Colleagues, friends remember Demerson
Monday, 25 February 2013 by Matthew Girard
In honor of Black History Month and in honor of one of Belton's most prominent citizens, the Belton Journal asked members of the community and colleagues to help remember former Belton Independent School District Board member Connie Demerson.
Demerson was a member of the BISD Board of Trustees since 2004 and was a pivotal proponent in the passing of a bond issue to turn the former Harris High School, which served black students until 1967, into a community center.
A former student and track standout at Harris High, Demerson worked with BISD and the City to help promote a $900,000 bond to restore and modernize the building that had fallen into disrepair.
Along with her tireless work for the students of BISD, she spent 27 years at the VA Hospital.
Although her health was in decline, Demerson continued to stay active in the community by requesting to be a part of the City's new Captial Improvement Planning Committee and her church, Mount Zion United Methodist Church.
Mount Zion United Methodist's Rev. Roscoe Harrison said Demerson was always community oriented.
"She truly was a person that was dedicated to her community and I would call her a positive community activist in Belton because anything that was good for the community, that's what she supported and that's what se was for," Harrison said. "She was a total community person."
She also left an impression on the other members of the BISD Board of Trustees.
"Connie loved the children in BISD," Rosie Montgomery said. "She was enthusiastic about serving them and allowing them to grown and develop. She was not fearful of growth or change and was always ready to take the next step forward."
Current board member Amanda Winkler said Demerson was special to her.
"From the start of my term as a board member, she took me under her wing," Winkler said. "She never looked down on me or judged mefor my age. She just listened to my thoughts and gave me the utmost respect. I learned so much in three years about wisdom, respect and integrity. I strive to be an amazing role model and community member just as Connie did."
Former board member Tim Stephens said Demerson was a positive influence to all she came in contact with.
"She had a real concern for our students and conducted business on the Board with wisdom and common sense," Stephens said. "I valued her opinion. She always had a positive and encouraging attitude and mad eyou fell good to be around her. I am thankful for the friendship that we devleoped during the six years that I served on the the board."
BISD Board of Trustees President Randy Pittenger said she helped him to "love" Belton.
"Connie is one of the reasons I love Belton, but I also learned from her how to love Belton," Pittenger said. "She was a great model of community service, of investing in community and of giving back to the community you love. She was an active servant who used her time and energy to make Belton a better place."
The Rev. William Hill of Belton's African American Churches United said Demerson was a great role model.
"She was a great community person, educationally and spiritually," Hill said. "What stood out to me was her Christian leadership She was a great innovator and motivator as far as working with people."
Demerson is survived by her husband Elbert (Red) Demerson; four children; 14 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.