Louise Tinsley Inklebarger gathered 26 of her 28 grandchildren and great-grandchildren together Sunday, the day before the 2008-2009 school year began, and wished them well.
“I’m proud of them and I’ve always said that nobody could say I haven’t contributed to the county,” said, Inklebarger. “They’re all wonderful kids.” All 28 attend Dawson County schools, she said.
“There’s a whole slew that are just starting kindergarten this time.”
The start of a new school year gave Inklebarger, 79, a chance to reflect on her time as a student in Dawson County and her long journey back to school.
“I grew up on a farm and that was back when they had school seven months out of a year. They ran it in two sections. We walked to school. It was a little country school with about 18 or 20 children going,” said Inklebarger.
“I finished there, then I started in Dawsonville and went one year and dropped out and got married in World War II. Who would have thought in 1945 I would have had a slew like this today?
“Before I was 29, I had had all eight of my children,” she added.
At age 19 Inklebarger went to work in the county public works system until retiring at age 65.
Inklebarger’s first husband, Hubert Dean Tinsley died in 1987. Two years later she married her second husband, Joe Conowal.
“He passed away seven years later,” she said. “That’s when I moved to Florida for 6 years where I bought a townhouse.”
After Conowal’s death, Inklebarger spent much of her time traveling.
“I made a lot of trips. I went to Alaska, Italy with my daughter and another trip to France with her,” she said.
It wasn’t until she was 69 that Inklebarger considered going back to school to earn her GED (General Educational Development diploma).
“I didn’t have anything to do after my second husband passed away and Susan, my granddaughter, said, ‘Granny, why don’t you go sign up and study for your GED?’ So I did.” Inklebarger earned her GED after two months of studying.
While living in Florida, Inklebarger met her third and current husband, George Inklebarger.
Today, Inklebarger lives much closer to her large family and said she hopes that they all do well in the coming school year.
E-mail Adam C. Stapleton at firstname.lastname@example.org.