I lost my grandmother, Edna May Garner, on Aug. 7, 2012. She was born on Feb. 22, 1918, and was 94 years old when she passed. My grandmother practically raised me, and was the lifeline of my Dad’s side of the family. Shug, as she was affectionately known, was everything to me. Her white, three-story home (324 S. 15th Street) used to sit next to the Springfield Boys and Girls Club. That’s where my brother Fred and I essentially grew up. While growing up, Shug used to be the Director of Community Action (now Feitshans Academy), an agency that assisted the disenfranchised in Springfield. As a youngster, Shug would always stress the importance of getting a good education. She would say religiously, “Bobby, no matter what you do, you’re gonna need your education.” When I became conscious, I realized that grandmother was right! But back then, education was the farthest thing from my mind. She would always scold me when I brought home below average grades. When she saw those pitiful grades on my report card she would say, “Bobby, you just don’t want to apply yourself.” However, now that I’ve come to the realization of the importance of an education, I am proud to say: I am applying myself! Her legacy of working with the less fortunate led me back to school to pursue a degree in social work. I was blessed to receive my BSW this past May. Moreover, I am currently a graduate student at UIS pursuing a master’s degree in public administration. My goal in life is to become an advocate for the disenfranchised like Shug was. And every good work that I do in life will be because of her. I love you Shug and miss you dearly!
–Robert L. Horton, grandson