Class of 1923
Graduation Essay: “The Lasting Things”
Birth: October 18, 1903, Cabarrus County, North Carolina
Death: June 21, 1986, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
Walter Columbus Furr (1870-1956)
Rena Atte Little Furr (1867-1947)
Carl Augustus Furr (1895 – 1979)
Lela Maye Furr (1899 – 1974)
Charlie Monroe Furr (1900 – 1990)
Ola Catherine Furr Abernethy (1906 – 2006)
Earl Martin Furr (1908 – 2005)
Coy Lee Furr (1910 – 2007)
The Concord Daily Tribune (Concord, NC), 25 May 1923, p. 4.
THE LASTING THINGS
(The following is the essay read at the recent commencement exercises of Mont Amoena Seminary by Miss Alma Furr, daughter of Mr. W. C. Furr, of No 9 Township, and which won the medal for the best essay. Miss Furr also won the medal for having made the highest scholarship attainment. She will attend the Greensboro State College next session – Editor.)
As we tread the wary road of life we hear the continual question, “What Will be a Lasting Thing?” Here we stop and search our mental faculties for an answer, but of ten our search is in vain. With our minds imprisoned in their tabernacles of clay as they are, we wander back and find God to be a Lasting Thing. From this we conclude that our life is a Lasting Thing, because we are made in His own likeness. Not in its present physical composition will life last, but that spark within us which at the same time makes us to feel, to think, to will, and to exercise all other complex operations, will continue to live. So it is for this future state of life that we must prepare for a Lasting Thing, or we will spend the Lasting Life or eternity in the wrong place.
Rearing and environment make lasting impressions on a person. A child will almost always lead a noble and upright life, if he is brought up in an atmosphere of purity, refinement, and culture, and if the mind is always filled with uplifting suggestions of the true and beautiful. Environment will shape life and destiny. the child will invariably become like his surroundings. Early impressions make up the character and determine the future possibilities. A person may grow away from his environment, but he will never forget the lessons he learned at his mother’s knee. “Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
We must have a mental wealth and wisdom if we expect to make a mark in the world. That man who is rightly educated will never be a leader, imitator, or follower, but he will seek his own opinions. Education counts in forceful character-building. It helps us to choose our ideals and makes us more able to cope with the world. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. He who empties his purse in his head has something that no one can take from him, and he has something that will stay by him through life.
Do not think because you are poor, and because of your circumstances, that you cannon obtain an education. There is no reason whatever for us to go through life humiliated by ignorance, in a land where the deaf, the dumb, and the blind manage to get an education. Take for instance Helen Keller. It was though that her life was hopeless; but she has risen to a place of great honor and fame and her foot-prints are making marks on the sands of time; the seeds that she has sown will rise up and nourish the coming generation long after the form that sowed them has passed down into speechless dust. If it has been possible for this girl – deaf, dumb, and blind – to make such wonderful progress in her education, what might some of the boys and girls who are blessed with all their mental faculties accomplish, if they would only realize the value of the gifts they have, instead of idling away their time, waiting for genius to help them along?
A person who is always happy and scatters sunshine wherever he goes is the one that will have a lasting impression on the world. The very essence of happiness is virtue, honesty, sincerity and truthfulness. the moment we depart from the right happiness will leave us. the habit of wishing everybody well, and of feeling like giving everybody a godspeed, ennobles and beauties the whole character. Try to be large enough and grand enough to see God in even the meanest man. Little kindnesses, pleasant words are helps by the way: unselfish service, friendships, love, all these are simple, yet they constitute happiness.
To be your own self and to express your own self with originality, is one of the greatest things you can do. Blaze your own way, make your own path, or you will never make an impression. The world wants the messages God has given you, not what someone else has said. It wants preachers who get their sermons out of life, not out of libraries. originality is power and life; Imitation is death. Make a resolution that every thought you have and every deed you do shall have upon it the imprints of your character.
Right thinking uplifts the whole life and produces right living. Our face is a bulletin-board upon which is advertised what has been going on in our mind for years. We may have supposed that these thoughts were all secret; but the truth is that we can hide nothing, for we radiate either through or falseness in our countenances. “As a man thinketh in his heart so he is.”
If we expect to accomplish anything in the world we must have foresight, for no one is really great or does great things, without enthusiasm. It is the effort to obtain a noble aim and in its very nature it is uplifting. Enthusiasts are those who, at the risk of their life, and by the sacrifice of much that is near and dear to them, have labored incessantly to better and to purify the world, on those who have accomplished a certain end or aim. That man who respects his work highly and cares little what the people think of him is the one of whom the world is going to become to think a great deal.
