As most of you know, our community experienced a big loss last weekend when longtime Stephenville resident, LeRoy Griffin, aka. "The Candy Man" went on to receive his Heavenly reward.
I first met this gentleman somewhere around 2010 or 2011 at the Cross Timbers Country Opry and you couldn't help but notice him because he was always smiling, had a great sense of humor, and could brighten just about any place he walked into. There were times at the Opry where we'd have someone come in and sing "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown" or the Christmas song "Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer" and every time the name Leroy was mentioned, he'd stand up and smile and wave, which always drew laughs from the crowd.
I really got to know LeRoy a little better in 2012 when my grandmother and I were getting ready to move to Stephenville. When we made the decision, we called LeRoy almost every day finding out everything we needed to know about living here (utility companies, etc.) and the first night we became residents here, we of course called LeRoy and he met us at Jake and Dorothy's for Burger Night. The next day, he was over at our new house helping us move stuff in, thus marking the beginning of a lifelong friendship.
LeRoy loved his country, which was evident considering he served in both World War II and the Korean War and was a major pillar of our community and was involved in many groups such as the Masons, Elks Lodge, Lions Club, American Legion, and the Old Goats to name a few but of course his big claim to fame was being known as "The Candy Man" because it didn't matter where you saw him, whether it be the bank, Wal-Mart, Jake and Dorothy's, Peacock's (the one on Lingleville Road), Don Nico's (both locations), the list goes on; if he saw you, he would give you a piece of candy and offer you a kind word and expect nothing in return. It's nice to know that in a negative, sometimes mean-spirited world, LeRoy chose to be a positive light and turn a frown upside down with nothing more than a simple piece of candy.
Galatians 6:9 says "Let us not become weary in doing good for one another" and LeRoy was generous right up until the end, he loved people. If there was ever anything you needed and he knew about, he'd make sure you got it like the time when both my DVD player and VCR quit working and I couldn't watch any DVD's or old home movies of my early days in music, this little white Dodge pickup with Yellowjackets stickers pulled up in our drive and out stepped LeRoy, he said to me "Get in the truck" and we went to Wal-Mart and he bought me a DVD/VCR combo player.
LeRoy loved to laugh because he was always cracking some kind of joke. On Christmas of 2013, he went with me and my grandmother to a friend's house for a party. We got there and "A Christmas Story" was on TV and it was at the part where Ralphie is asking Santa for a BB gun and Santa says no, I thought LeRoy was gonna fall out of his chair from laughing so hard.
Perhaps we should all take a lesson from this man of integrity and show more kindness to each other. We may not be able to hand out a Snicker's or Reese's on the fly but a simple smile or kind word might just make someone's day a little bit better.
Tim Turnbeaugh is a musician who was born and reared in Eastland County but currently resides in Stephenville. Tim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.