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Carol Perkins: Legacies of Tim Best, Anna Beth Branstetter

Carol Perkins pays tribute to two irreplaceable figures, Tim Best and Mary Beth Branstetter, who passed from the scene in such a short time - 38 days apart - whose lives endow Metcalfe County with never-to-be-forgotten models of community leadership
Related: Timothy Milton Best, Glasgow, KY (d. Jan. 25, 2013). And Anna Beth Branstetter, Metcalfe Co., KY (1976-2013)
The next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: Fighting words

By Carol Perkins

I seldom write about specific people who have recently passed away because every person's death is special to family, friends, and their community, so to single out one or two seems a little selfish, but I am going to make an exception this week. The two people about whom I write either lived and worked or worked in Glasgow/Barren County and Metcalfe County. Most of you will know them or their families.

Tim Best was my friend. I had known Tim since he moved to Metcalfe County straight out of Campbellsville College and became minister of music at the Edmonton Baptist Church and music teacher/band director at Metcalfe Co. High School. He and Carolyn and later their son Josh were also my neighbors. Tim founded Barn Lot Theater and I was in several plays with him. Most memorable was Arsenic and Old Lace, one of the first performances when Barn Lot was merely a stage in the middle of a barn lot. My children would benefit from his involvement in the arts, as would scores of other students who attested to that on Facebook and at his memorial service. He literary changed lives.

Many of you knew Tim mainly through his service to various churches in Glasgow and Barren County and his membership in the Men's Choral in Glasgow and his teaching at the Christian Academy. Some of you played bridge with him, visited with him during UK ballgames as his wife Carolyn sat on the edge of her chair, or traveled with him doing missionary work. I have never known such a talented man.

Tim and Carolyn made full circle, coming back to the Edmonton Baptist Church about a year ago where he became choir director once again. It would be during our preparation for the Christmas Cantata that Tim would become ill and within a short period of time be gone.

His death was quick and the effect far reaching. So many of his former students, especially those who belonged to a singing group he formed back in the seventies called the New Dawn Singers and his band members, came home to honor this man they loved.

Anna Beth Branstetter was my student and my friend. At only thirty-six years old, her death has stunned our community because she wasn't ill until a few days before she died. A brilliant mind and a exuberant personality, Anna was never without a smile.

In the last few years, Anna, Mary Alice Yokley, and I worked together (Anna as our president) trying to keep the Metcalfe Co. Alumni Association moving forward. It is ironic that at Mr. Best's visitation, Anna and I quietly talked about the association honoring former teachers by donating to the Metcalfe Co. Public Library in their memory. Within a few weeks, the Alumni Association would be donating to the Anna Beth Branstetter Scholarship Fund set up at the Edmonton State Bank.

Her Lady Hornet teammates (they affectionately called her "Bear") filled an entire section of the funeral home where they wiped away their tears as their coach, Gary Richardson gave an emotional eulogy. Prior to that moment, the celebration of her life began with music.

Bible school songs came over the speakers, which reminded us of her church work with children. Then we heard a taped voice counting off, "One, two, three, four..." and suddenly the school song began as several dozen of the Lady Hornets, all teammates of Anna Beth's, circled through the aisles of the funeral home, clapping to the MCHS fight song, while everyone else rose and joined in as they passed. I knew the circumstance of the recording of the fight song and remembered the day it was made at the Sesquicentennial MCHS class reunion. The voice on the tape, directing the band members who had come home for the occasion, counting down one, two, three, four was their former band director, Tim Best.

-Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2013-03-17 06:59:33
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