educate the young people of our community,” Kermode said. “The CAC can use the money as they see fit — maybe it will fund an additional show each year.”
Eight other organizations are receiving $10,000 “gifts of love” include the Temple Children’s Museum, Temple Civic Theatre, the Temple Symphony Orchestra, the Temple Garden Club, the Temple Music Club and Bell County Medical Alliance, the Ralph Wilson Youth Club and The Un-Included Club.
“We’ve sold our clubhouse, and that brought in a nice chunk of change,” Kermode said today. “Since we are dissolving, we wanted to provide a financial boost to organizations who support our community with education and high morals.”
The Garden Club, Music Club and Medical Alliance are three City Federation organizations that will remain in existence, Kermode said. And, the CAC was founded through the efforts of the umbrella group's members.
During its heyday, the City Federation of Women’s Clubs had more than 1,000 members in at least 20 individual clubs, Kermode said.
“The group would meet for tea and wear hats and long gloves,” she said. “These were doctor’s wives — the society ladies of Temple. The City Federation was concerned about education and morals in the community, and they supported youth through scholarship programs.”
In recent years, the City Federation of Women’s club was had difficulty recruiting younger women to join its ranks.
“So many women work now,” Kermode said. “Our members are aging — many are 70 years old or older — and our numbers were dropping.”
To make matters worse, when COVID-19 hit clubs weren’t meeting or collecting dues. Then, in February, winter storm Uri hit and caused considerable damage to the Clubhouse at 219 King Circle. Pipes burst, the floors were damaged and expenses piled up.
Soon, the City Federation of Women’s Clubs voted to dissolve and the decision was made to gift worthy organizations molded in morality and support for the city’s youth.
“I am our last president — the last president of a sinking ship,” Kermode said. “We are in the process of dissolving our City Fed Corporation and are donating our assets to several non-profit community groups.”
These groups will be awarded checks during a noon ceremony Feb. 14 in the CAC lobby.
“These substantial donations will certainly enhance the life of Temple residents,” Kermode said. “It is our gift to our city.”
TSO maestro retiring after May concert
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
It’s the story of love, music and the love of music.
Mary and Thomas Fairlie have known each other for 50 years and have been married 44, but without a chance meeting back in 1972, Temple today likely would not have a symphony orchestra as we know it.
The Fairlies first met while freshmen at the University of Toledo.
“I was a freshman, and one day I was studying in my dorm room,” Thomas recalled late last week. “A roommate popped in and said there were two attractive women visiting down the hall. I decided to wander down and check it out.”
Mary lived off campus and commuted daily to the Ohio university.
“I remember the day well,” she said. “A friend called me up and asked me to go to campus with her to visit a boy. She had the hots for this young man, and she was very persistent. Finally, I agreed to go.”
Mary and her friend had been in the boy’s room for about five minutes when there was a knock on the door.
“This guy showed up — he was intelligent and had a magnetic personality,” Mary remembered. “We talked, and later he walked me out to my car. Before I left, he said: ‘I’ll call you.’ But he was nervous and never asked for my phone number.”
During the course of their conversation, Thomas learned that Mary was a violinist, but was pursuing a degree in journalism instead of music. He suggested that she try out for the university orchestra.
“After we first met, school was dismissed for Christmas break,” Thomas said. “I wasn’t sure I’d see her again, but I was going to try.”
When classes resumed,Thomas went to the music building to see if Mary had taken his advice and joined the UT orchestra. She did.
“She showed up, and we started talking again,” he said. “Eventually, we began hanging out.”
Mary had been attending college on a journalism scholarship. She was active in the Toledo Youth Orchestra, but had grown tired of the endless hours practicing her violin.
“Thomas talked me into signing up for the university orchestra, and I began taking lessons again,” she said. “Eventually I decided to pursue music over journalism — Tom played a part in that decision, but honestly, I though musicians were more fun than journalists.”
After years of “hanging out,” Thomas popped the big question on Valentine’s Day 1977 at an Italian restaurant. Six months later, they were married and embarked on a journey filled with love and music.
Over the years, the Fairlies have played in at least seven orchestras together. After a stop in Louisville while Thomas attended graduate school, the couple went to Guadalajara, Mexico, for 2-and-a-half years.
“Guadalajara was wonderful,” Mary said. “I began studying violin under a very accomplished violinist from Poland, and we performed at a magnificent venue.”
The Fairlies were part of the Guadalajara Symphony, a world-renowned group based at one of the greatest music halls anywhere — Teatro Degollado.
After Mexico, the couple taught and performed throughout West Texas — Midland/Odessa, Big Spring and Abilene. In Odessa, Mary began teaching and her expertise benefited students at two high schools and four middle schools in that area.
In the 1990s, Thomas was hired by Temple College to resurrect its music programs. He started a college orchestra, and in 1994 he created the Temple Symphony Orchestra. It would be an adventure the Fairlies would share to this day — he was the maestro and she was a top violinist.
Besides performing with the local symphony, Mary has taught private lessons in Temple for years. She served as orchestra director at Travis Middle School, and later worked full time at Temple College, retiring in 2019.
“I still have private students, and I conduct clinics and judge ensembles,” she said. “I still perform with the Temple Symphony Orchestra and I will for at least another year. Music is like sports — you have to stay in playing shape. At some point, though, the body says: ‘Enough.’”
While Thomas’ love for Mary is infinite, his second love is soon coming to an end. Temple Symphony’s Mother’s Day concert on May 8 will be his last as maestro.
After 28 years as the only director TSO has ever known, he is stepping down. A committee tasked with finding the orchestra’s next conductor has been formed and a statewide search for Fairlie’s replacement will soon begin.
