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Tue, Sep 16, 2014

PIRTLE: Jeanne Bragg will always be Mrs. Murfreesboro

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Some years ago now when I had a vision for what became The Murfreesboro Post, I had a vision of a newspaper that reflected fully on this unique and special community.

I wanted a publication that spoke to and from the community, a quality abandoned sadly by too many newspapers anymore.

Among other goals was a voice who spoke from deep in the community and reflected the deep and important values, certainly including an abiding love of this place, shared by so many of us.

Thus was the inspiration for “Mrs. Murfreesboro.”

While I pondered on the question for weeks and considered many, many possibilities, the first candidate that came to mind always remained the best choice.

“Mrs. Murfreesboro” should be “Mrs. Murfreesboro,” Jeanne Bragg, the First Lady of Murfreesboro, the wife of then Mayor Tommy Bragg.

A native of Tennessee, she had long made her home here, worked here and raised her children here. She stood side by side with Tommy (although not head to head), a member of a historic and distinguished Murfreesboro family. She was involved in the community in countless ways through the years.

And, perhaps most importantly, she was ¬¬   and is just a delight.

Jeanne is a delightful lady. Having nothing to do with titles and offices, she knows who she is and what she is a great example of the best of us.

Whenever I ran into her friendly self she always had such interested, insightful observations and stories from our community, more often than not dealing with a library employee with extraordinary expertise and knowledge in some astonishing area, a computer tech with a great personality or a gardener with special ways to deal with a particular kind of weed.

But, I don’t think at that time Mrs. Murfreesboro had ever been a writer, and she certainly wasn’t a person with interest in drawing attention to herself.

When I first approached her about being “Mrs. Murfreesboro” in the Post, at that time a publication of 45,000 distribution weekly, more than all other newspaper of any type combined, she heard me out, thought about it and then politely as she possibly could said no.

I was heartbroken, but hid that because I knew what I was asking was a lot.

Tommy had by then retired from a successful printing career, lots of great things were going on in their lives, especially with their children.

A day later, as best I recall, Jeanne called back and said she would do it.

So, for some eight years now we have been blessed to enjoy weekly her unique view of life in our community, providing a true and real slice of Murfreesboro.

Now, with Tommy stepping away from mayoral duties, Mrs. Murfreesboro decided it is time to escape her weekly deadline (no big thing until you try to do it at which time it becomes very big.)

Thank you, Jeanne, for saying yes. Thank you for eight years of thinking of all of us every week and what you might share with us.

We welcome a new Mrs. City of Murfreesboro, but at least to this old once newspaper editor you will always be Mrs. Murfreesboro.

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column, jeanne bragg, mike pirtle, mrs. murfreesboro, newspapers
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