IN YOUR lifetime you are considered very lucky to find someone that you consider a best friend.
Just imagine finding that friend as a youngster and continuing to be "best buds" for the remainder of your life.
That's what Libby Deaton is to Ginny Keyser. The two New Athens women grew up together just a few houses from each other. As adults, they remain neighbors and best friends.
WHEN?IT comes to being a good neighbor, Libby Deaton of New Athens is among the best. Pictured at left, she is enjoying a recent early morning stroll with friends Sue McCue, Ginny Keyser and Janice Able. Deaton is very active in the community and is often found assisting various groups in fundraising events or working at her church.
"We played together, went to school together, were majorettes and cheerleaders together and raised our families together," Keyser said. "She is not only my best friend but also the closest thing I have to a sister. Not only that...my husband and her late husband were also friends!"
Deaton, the mother of two grown sons, is not only a best friend but also a life saver to Keyser.
"She is always there when I need her. Libby has carried in food to my family during those unexpected difficult times. She is my therapist, too!, She has provided transportation, support...whatever I've needed," said her friend.
"Yes, we call Libby our 'Meals on Wheels' girl," said neighbor Janice Abel who recently was a beneficiary of Libby's kindness when she had surgery. "If you need her she is always there. And, she is the best cook."
Another friend, Sue McCue, has also known this month's neighbor her entire life.
"You couldn't ask for a better friend," McCue said. "Without question or hesitation she will drop everything if you need her."
Deaton, who is a member of numerous community-based organizations including the Ladies Auxiliary of the New Athens Volunteer Fire Department, the Franklin Museum, Community Christmas Light Committee, the Freeport Chapter Eastern Stars and the Franklin Fancy Feather Red Hatters, is a retired teachers aid and librarian of the Harrison Hills City School District.
"I know kids from across the county," she said after working in several of the district's schools. "I just loved them all. And the staff was always wonderful."
"Well, they all loved her too," said McCue who worked with Libby. "She was always a favorite among the students and the staff."
Libby has been an Athens Township Trustee for the past eight years being elected to the posts twice after filling the unexpired term of her late husband Harry.
"I enjoy serving the citizens of Athens Township as a trustee," she said. "I really don't look at it as a job. It's just another way to help others."
And she doesn't stop at helping others physically...she is there to cheer people up too.
"She sends cards to everyone for their birthdays, anniversaries, when they are ill or just need a little encouragement," said another friend Cookie Johnson. "Libby keeps Hallmark in business!"
Another neighbor, Rita Erdos, echoed those same thoughts saying that the community just wouldn't be the same without Libby's bubbly personality and caring ways. She recalls that Libby also is on call to serve as transportation for others who need rides to doctor appointments or similar needs.
Always active, Libby also spends as much time as possible with her sons and their families.
Oldest son Buddy and his wife Lisa live in Pataskala with their two sons Robbie and Ryan. Son Rusty and his wife Penny are residents of Zanesville and are parents of three children: Kayla, Kari and Christopher.
"Kayla is currently working towards her degree and is in China," Libby said. "I miss seeing her but get to talk with her through a program on the computer. My other grandchildren are closer and I take every opportunity to see them!"
Family has always been very important to Libby. "I had five brothers and two sisters and one of my sisters is my twin," she added with a laugh. "My other sister, Honnie Smith, lives in New Athens too. We see each other daily."
In the end, this group of women had nothing but praise for our latest "neighbor" saying that without her New Athens just wouldn't be the same.
Sedgmer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org