(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Becky Sue Climer, of Leachville, is a world traveler and accomplished photographer, and has the scrapbooks to prove it. At age 76 she is a self-professed Army brat, a member of the Women's Army Corps, and mother of six. She is currently living with her daughter and son-in-law, Holly and Dick Healey, near Leachville.
Mrs. Climer grew up in Jonesboro, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Kettell.
"My mother said my name should have been Becky Go, because I loved to travel so much," Mrs. Climer said. "I saw travel as a big adventure that I wanted to be a part of.
"My first camera was a Kodak Brownie, which my mother loaned me in 1949. I still have that camera. I was just 14 and just couldn't wait to start taking pictures. No one was safe from my camera; I took pictures of everyone and everything. I later had a 120 camera then a 110. Later I purchased a Pentax 633, a 35 mm camera. I dearly love this camera. Now I have moved on to a digital Kodak 633 for convenience but drag out the Pentax from time to time for special shots.
"I was able to take two semesters of photography and learned to develop my own black and white photos. Since I work on the computer, I have found that the scanners and disk make it so convenient that I don't develop my own film anymore.
"I have tried to document all my travels. After graduating high school in Omaha in 1948, I joined the Army (Women's Army Corps). I met my first husband Jake Lundy, who was also in the military. After we married we moved 22 times in 10 years. I have been in all but 12 of the continental states. The children and I adjusted well and I could be ready to move in two hours."
Becky Sue and Jake Lundy have six children, Mary, Floyd, Rhonda, Paula, Holly and Mickey. She has four generations of military people in her family, which consists of her father Hollis Kettell, WWII, herself as a WAC in Korea, a son Mickey, Navy in L.A., and grandsons Floyd Lundy Jr., Navy, and Kurtis Healey, Marines.
Mrs. Climer has made two trips to Malaysia to visit her grandson. She loved the stops in between, as she flew around the world to and from. She took photographs on the ground and in the air. She always searches out the historical sites of an area before she travels, so she visited many particular sites of interest.
She learned the art of scrapbooking to go along with her photography and has adapted 13 or her 22 photography books into scrapbook form. She carefully selects a wide range of photographs and art to tell the story of her trips.
"My first husband died in 1976," Mrs. Climer said. "I busied myself by working with in-home health care."
Mrs. Climer met her second husband Ernie Climer in the late 1980s and they married in 1989. When Mr. Climer developed cancer in 2006 they moved to live with her daughter Holly Healey, on Highway 18 near Leachville. Mr. Climer was undergoing lung cancer treatment in Jonesboro, when he died last year.
"I haven't decided to stay here permanently, or not, but I feel welcome to do that," Mrs. Climer said. "I still maintain my home in Wynne, and go back there from time to time to check on things and visit friends. I have 29 grandchildren now, and 16 great-grandchildren, so that gives me a lot of choices of where I can travel. I plan to drive to Florida later this year to visit."
"I love living here with Holly and Dick," she said. "They have a lot of space for the family to gather on holidays and special occasions. Friends and relatives come in and out of here all the time. I especially love my church family at the People of Praise United Pentecostal Church, in Leachville. I can't imagine any better place to live, and use as a launching pad. When I get to wanting to go somewhere for a visit, I just take off, with the knowledge I always have this home and area to come back to."
Becky Sue Climer with her photograph collection and scrapbooks. (photo/ Nan Snider)
Becky Sue Kettell as a member of the Women's Army Corps. (photo provided)