Fayette Woman Mother of the Year 2012
Leoné Dekock winner – age 65+
It is only a privilege to nominate my Mum, Mrs. Leone’ DeKock as a candidate for the best Mum 2012 of the Citizen Newspaper.
My mother is a wonderful woman and has always had the best interest of her family at heart when participating in any decision. I think that is the one most valuable lesson she has taught myself and my other three siblings. Of course, my father Wickus has always been the center and number one in her life.
They will celebrate both their 80th birthdays in 2012, and will have been married for 58 years in August of this year. This advice has stood us all in good stead to function as a family unit and always decide what is best for the whole family when making big decisions.
My mother grew up in Namibia and later Lesotho in South Africa. Leoné and Wickus met each other at the University of Stellenbosch, near Cape Town South Africa. They married after college and settled in Rhodesia. Living on a farm had many benefits and a wonderful way for children to grow up. The one downside it had was that she had to send us to boarding school at the age of five. I know that was not easy for her. Despite the geographic distance, and only being able to come home once a month for a weekend, we never grew apart. All four of us maintained and still have a close relationship to our mother. When we came home she made up in all that was lost. She carted us around to tennis lessons, hockey lessons and scouted out good movies, shopping places to cram in when we came home.
Another great influence she had on me was the way she treated her parents and in-laws, always with respect and compassion. A good example to follow.
I won my Dad and Mum green card to come and live next to us in the United States in 1998. The immigration lottery had around 26 million in the drawing and they were one of the lucky 50,000 people that were chosen (by chance). This was one of the greatest things that could have happened to us. I was teaching in Fayette County, going to school to become a school counselor, and just needed them here more than they could have ever known. My three children, then aged 9, 12 and 15, needed family around to help. When the children came home from school, they had to show their Ouma their ”eyes” in person. She always had some tea and toast ready for them after school, and lots of love and attention. She taught my youngest son to drive in later years, Ouma needed to go somewhere and he needed driving lessons. You need to appreciate this as my Mum had to start driving on the ”other side” of the road at the age of 64. She had a lot of guts and without complaints embraced her new home in Peachtree City. She has been an Ouma (grandma) to many young immigrants, and all my children’s friends in Peachtree City for many years. She is a master bridge player and I think many of the bridge clan in Peachtree City can attest to, she is competitive and an excellent bridge player. Whenever someone at church, in one of her four bridge clubs, or Oupa’s golfing friends are ill or have had an operation she cooks wonderful meals and takes them to those people.
The love of cooking for people, not just for the sake of cooking, is something she has also taught all of us. Many people have had wonderful meals around her table in Peachtree City. Guests have included many South Africans that have immigrated, their golfing and bridge friends. My eldest son Johan and his friends from McIntosh had their wonderful prom dinner at her house. I still see some of them in Peachtree City from time to time and they reminisce about this wonderful menu and beautifully decorated dinner table. You will always find a beautiful bunch of freshly arranged flowers in their lounge on any day of the week. For any graduations and parties my Mum will come over to me or her neighbors and do the flowers.
She has always had a positive outlook on life, and I know research shows people with a positive attitude get better sooner and live longer. Leone had her first bypass in Johannesburg South Africa at the age of 50, and the second quadruple bypass in Atlanta in 1999. We believe she was turbo charged as it is difficult to keep up with her.
She is also a wonderful American and proud to have received her citizenship with my father more than 15 years ago.
I hope you consider this remarkable lady as the 2012 Mother of the Year.
Enclosed a family photo. Does she not look amazing (in this) picture taken last year?
Thank you, Amor Kok
Wendy McCabe winner – age 40-64
I think my mom should be mother of the year. She works very hard and is dedicated to everything she does.
Over the last twenty years, my mom has had to play both roles at times because dad is in the military. She has to be a dad at times and take on roles that I think Mom should not have to take on. Since I am now seventeen, I can see how much Mom has had to sacrifice for me and my sister. She has given up free time, the things she loves to do, which is music, and all sorts of other things.
Mom had congestive heart failure when I was just 11 years old. She was only 36 years old. It was a scary time for all of us, but she powered through it and survived. She survived for us. Mom did not want to leave us. During that healing time, she had to endure my anger issues, dad leaving for Iraq and my little sister. Mom did the best thing for me that one summer, she sent me to my grand parents house (we were living in Germany at the time) in North Carolina for the summer. She needed time to heal her body, heart, and soul, while dad was away and myself. I can understand that now.
