Saturday, January 16, 2010


Happy 90th Birthday to Helen Tinney Miller from Tinney Chapel

Click on any image to view it in larger format.

You are invited to attend a birthday party for Helen today, Saturday, January 16, from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Tinney Chapel Family Life Center. No gifts, but a card and a memory will be appreciated. Below are some of my own memories.


Helen is the daughter of my Uncle Buck and Aunt Lucy Tinney, who were among the many Tinneys who helped to raise me and my brother Tommy while we were involved in the daunting task of growing up, while living at the Old Tinney Home Place, just a quarter of a mile from Tinney Chapel, the quintessential country church, founded in 1900 from a land grant made by William Ambrose Tinney, grandfather to all three of us: myself, Tommy and Helen.

Helen was just seven years younger than my mother, Dolly Tinney, and for a time they were next-door neighbors, which allowed a lot of playtime for them despite that age difference. I’ve learned a lot about my mother from Helen, who has many happy memories of their time together. She remembers Dolly as kind, caring, outgoing and a lot of fun to be around: Obviously they had much in common. One of my favorite images from my mother’s photo album shows Helen and Dolly in a precious pose during that long-ago time. Eventually, Helen & Dolly were baptized at Tinney Chapel on the same day, August 10, 1928.

When I was a teenager, FFA responsibilities required that I do some rather extensive travel, and no one in our house owned any luggage. When I learned that Uncle Buck, Helen’s father, owned a suitcase, I was bold enough to ask him to let me borrow it, and he was nice enough to oblige. Soon, Uncle Buck, took me to the W. C. Dodgen Dry Goods store in Winnsboro, where he purchased a brand new suitcase, and gifted it to me. It was my first piece of luggage, and lasted a long time under some rather heavy travel.

Uncle Buck, Helen’s father, may have been the most charming of all the older Tinney men. Blessed with a pleasant voice, a ready smile and dashing good looks, he excelled in several occupations, but probably gained the most success as a salesman. All of us can be grateful for his influence as a model of public relations during our youth, although some of us would not know the meaning of that phrase until much later. We just knew that Uncle Buck had a lot of the Right Stuff and we hoped some of it rubbed off on us.

Helen also presented quite a challenging role model to youngsters like myself, who grew up in the Tinney Chapel Community during the late 1930s, all the 1940s and the early 1950s. She chose to attend college and become a teacher, raising the bar early for many of us who might not otherwise have considered higher education.

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