Wednesday, March 7, 2018


9 Feb 1930 - 11 May 2004

In the late 1980s I was at a Family History Center on my lunch break, hoping to get a photocopy of some old marriage records on microfilm, showing 3 Puckett men marrying 3 Corel women in Tazewell County, Virginia in the early 1880s.  I wanted to take these photocopies with me when I went to a Corel family reunion in a few weeks.

The fellow at the History Center, of whom I had requested them, insisted that I come with him into the adjacent LDS church because there was a fellow in the church whose last name was Puckett – and he thought we should meet.  I advised him that I was on a lunch hour and needed to hurry back, but he was insistent.

Rather grudgingly I followed him into the church, where I saw a man vacuuming the carpet.  “Brother Puckett, I have someone you’ll want to meet.  She might be a cousin!”  and with that, he introduced me to Don Puckett, a man volunteering some time at the facility. 

Don said his Puckett was from Virginia, and I said mine was too.  He then said his Puckett was from Tazewell County….and surprising both of us, I answered “Mine too.”  I began unfolding the photocopies of the marriage licenses I had asked for, while Don, now wide-eyed, said “If you say his name is William Puckett, I’m going to faint.”  In a kind of unchurchly-type voice I said, ‘No, Don, but it IT IS William’s wife, Louisa Corel Puckett that I’m looking for” and I handed him the papers showing that William Puckett and Louisa Corel were married on Dec 18, 1842.” 

That made Don and me instant cousins, and after we gained our composure over such a fortuitous discovery, we exchanged phone-numbers and from that moment on, Don and I, and our spouses became fast friends and constant researchers.  Every find we made in the Puckett and Corel families for the next 15 or so years  was sheer fun….for him, it had religious connotations and for me it was a great hobby.  Those differences never stood in the way of the wonderful kinship we had discovered.

Don was a smart, dedicated, charming and very funny man, who turned every genealogical “hunt” into a great event.  We spent lots of time on the phone puzzling over a half-dozen Nancy Pucketts and which family they belonged to.  We shared problems and we shared finds.  All were made with more laughing that I’d ever done before or since.  Don was a great cousin, a great friend and a fantastic researcher. 

I am so thankful that the little man in the Family History Center overrode my desire to get back to work on time. (I was only a little late that day!).  

Don passed away in 2004, and I am so thankful that we shared “cousinship” for those 15 years.  

And in case you are wondering, we were 4th cousins  -  the very best kind.

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