Remembering Tom Marrett and other Letters to the Editor


Big Tom Marrett

Big Tom Marrett is gone, but many memories linger on. I remember Tom Marrett as a late ’50s slugger knocking our baseball almost out of sight (he was later approached by pro baseball scouts). I recall how he built me a big cane-pole fishing rod from the bamboo patch in his backyard. Often after church on Sunday, we'd play ball in the big yard between his house and Granny Morgan's.

Tom was named after his grandfather, T.J. Marrett, a World War II naval commander, engineer, co-founder of the Black Mountain Masonic Lodge and professor at the old Black Mountain College and later at Clemson University. Tom's dad Vaden was a master musician and inventor, and his mother Juanita was a seamstress, factory worker, and tremendous boogie-woogie piano player. He was always looking out for younger siblings Julian, David, Judy, Johnny, Ricky and Joyce. To his friends he was a big Teddy bear. He loved everybody, and everybody loved him.

I guess looking after and protecting others came naturally to Tom, and he spent most of his life doing just that in the Navy, fire department, police department, school guard, sheriff's department, sports coach, umpire, dad, uncle, etc. He had a great love for his family and friends.

I think that it's quite appropriate that we now remember and honor Tom on Veteran's Day, for he has served and protected many of us here in the Swannanoa Valley his whole life. He was always our friend. He's resting in Paradise now with others who've gone before, awaiting the rest of us, cheering us on. His great love for others was his gift and revealed the huge character within him. We'll soon see him again.

May God bless him and his family mightily!

Gary Cody


Is thankful for

the Rev. Melba Banks

For over 40 years, I have known and appreciated the Rev. Dr. Melba B. Banks. She was born and raised in Western North Carolina.

For 17 years, she was executive director of Christmount Christian Assembly. At midcareer, she went to Southeast Baptist Seminary and received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Later she attended Lexington (KY) Theological Seminary and got a Doctor of Ministry degree in pastoral counseling.

Soon afterward she became coordinator of chaplains at the VA hospital in Oteen. While there she was chose Chaplain of the Year for the entire VA system in the USA. After retirement she continues to counsel and preach each Sunday at various churches.

Melba has been an inspiration and joy to me and a great contribution to this Valley.

Pablo Stone

Black Mountain

Friendship Lodge found many friends

My wife Sara and I have been fortunate to own and run a bed and breakfast in Black Mountain. We named it “The Friendship Lodge” after visiting Black Mountain 26 years ago. We fell in love with the town and have made it our home.

Now retired, we would like to express our gratitude to the wonderful folks of Black Mountain, for their kindness and acceptance to all of our many guest. Thanks to the Chamber and all of the gracious shopkeepers. It truly is “the town that rocks.” We intend to spend our lives here, rocking and recalling memories.

Bob LaBrant

Black Mountain

You can’t beat

our post office

All in Black Mountain should be thankful for our post office staff, especially Kevin. He is unfailingly kind and upbeat. Many thanks to him and Stella, our route lady.

Diamond Jim Schneider

Black Mountain