Jean Peacock loves Clayton County.
Meeting for a cup of coffee in Morrow to talk about her community was about as natural as anything in life could be for the longtime Clayton County resident.
“It’s easy to talk about something you love,” she said.
When asked why she is so positive about the county, her answer came quickly and easily, “My experiences.”
Peacock’s life has been full of positive experiences and as she shared a lifetime of memories, her words were as soothing as the sip of morning coffee.
“I know all the negative things. I am not blind to them, but I choose to be positive,” she said.
She retired a couple of years ago after 38 years as the administrative assistant at Morrow First United Methodist Church. Beyond her career at the church, Peacock has volunteered throughout the community, taught public schools and touched many lives.
A 62-year resident of Clayton County, she has seen a lot of changes in her lifetime.
She first moved to Joy Lake with her family in the 1950s and has called Joy Lake, Forest Park, Mountain View and now Morrow, where she has lived since 1964, her home.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Peacock taught at East Clayton Elementary School.
“Schools are so different now,” she said. “Teachers now have to spend more time disciplining than teaching.” She added, “It all comes down to parents. The more involved parents are, the better the school and learning environment becomes.”
In the early 1970s, she found another calling as she served her church through four decades, while volunteering throughout the community with her husband.
In 1957, she was married to Jon C. Peacock, who died in 2010.
They had two children, who now live in Stockbridge and Griffin.
Peacock also boasts of 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
While some people may struggle to find words for the things they love about their community, a very articulate Peacock was quick to provide a list.
“Its history. Its charitable resources for the indigent. Its health and welfare resources for persons with disabilities and addictions. Its volunteer programs. Its cultural arts offerings. Its libraries. Its parks and recreation facilities. Its religious diversity. Its civic organizations and their good works. Its educators. Its parents and grandparents. Its public safety programs. Its senior services. Its board certified physicians and medical facilities. Its patriotism. Its dedication. Its pride. Its determination. Its reality. Its vision for the future,” she said with no loss for words.
The two things now for which she seems to have the most passion are community theater and beautification.
From 1973 through 1981, she was an officer of the Clayton Little Theatre, founded by her husband, Jon. They were also actively involved in Pen & Pica Writers Group, Plays, Poetry and Journalism, Clayton County Arts and Humanities and Arts Clayton, among any other community organizations.
Now, as a member of Historical Jonesboro / Clayton County, along with arts groups in Jonesboro and Morrow, she is a part of a committee to revive local theater in Clayton County and the city of Morrow.
“More on that to come,” she said with excitement.
In the early 1980s, she served as the communications chairman for Leadership Clayton’s Clayton Clean and Beautiful Project. She spoke of the crest they developed with artist Don Lee of a large magnolia that highlighted what she called, “Clayton County’s southern roots, a beautiful flower with a pleasing smell and a strong tree that lives many years and grows to great heights.” She said she is pleased with a recent effort of Leadership Clayton to recapture those early visions with a motto of, “A Clean and Beautiful Clayton County, A Great Place to Live Work and Play.”
“That is how I see Clayton County. Those are the experiences I have had living here. I choose not to focus on the negative. What you see depends on where you focus,” she said.
Cup of Coffee & Casual Conversation is a recurring series appearing in Clayton News Daily as editor Jim Zachary sits down over a cup of coffee with Clayton County people with interesting stories to tell.