Even though Mom was still very ill, she managed to take me to Boy Scouts, run a Girl Scout troop, and plan trips throughout Europe. Mom didn’t want us to miss anything while living in Europe. It amazes me today how she managed to do all of that and still take care of us.
I saw Mom heart broken after her heart failure, it made realize how important music was to her. I never really thought of my mom as a person with interests. I didn’t really even realize Mom was a music educator/ musician. Towards the end of our tour in Europe, Mom started playing again. I watched her struggle but she kept at it.
When it was time to move, to Fayetteville, Ga., Mom stayed behind with me and my sister so we could finish school. Dad went to Georgia, to find us a home, and get us settled in. When we finished up school, she had everything moved out of the house, and cleaned the house by herself. I just couldn’t believe how strong she was after nearly dying not too long ago. She was amazing to watch.
She got us all to Fayetteville safely. Then Mom started looking for schools, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, activities for all of us to participate. She wanted to make the transition easy for us all. During that time, Mom was seeing a endocrinologist. I did not know what that was at the time. Come to find out she had a very sick thyroid from all of her heart medication. They also found little cancer cells in her thyroid. Shortly after we got settled, Mom had to have surgery to have her thyroid removed. She didn’t allow us to visit her at the hospital because she said it was only for a day or two. When Mom came home she was tired and rested up for a bit. A few weeks later, she had to go back and have radiation treatment done to make sure all the cancer cells were gone.
Towards the end of August, Mom was feeling better and she had us in Scouts and she found a local community band to play in, The Peachtree Wind Ensemble. It was pretty exciting to see her playing again. You could hear it in her voice that she was excited and determined to play well once again. She struggled for a very long time but never gave up.
It was fun seeing Mom in a performance. She continued on her musical road to recovery. Mom started playing with local community theaters as well as professional theaters. She started getting hired to play with other bands and gigs. I didn’t know my mom was that good. During the last few years, she has had to deal with my little sister, Dad on another deployment, and me. I am no perfect kid. She loves me so much and I make a lot of mistakes, but she forgives me and we go on with life.
I think Mom is amazing. She has been through so many struggles in her life. No matter what the situation she is in, she always finds a way to come through and make it work.
I am proud to call her my mom.
Maggie Walls winner – under 40
Nonly is Maggie a wonderful mother to our four children – Jim Lauson (a third grader at Sara Harp Minter ES) and Luke, Adams, and Lauralee (triplets in first grade at Sara Harp Minter ES), she is a magnificent wife, loving, caring and supporting each of us in every way despite battling cancer for more than two years.
Maggie was diagnosed with plasmacytoma, an early form of multiple myeloma, in February of 2010. She spent several months during the summer of 2010 (missing Mother’s Day with her precious children that year!) receiving innovative and advanced cancer treatment for multiple myeloma. The treatments included high-dose chemotherapy for stem cell harvesting followed by two stem cell transplants within a three month period at the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy (MIRT) at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock during the summer of 2010.
Currently, she is still taking “maintenance chemo” and should be complete with that cycle this summer (2012). All testing results so far are indicating her to be cancer free, and we look forward to good news this coming July!
Through it all over the past two years, Maggie has kept her family a top priority, especially providing normalcy for her four children through such a life altering experience.
My strongest memory of Maggie being the best mother she could be during all of this (even though this was back during the summer of 2010) is how we would Skype with the children every evening. She would not miss a single opportunity even on days when she could barely lift her head. She sat up, put on a smile, and asked each one how their day went, exhausting everything she had for five minutes of time with her children hundreds of miles away. Maggie is also an English teacher at McIntosh High School (only missed four months of the school calendar during all of this) and a member of Providence UMC (very strong in her faith).
Any ways, I drag on a bit, but feel that Maggie is a wonderful candidate for Fayette County’s Mother of the Year 2012. We could not have made it through all of this without the loving support of our family and friends in the local community, and her being recognized is also a way of recognizing each one of them.
I hope my words have done her work as the mother to our children justice. Thanks for your consideration.
Jason L. Walls