Editorial Board: Due to the message and length of the story, this is part one of a three part series.
DALLAS, TEXAS: Jill Edelman, age 52, has been through a lot in her life – as a child, a teenager, an adult, as a wife and a mom. Granted, Jill, who has two sons and is a Realtor in Texas, will tell you herself that her “stories may not be much different than the stories of others. However, they are mine. They are personal. They are intimate and they make me who I am,”
The eldest of four children, Jill’s story began with her interesting birth. “I was born on a Sunday in Hawkinsville, Georgia … my parents were living in the rural community of Cary – in another county, My grandparents were at church … my dad was at work – he was a disc jockey for the radio station in Hawkinsville … So, I guess you can say I had my 15 minutes of fame when my birth was announced over the radio.”
Jill told The Murphy Gazette, “Growing up my family moved a lot. I learned quickly how to make new friends, and that skill has stayed with me throughout my life.”
She said she has never meet a stranger or a person “with whom I can’t connect.”
Reflecting on her growing up, Jill said, “My fondest memories are from the family farm. When I was in third grade, my dad purchased a 200 acre farm in Roddy (Georgia).”
She explained, “We raised crops for Sunshine Cannery. I grew up driving a tractor, working the farm, fishing and hunting.”
Jill added, “It was a hard life but the best life a girl could hope for.” Though Jill and her family didn’t have much, she said, “we shared what we had. A lot of times, we had extra kids in our home – anyone who was in need was welcomed.”
“Some days we barely had enough for our family of six, yet somehow my parents found a way to share with others,” she said. “I’ll never forget the Christmas we packed grocery bags full of fruits, nuts, and food for families who worked with us. We gave to more than 25 families that Christmas. These Christian values my parents instilled in me shaped my life.”
Life changed a little for Jill and her family.
“The time came to sell the farm and move to the big city of Cochran, Georgia,” she explained. “I was in the ninth grade. It didn’t take long for my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit to reignite.”
Jill continued, “We began working at the country club in Cochran … About a year later my parents opened their own family style restaurant in Warner Robins – about a 30 minute drive from home.”
“We were farm to table before it was a ‘thing.’ Once again, it was hard work, yet so worth it,” she remarked. “I learned how to appreciate what God provided. I learned how hard work is rewarded.”
She stated, “I learned what it takes to run a business and what it takes to support a family no matter the sacrifices. I learned what having the American dream could mean. I also learned that we don’t fail. We fall forward in God’s great plan for our lives.”
In 1985, Jill married a “Georgia boy. Love makes us crazy, and I immediately wanted a child. It was the desire of my heart.”
“I remember driving home one day listening to a sermon … the minister was dedicating a baby. The baby was a boy and his name was Jonathan. I claimed that for me.”
Jill remembered, “I said I was going to have my child and if that baby was a boy his name would be Jonathan, and God honored my faith.”
She her son … Jonathan “Kerth” Powell about 10 months later. In January of 1989, they welcomed another son, Corey Michael. “My family was complete or so I thought.”
Jill’s faith and life would soon be rocked with tragedy. But, she came and her family came out of it stronger than ever.