This May Paducah Bank asked for essays dedicated to our community’s “Hardest Working Moms.” Many rose to the occasion. But the essays of Julie Webb and Marsha Roundtree lifted up two mothers whose love and devotion to their family and their community placed them atop a pedestal that both these daughters find deserving for their exceptional mothers.
Julie Webb is a fan of Paducah Bank on Facebook. That’s how she found out about the “Hardest Working Mom” contest. But she’s an even bigger fan of her mother, so she knew immediately that she would enter the contest. “When I saw the contest, I knew there was no more deserving mother than mine.”
Julie’s parents never graduated from high school. They had three children; and when Julie was 11, her father died. As Julie’s essay explains, her mother, Marion Joyce Webb, had to alter her life totally by learning to drive, obtaining her GED, and going to work for the first time.
“We lived in Lewisburg, Kentucky, a tiny town of 500. We had survivor’s benefits from Social Security and this enabled us to make it until my mother got a job.” Julie is now the district manager for the Social Security Administration, working her way up to this position from a college internship while at Western Kentucky University. She went from Bowling Green to Mayfield, then was a supervisor in Lafollette, Tennessee, before coming to Paducah. “I have worked for the Social Security Administration for 29 years. I believe in the system. I feel like I am a true Social Security success story.”
Julie is not the only Webb in the family to be inspired by her hard-working mom and go on to college. Her sister now owns an internet craft business, and her brother is a vice president in the Dave Ramsey Corporation. “It’s amazing to think where we are now considering what my mother went through. She overcame impossible odds to be where she is.”
Julie is now a single mother herself and enjoys living with both her son and her mother. Dylan Colli, her 16-year-old son, is a “real highlight in my life.” Julie’s mother spent many years caring for her own invalid mother, then developed health problems immediately after her mother died. “About 10 years ago, I moved her into my house so I could take care of her more easily.”
Marion Joyce Webb is now 77 years old and can’t get out much. She spends much time in bed and really enjoys television. So when Paducah Bank asked Julie what kind of prize her mom would enjoy, she suggested a big screen TV. Paducah Bank bought her a 32-inch television, and Julie says she’s just tickled with her new toy.
She was thrilled to find out that she had won the contest and that her mom would receive this public honor. But this happy story has a poignant ending. On June 2, Marsha’s mom, Nina Arnold, passed away at the age of 98. Nina was able to read the essay before she died, and Marsha shared with her mother that she had won the contest. Unfortunately, Nina wasn’t able to enjoy the new living room suite that Paducah Bank awarded her as a prizewinner.
Marsha’s essay lovingly explains how hard her mother worked to provide a good life for her two children after the death of Marsha’s father. Despite multiple jobs and raising her own children, plus a few others, she always took great care with her personal appearance.
Marsha remembers, “She was always so stylish and classy. She wore her makeup every day, and wore her white gloves at her Paducah Dry Goods job.” Marsha’s mother was the soft- spoken and gracious lady at the helm of the elevator in one of Paducah’s vintage department stores, Paducah Dry.
But even more important than her outward beauty, she was beautiful on the inside, says Marsha. “Momma was just kind to everybody. She was always giving to children’s charities, even while living on a fixed income. It’s hard to find someone whose life she didn’t touch. Momma would tell my brother and me that we were special because she got to pick us. God couldn’t have put me in a better family.”
After Marsha finished high school, she attended Draughon’s Business School, then got a job at a law office. Later, she worked for Amerisource Bergen before joining Paducah Power. Marsha’s first husband was killed by a drunk driver, and Nina came to live with Marsha for a year to help her with her two sons. Marsha later remarried. “I was blessed with a husband that Momma loved like a son, Ronnie Roundtree.”
Marsha was also blessed with two sons, Terry and Delbert Shumpert. “My two boys were Momma’s world. Then she had great-grandchildren, who were dear to her heart. Besides these blessings, she was able to see amazing things in her lifetime. For her to see a black president really blew her mind. She wouldn’t have even been able to vote when she was born.”
Marsha has saved her mother’s voice on her voice mail so she can listen to it several times a day. “I loved her so much. If I can be half the mother or grandmother that she was, I will have really accomplished something, because she was just an outstanding person.”