June 8, 2021

BE WHO YOU ARE

When the Rouse family joined our church in Columbia (Irmo, to be exact), they were enthusiastically welcomed as far as we were concerned. Mark was a State Farm insurance agent, Janice a nurse—Ivy was their daughter, and her younger brother was Stanley. This photo is Janice with Ivy and Stanley at our house for a Christmas Eve brunch. 

Mark and Janice joined the church choir and he soon was part of the popular men’s quartet and also played trumpet for special music.  Janice was a loving and firm mother and seemed very self-confident, never hesitating to speak her mind.  

After they’d been our friends for several years, I remember asking once if it ever bothered them to be the only African Americans in our church.  They laughed and said no—that it seemed to be a pattern for them. This was in the mid-eighties. During the past year, I’ve wondered if this would be the case now.

 Although I haven’t seen the Rouses for many years now, I have every reason to believe they still have that self-assurance and love of family.  Mark is still with State Farm and very active with ColaJazz. They were actively providing great music for people during the pandemic—I enjoyed watching this 2020 YouTube video of Mark Rouse and Friends. Just look at the face of little Ivy in today’s photo.  You can see that she’s a strong person, confident and that she will speak her mind.  She married Adrian Tillman whom she met while they were Clemson students. They have four sons—from ages 5 to 21! Her firstborn son is at Kennesaw State University and his youngest brother just graduated from high school and will be his roommate at college in the fall. Ivy is the Institutional Review Board Office Director and Human Protections Administrator at Augusta University, where she is working on her doctorate in Educational Innovation. She is passionate about her family, her faith, her career and racial justice.  She took a day off from work to watch the Biden-Harris inauguration.  What a woman!

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