To possess plenty of friends is a great blessing: that is if they are of the right sort. Beyond all wealth, honor, or even fame is the attachments we form with noble souls, because to meet with the god and true is to become good and true ourselves. Examples set by a good and great man are like a lighthouse, – it not only warns but directs and guides the vessels of four destiny into port. Live so that it may be said of you, “It is impossible to come in contact with that man’s noble nature and not in some way be ennobled and uplifted.” Select your friends carefully. Keep the grain and let the wind blow the chaff away.
Nothing will so strengthen the mind as the constant effort to measure up to some lofty and high ideal. We ought always to be fitting ourselves for a nobler and higher purpose. God hides some ideal in every person’s nature, and at some time or other we feel the burning zeal to meet that inborn ideal. “The life of full completion haunts us all; we feel the thing we ought to be beating beneath the thing we are.” Or as some greater writer has expressed it; “Remember, friends, the things we may be doth underlie the things we are.”
The greatest thing that can be said of a man no matter how much he has achieved is that he is honest. The purest treasure that man can afford is a good name. If a man lives foursquare to the world, nothing can happen to injure him, if all of his material possessions are swept away he knows he has a monument in the hearts of his fellowmen. there was never a time in history when square and right dealing meant so much as it does today. “Honesty is always the best policy.”
There is nothing in the world that can take the place of a well formed upright character. It is greater than intellect, greater than gold: and it can well be said that it is the chief existence of man’s life. In truth, character is the highest lesson of religion: the first youth should learn and the last age should forget. A man who starts out to make his character his capital, will not be a failure, though he win neither fame nor fortune. What a man does is a real test of what a man is.
“Build character for whatever you do;
Build it straight and strong and true;
Build it clean and high and broad;
Build it for the eye of God.”
The secret of character building is a surrender of one’s self to all the purer and nobler things of life. The more character on has the more influence he has upon the world. “When wealth is lost nothing is lost. When health is lost something is lost. When character is lost all is lost.”
No other human quality will so nerve us to accomplish great things as to believe in our own abilities and to have divine faith. We are shown all though the Bible, that without faith we cannot be saved, and it assures us that we will take faith with us throughout eternity. “Faith has even been the great miracle worker of the ages. It is a divine leader and is the one thing we can be sure will not mislead us. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” It is the foundation of character, and lies at the root of all practical virtues. Faith must lead the way, for so long as you think you are going to be a conqueror you will be one. “He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t.” Believe in yourself; think that you are going to dominate your circumstances. In no other way can be account for the achievements of Joanne ‘d Arc. Without the sublime faith and self-confidence in her mission she could not have led and controlled the French army and have accomplished what she did. If we have faith in God and in ourselves, we can remove all mountains of difficulty. All the discords of life would vanish and our lives would be one grand triumphal march to the goal of our ambitions.
The things of earth may and will pass away; we can lose our wealth, we can lose our health, our friends an our relatives; we can see changes about us and we ourselves may change with them; but these Lasting Things never leave us, never change, and we carry them with us when we cross the last river on our journey to the eternal world. Who can say but that we carry with us even to the confines of Eternity some beautiful memories of the Lasting Things of life.
Unsourced newspaper clipping, c. June 22, 1986, Concord, NC
Miss Alma Elizabeth Furr, 73, of 138 Ingleside Drive SE, Concord, died Saturday at Charlotte Memorial Hospital from injuries she suffered in a traffic accident Thursday in Charlotte.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Wilkinson Funeral Home Chapel. The Rev. T. C. Plexico will officiate. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery. Nephews will be pallbearers.
The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 tonight at the funeral home and at other times at the home of a nephew, Dr. Carl A. Furr Jr. of 157 Glendale Ave. SE.
Miss Furr was a native of Cabarrus County and daughter of the late Walter C. and Renna Little Furr. She was a retired teacher of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.
She was a member of St. James Lutheran Church and the Ladies Sunday School Bible class. She was a life member of the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa of North Carolina and N. C. Teachers Association.
Survivors include a sister, Mrs. John Abernathy of Charlotte; three brothers, Earl Furr of Atlanta, Charlie Furr and Coy Furr of Oakboro, and several nieces and nephews.
Memorial may be made to the charity of your choice.