“This was his baby,” said Mary. “I’m going to stick around for a while after he retires. The orchestra will have input on selecting a new conductor and I want to be involved.”
But today — like couples across America — the Fairlies will celebrate their unwavering love. And, they will do it much like they did so long ago — over Italian food.
“I’m taking her to Pignetti’s,” he said. “Italian has worked well for us.”
Longtime TISD educators now work for city
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
He is a former Temple football coach with a state championship ring. She taught elementary students at Cater and Jefferson for a combined 34 years. They’ve retired, but now are back at work — this time with the city of Temple.
Kathie and Bryan “Coach Buzz” Gover love their new jobs — he is a Temple Fire & Rescue community educator and she is an administrative assistant with Planning & Development. They both have helped operate a COVID vaccination center, and over the years they’ve been ideal fishing partners.
But, their story didn’t exactly begin with “love at first sight.”
“We met at Texas A&M,” said Kathie, “but it took a while before we got together.”
She recalls the first time she crossed paths with her future life partner. Bryan? Not so much.
“I was with my mother at A&M during orientation,” she said. “We were looking for a particular building, and we were a bit lost. A nice guy got us pointed in the right direction. It was Buzz.”
It turns out, the two shared a class that semester, but before school began Kathie had an itch to change her hair color. She went from brunette to blonde, and he didn’t recognize her.
Months later, they met at an Aggie back-to-school dance during summer school.
“I had been engaged to another man, but that wasn’t meant to be,” Kathie said Thursday. “Buzz and I danced, then we started dating.”
The Govers became engaged on Valentine’s Day 1981 in what Kathie describes as a “very romantic” move on Bryan’s part.
“While we were dating, Buzz always said one day he was giving me a big carat,” she said, laughing. “On Valentine's Day, he showed up with a big box. It was big, and took a minute to open. When I lifted the lid, there was a big carrot. Then he reached into his pocket and pulled out my ring.”
The couple married July 11, 1981, just weeks after graduating from A&M. But, plans for a honeymoon were put on hold.
“I got a job with Bob McQueen and I had to get to work,” Bryan said. “Football season was coming up and there was work to be done.”
“The hours were long and I worked every weekend during football season,” he said. “There were a lot of places in Temple that I didn’t know existed for months because I was working sun-up to sun-down.”
“I was head coach at Bonham Middle School, and I went back and forth to the high school working with McQueen and the Wildcats.”
Buzz’s hard work paid off — he received a state championship ring for his role in Temple’s 1992 state championship.
Gover coached a total of 33 years at Bonham, Temple High and in Troy. In addition to football, he coached THS pole vaulters for several years.
Buzz retired from coaching in 2014, but still had a hankering to educate young people. He went to work that year with Temple Fire & Rescue and now travels to area schools teaching fire safety.
“It’s community education,” Kathie said. “He goes to 24 schools and daycare centers — four times a year to each place — and works with 3-, 4- and 5-year-old kids. He also teaches CPR and installs child car seats.”
Kathie retired from the Temple Independent School District in 2015 and, at Buzz’s urging, also went to work for the city.
“I’m an administrative assistant to Brian Chandler in Planning & Development,” she said. “I take calls and handle zoning questions over the phone. A lot of the calls come from families moving to Temple who may have questions about city policies. Even if it’s not about our department, I try to help.”
For about three months during 2021, Kathie and Buzz manned a COVID-19 vaccination center at Sammons Community Center.
“There were a lot of older folks in line,” she said. “Many of them were very concerned. We talked with them and tried to make the people feel comfortable.”
“We have two kids in the medical field,” Buzz said. “They urged us to help.”
While the Govers love their second careers with the city, their experiences in the education field has prompted at least one area school district to try to lure them out of retirement.
“We were both offered positions last year by Belton ISD,” Kathie said. “They were short of educators, and they were paying big. We said no.”
While Buzz looks forward to working with kids on a daily basis, he said sunny weather and the approaching spring have him daydreaming about Belton Lake.
“I’ve missed four fabulous days in a row to be on the lake fishing,” he said. “But that’s OK…I love my job.”
Last-minute love: Local florists have great gifts
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
It’s Valentine’s Day.
The advertisements and store displays have been up for months, but somehow the day has arrived and you haven’t been shopping.
Cheer up, locally owned florists Carol Hajda of Woods Flowers and Seleese Thompson of Precious Memories have grand gift ideas, and some just might work on short notice.
“Set up flower deliveries for Valentine’s Day, but also for May 14, July 14 and October 14,” Seleese said. “The message is: ‘You’re still my Valentine!’ We also have a Bouquet Club which delivers flowers every other week to their home or office.”
“Also, hearts are a huge gift addition,” she added. “Most florists will bring in several price and style options that can be added to a bouquet. The heart becomes a keepsake that can be kept on a desk or displayed all year. For example, we have art hearts, glass-blown hearts, heart-shaped paperweights and wooden hearts.”
Great ideas! Hey Carol, what do you suggest?
“Some men have us send an arrangement to a particular restaurant they will be dining at,” Carol said. “Ladies like to send an upscale or tropical arrangements.”
Carol said some of the best love gifts are simple.
“A beautiful mixed arrangement, a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, a Valentine’s balloon,” she said, naming several traditional favorites. “A plant from our store and stuffed animals also are great choices.”
She added that parents often give Valentine’s gifts to their children as well.
“Men will usually get their daughter flowers or a stuffed animal, too.”
Carol also shared a favorite Valentine’s Day love story.
“I have a friend — a young lady — who went by someone’s house unannounced on Valentine’s Day, not knowing they had company,” she said. “Well, she was introduced to a guy who was visiting, and he asked her out. They’ve been married 35 years!”