Museum volunteer lauded
Colleagues recall Deer’s contributions to county
A leading light in the county’s historical society is being remembered for her contributions to the community.
Naomi Deer died unexpectedly on Sunday at King’s Daughters Medical Center at the age of 83.
Deer is credited with starting the Woodland Cemetery Historical Walk, which happens every September. On one of the last walks, Deer portrayed Nellie Marting Lowery.
Kay Rader, known for her work with the Lawrence County Historical Society and her portrayal of Nannie Kelley Wright, had worked with Deer for about 30 years.
“She was so enthusiastic and friendly,” Rader said. “She welcomed everybody. She was easy to work with.”
Fondalene Alfrey, also with the historical society, remembered Deer as an effective president of the society.
“She was a hard worker,” Alfrey said. “She was always willing to do any job that needed to be done.”
Deer chose Lowery as her cemetery walk character because her mother, Nellie Grace Herald, was a private duty nurse who cared for Lowery, following the death of Lowery’s husband, Dr. Andrew Lowery.
Deer kept her mother’s letters to her family as she cared for Lowery at her home on Fifth Street during the 1937 flood.
Besides the historical society, Deer was the manager of the Hamner Room, the genealogy department of the Briggs Lawrence County Library.
Marta Ramey, current manager now, worked under Deer, when she first came to Briggs.
“She was a dream,” Ramey said. “She taught me basic genealogy and taught me so much of the local history and where to find it if she didn’t know. She was wonderful.”
Deer worked at the library from 1988 to 1998 and on her retirement became a strong member of the Friends of the Library support group.
“She was certainly a driving force in the Friends group,” Joe Jenkins, director of the library, said. “She was president, secretary and treasurer at different times. She was a stalwart of the group. Her passing has saddened all who knew her. And we will certainly miss her in our Friends group.”