|MISS BILLE McCLELLAN
Edna McClellan Hefley
| Miss Bille wasn't always Miss Billie, a teacher at Lepanto High School--she was the first daughter born to Bessie and C. B. "Mac" McClellan in 1922. She was born while Bessie and Mac lived in the back of their grocery store in Lepanto, Arkansas. Billie would say she was born on Main Street--and has been on some Main Street ever since!
She graduated from Lepanto High School in 1939 and went to Freed-Hardeman College, a Jr. College then, in Henderson, Tennessee, for the next two years. She then started her teaching career back in her hometown, Lepanto, Ar.,and she taught various classes, from the 3rd grade to High School Social Studies.
Somewhere in those years teaching in Lepanto, Billie and a life-long friend, Betty Staton (Mrs. Don Garner of Earle, Ar) decided to try teaching in another locale. They went together, applied, and were hired together to teach in Marion, Ar. where they stayed a couple of years.
It was her love of social studies that led her to search out the opportunities available to teachers needed in Europe. In the summer of 1958 she left for Bordeaux, in the southern part of France. But this was not what she really wanted, so the opening of the new school year found Billie headed for Frankfurt, Germany to teach Social Studies to the children of American soldiers and employees in the city of Frankfurt. She spent the next four years in this setting and loved every minute of it. There were week-end trips to nearby places, vacation times to range out further such as Johannesburg, Africa, Amsterdam, Holland, and all the time planning new vistas for her students the next year--always teaching--always planning.
At the end of the four years she joined some of her friends she had taught with in Germany, and took a position of Social Studies teacher in the Social Studies department of Eisenhower School in Everett, Washington. The next 13 years were spent doing what she loved best--teaching boys and girls some of the many, many things they would need to know to live in our ever-growing world.
She retired from teaching in Everett, in 1976 and returned to Lepanto to live with her mother and possibly begin a new career.
One of her former students from Lepanto owned a Travel Service in Memphis. All the places Billie had been, the people she had met in her teaching career, suddenly opened the door to become a Travel Consultant. It was a different road to take but again her Social Studies Teaching days, students, and situations made those years as a Travel Consultant so very meaningful. She was a natural, steering folks to some of the wonderful places she had been, a sort of culmination of all she'd worked for, finally making her just where she wanted to be and what she wanted to do. She loved her classes, the subject matter, the after school activities, and all the people who crossed her path. Billie was one of the friendliest persons I've ever known. She never knew a stranger and went out of her way to make them feel at home. As a Travel Agent, she planned several trips for me, her sister, and my husband and family, to Japan, Thailand, England, Scotland, Ireland, and others, in America. Without her "know-how" and telling us things to do and see in all these countries, we probably would not have made these trips.
In her later years she took part in the activities and happenings of Lepanto, Arkansas,and spent a lot of time with her neices and nephews until she passed away July 1996. She is buried in the cemetery at Lepanto, her beloved town and near the people she loved so much.
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