Pointer built life on hard work, faith
Wednesday, August 14, 2013 10:00 PM
When Jim Gobble suggested this week's subject, he noted that, "He is one of the true gentlemen of Montgomery County!" After spending an hour with him, I'd emphasize the true and gentle! A quiet, sweet man, Joe Pointer was born on Crawfordsville's Elm Street and raised in New Market by a widowed mother. Joe's father (Josiah) died at a young age due to having been gassed during WWI. Joe and his brother, Bert were raised by their mother, Hester Mason Pointer. Joe told me that she was an amazing mother, working as a telephone operator and tailoress/seamstress to give him and Bert a good life.
A graduate of New Market High School, when I asked Joe if he played basketball, he laughed and said, "Everyone played basketball!" I told him I was a Waveland Hornet and this time with a grin, he remarked, "We always beat you!" Nuff said!
It was on to the service for Joe after his high school graduation. A member of the Signal Corps, Joe was stationed all four years of WWII in the China- Burma - India-(CBI) campaign. He basically trained the Chinese and one key American word phrase they all learned was, "New Market!"
In the meantime, a sweet young WAC was doing her part for America's freedom, but it was not until the war was over and both returned home that their love affair began. Thus, on the Oct. 12, 1946, Joe married the love of his life, Mary Irena Proffitt. Rev. Claude M. McClure was the official for the affair and as Joe said, "It was at First United Methodist at 1 o'clock in the afternoon!" This has been Joe's home church since that day, thus making Joe a member for over 65 years.
Joe's niece, Marena Proffitt stated, "They were the sweetest couple!" She explained that not only she and the other 18 nieces and nephews called them, "Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary, but all our friends did, too!" Joe has held many offices in First United and had a happy look on his face when mentioning it. This is where Gobble met Joe in 1972 and has enjoyed their friendship all this time.
Another good, personal friend of Joe's was Larry Cummings. For 56 straight years, Joe purchased a brand spanking new Oldsmobile from Larry. When I asked Joe what his hobby was, he answered, "Well, cars of course!" In fact, Joe was once featured in a car magazine article. He told me he owned several cars, but his favorite, of course, was the OLDSMOBILE!
Upon his return to the states, Joe almost immediately began working at RR Donnelley after a brief stint at National Biscuit Co (Nabisco). Binding not really to his liking, he got a chance to work at Elston Bank in the personal loan department, working under Marion B. Cooper, an impressive Crawfordsville citizen of the time. Although an extremely modest man, I detected a bit of pride when Joe told me that he had never gone to college but worked his way up through the ranks of the bank. Worked his way up through commercial loans and eventually to Vice President, in fact. Joe was at the bank for 36 years and in an article written by a lady I well-admired, Pat Cline, upon Joe's retirement, it said, "Joe learned banking through experience, determination and dedication!"
A quiet leader, Joe also worked on the board of 4-H; Salvation Army for 33 years; and was an active member of VFW; American Legion; Elks and Masons. He commanded the Waveland Army National Guard Unit, along with many other local organizations.
He and wife Mary traveled extensively. At one place, he helped actress Elizabeth Taylor catch her dog in the hotel hallway. He was rather embarrassed telling me this story but I loved it and asked permission to include it in this piece. The Pointers, along with Lincoln and Margie Priebe were at the 1972 German Olympics. He stated that they didn't really know about the terrorist attacks because they were inside the basic compound and there was only information about the actual Olympics conveyed to them.
Their Middle East trip was with Pat and Orville Hendrixson, who preached at their church. They also loved going out West, as Mary enjoyed purchasing Native American crafts, such as turquoise and baskets.
I imagine Joe's traveling days are over, or at least slowed down but one can certainly tell that in his memories he travels to all those places again and again, perhaps to some only imagined but eventually he loves to go back to New Market!
Certainly, I'm very happy I got to know this gentle-man! Sure glad Jim Gobble suggested Joe Pointer. And, thanks Joe (girls, and Jerry) for entertaining me for an hour, and especially for letting me share Joe's special story with our community through Around the County.