Tuesday, January 06, 2009

RIP: Verna Mae Slone, writer, homemaker, cultural historian and a face of Appalachia

Appalachia lost one of its most authentic chroniclers yesterday, when Verna Mae Slone died at the age of 94. Slone, who lived most of her life in Pippa Passes, Ky., population 300, was best known for her first book, What My Heart Wants to Tell, which was published when she was 65. She went on to write five more books. "I often referred to her as the Grandma Moses of the mountains," Mike Mullins, longtime director of the Hindman Settlement School, told Tom Eblen of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

"In simple language, Slone wrote about life and the importance of family, community and the fast-disappearing culture of her beloved Eastern Kentucky mountains," Eblen writes. But along with serving as a voice for Appalachia, she also became a face of it when a 1993 photograph, right, by Barbara Beirne was the centerpiece of Beirne's "Women of Appalachia" exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. "Verna Mae Slone was a gracious, dignified, intelligent woman," Beirne said Monday. "Everyone who views her photograph seems aware that they have been introduced to a very special person."

Slone became a writer after reading transcripts of oral histories she gave the settlement school. In addition to her books, she also wrote a column for the local weekly, the Troublesome Creek Times. The paper still has five community correspondents, plus a local music columnist. (Read more)


Anonymous said...

Thank you to the person that wrote this article. She is my Great-Great aunt.

Bilan Macek. My grandfather is Frank Sloan, nee Frank Slone.

clbgch said...

I love Verna Mae Slone. I'm a Kentuckian and when my Grandma passed, I was so lonely for her then I found Verna Mae's book and it was like reading a letter from my own Grandma.

The Fam' said...

I so enjoyed reading Verna Mae Slone's books and, until now, missed the news of her passing. Rest in peace, special lady. You are not forgotten and live on in your own words.