This year the Black History Month Citizen of the Year goes to a lady who has been an inspiration to many people in the community. She is rather quiet until you get to know her and never does anything for “show” or a “pat on the back.”
I often wonder – does she realize how many people she has inspired by her love for people, a kind personality and sweet spirit?
She was the former first lady of First Baptist for 43 years. She’s a fantastic cook. Her favorite dishes are cranberry salad and the cheese pudding that everybody loves.
Rosleen Dixon Smith was born March 30, 1927, in Hart County. She lived with her grandmother in the rural area of Monroe and took care of her when she became ill. She married Donohue Price on Nov. 21, 1951. They had three children: Paul (Andalee), Janice (Carl), and Danny (Liz); and five grandchildren. She took excellent care of her husband when he became ill and took care of him until his death. (Information provided by Arneva Smith).
Here are a few people who expressed how Rosleen has touched their lives:
Bernice Kent: We both were married to pastors; and she and I were the only women in the church who wore hats. I cherish her friendship. I pray God will continue to bless her.
Tracy Thurman: Mother Price has inspired me the most with her positive and edifying words of encouragement. She is a true woman of God who has a heart full of love and chooses to see the good in everyone. She always reminds me to love “them” and not to let people discourage me nor put things on me that are not my responsibility.
Joyce Handley: My inspiration to come back to First Baptist was from Rosleen Price. She gave me encouragement to come back to church. When I worked at the nursing home, she was visiting her husband and would talk to me about church during my break. Today, she continues to encourage me and support me.
Carl Brazley: I have a wonderful mother-in-law. She has taught me that you don’t talk about love, you show love by what you do. Her actions don’t say she loves me, they shout she loves me.
Janice (daughter): When she was a child, she stood up to bullies. As a wife, she stood by her man until death parted them. As a mother, her children always knew she had their back. As a grandmother, her grandchildren (Sunni, Nikolas, Cody, Courtni, and Chloe) have always been the apple of her eye. As an employee, her employers always knew that they could trust her. Even though she never made a lot of money, she always taught me how important it is to save and the value of money. I pray that I can become half the woman she is. These are only a few of the ways my wonderful, 85 year-old mother has inspired me. I am so thankful to call Roseleen Price, “Mama.”
Dan (son): How is it that the uneducated seem to be so wise? Such is my mother who didn’t have the opportunity to complete high school. But I witnessed nurses listen in amazement when she gave a bedside summary on the effects of diabetes and courses of action to take when she was caring for my dad. I watched as they walked out of the room asking one another, “Why didn’t they teach us that in school?”
Sundays have come to be my favorite day of the week. It starts off at First Baptist Church with Elder Jerry Wilkinson’s Bible teachings and ends at my mother’s dining room table. I always thought the magic was in the table, but now that I’m older I think my mother is America’s Next Top Chef.
Her strength comes from desire, hard work and a foundation built on God. She’s taught me that if you want something bad enough, that through faith in God, prayer, and hard work, “all things are possible.” When I grow up, I hope I can inspire others half as much as she has inspired me.
Paul (son): It was my father who gave the family direction, and it was my mother who inspired us to do what Dad taught. It was through the switch that she inspired me to avoid Principal Brown’s rod of correction, or prison, or worse. She taught us respect for our elders. She taught us to look our best in clean and pressed clothes. One of the things I remember Mom telling us is, “If you can’t say something good about somebody, then don’t say anything about them at all.”
As children she protected us from many things it was best young children didn’t know anything about.
Sunni: A few years ago, my mom and I came to Hodgenville one Saturday to wax Mammaw’s hardwood floors. When we walked into her house, we realized that Mammaw, who was 80 at the time, had already waxed them.
That’s just one story of many that epitomizes Mammaw’s unrelenting work ethic. She always gets the job done, regardless of whether the job is hard, whether she feels well, or whether her work is appreciated. Her perseverance is what inspires me to push through difficult times, when it seems easier to quit.
Nikolas: From the way she loved my grandfather all the days of his life, to the love she puts in every meal she prepares for our family – Mammaw truly is love. Many of my fondest memories as a kid come from the family dinners she prepared for us on Sunday after church. She is definitely an amazing role model, and I’m so thankful I have her for an example.
Pastor Jerry and first lady Rosalyn Wilkinson: She’s an example of Christ in her daily living and established a pattern that each of us should follow. As pastor, I have enjoyed her support, friendship and her advice. I consider myself one of her sons. She makes it an easy task to be her pastor.
Rosleen Price has inspired many people in Hodgenville. I can truly say that she has inspired and encouraged me many times and even during times whenever I was hurt, discouraged and upset, she would always say, “There’s somebody appreciates what you do. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing the work of God.