SHERMAN - Beryl White Pope, 99, a resident of Sherman since 1941, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013.|
She was a child of the Depression and the commodities collapse a few years before, when farm prices collapsed. Her family lost their farm and had to take all their worldly possessions to Louisiana by mule wagon to work on a relative's farm. Payment for their entire year's crop was lost when the buyer swindled Beryl's father out of his payment by withdrawing all his money before her father could get to the bank with the check. Her mother died in 1927 of cancer when Beryl was only 13 so she had to become the cook and caretaker of her younger sister, as well as manage the household. The Stock Market Crash of 1929 occurred when Beryl was in her freshman year and she was forced to transfer to Louisiana Tech because her family did not have enough money for her to finish at LSU. She worked in the cafeteria and various jobs to get through college during terrible economic times. All her life she kept up good cheer, as her "small miracles" always seemed to come through just as times seemed their worst.
Born in Paris, Texas on Sept. 28, 1913, she was one of the two children of Clarence and Nettie McCasland White. She was valedictorian of her high-school graduating class in Arcadia, La. in 1928 at age 15, and received a small scholarship to Louisiana State University (LSU). There she met her future husband the first day on campus. Harry Pope of Angie, La., seven years her senior, was an ROTC cadet who had volunteered to help in freshman orientation, and they dated off an on until they married in 1934.
She earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from Louisiana Tech as well as a master's degree, also in home economics, from LSU where she had to cram a two-year program into one year because that was all the money she had on an academic scholarship. She had a varied working career as a settlement house social worker, a dietiian, teacher, and for several years in Sherman as home economist for Texas Power and Light. She and her husband lived in Louisiana, Texas, Tennessee, Okinawa, Virginia and Georgia before retiring to Sherman in 1967. Her husband was Agricultural Advisor for the Ryukus Island Command on Okinawa in 1948 and she stayed behind for a year until it was considered safe enough to take the children and join him. With three children and nine suitcases, she missed the train to San Francisco from Memphis, Tennessee, and sat down and cried. The stationmaster found one more small miracle, and was able to reroute Beryl's tickets through Kansas City, and she arrived in time to sail on the ship to Okinawa.
Beryl and Harry Pope came to Denison in 1940 then to Sherman in 1941 because Harry had gotten a job with the U.S. Corps of Engineers during the construction of Denison Dam. He was hired as a land appraiser to buy up the farms which would be covered by Lake Texoma. Harry was earning $2,600 a year. In early 1942, not long after Pearl Harbor, Beryl and Harry bought the old Buchanan house on South Travis Street from his estate through John Marshall for $1,750, with a $200 down payment. By scraping and saving and renting out part of the house as an apartment, they paid it off in three years. The house needed every conceivable repair, and they fixed it up over many years.
Her wish was to die in that house and that is what she accomplished, but not before the Adult Protective Services caused her severe trauma from which she never recovered. She died eight weeks after APS first entered her home in late November 2012. Her long-time caretaker Lequieta Allen spent Beryl's last night on earth at her home in the next room, since it was apparent that Beryl was fading away. Beryl died peacefully at last, where she wanted to be.
All her life she was very religious, always tithed, and was a staunch supporter of her church. She attended First Methodist Church while her children were growing up, then joined First Baptist Church and became baptized there by immersion after her husband died.
Widowed for the past 39 years by the untimely death at age 66 of a coronary, at night by her side, of her husband Harry W. Pope, she is survived by her younger sister Louise W. Postle of Kenner, La.; by her children, Ann P. Boland and husband Bob, Harry W. Pope II and wife Jean, and Ruth P. Calvo of Sherman. She has four grandchildren: Eric R. Boland of Highlands Ranch, Colo. and his wife Megan, Kevin S. Boland of Los Alamos, N.M., Jose M. Calvo of Arlington, Va., and Celina C. Boltinghouse of Hannibal, Mo. and her husband Timothy. There are six great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her good friend, neighbor for 40 years and faithful caretaker for 25+ years, Laquieta Allen.
Funeral arrangements are by Dannel Funeral Home and a memorial service will be held on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, at 7 p.m.
Published in The Herald Democrat on Jan. 20, 2013