Living

UnCommonwealth: Updating some people and places from 2015

Debra Luis of California and daughter Allie Luis Sutton spent time with mare Mamma Kimbo and foal in May at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville. Luis had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and wanted to visit Kentucky horse country. She died Nov. 27.
Debra Luis of California and daughter Allie Luis Sutton spent time with mare Mamma Kimbo and foal in May at Taylor Made Farm in Nicholasville. Luis had ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and wanted to visit Kentucky horse country. She died Nov. 27. palcala@herald-leader.com

Debra Luis just wanted to see Kentucky horse country before she died.

The Californian who loved horses had Lou Gehrig’s disease. She visited Kentucky in late May, before the disease sapped too much of her strength.

Luis, 60, was the wife of a dairy farmer and the mother of three children, and she had worked in animal control as a profession and with draft horses as a hobby.

She and her daughter Allie Luis Sutton visited Taylor Made Farm on a late-spring day. The Taylor Made office staff had a picture taken with her.

In the Taylor Made barns, Luis was able to bond with one horse in particular: Mamma Kimbo, who kept nuzzling her even when she had no more treats to give.

Luis died Nov. 27. Afterward, Luis’ family posted some of her final words on Facebook: “To all of my wonderful friends, the struggle is over and my heart is filled with love and gratitude for all of you.”

Singing school custodian expands her audience

Sue Manley thinks that birthdays are to be celebrated, and the school custodian does so by singing a loud, raucous, take-no-prisoners version of Happy Birthday to students and staff at Southside Elementary in Woodford County.

Getting a song from Manley became so popular that even students who have graduated from Southside returned for their birthday song.

“I get tired from the job, the cleaning part, but this, the singing, is my fun part,” Manley said in February. “I tell the kids I’m Southside’s granny.”

Now she is a grandmother in real life. Manley has a 2-month-old granddaughter named Cassie, the daughter of her son, Brad Jones.

And she has another song to sing to this tiny new person: You Are So Beautiful.

Mid-century modern house sells, to close in January

Larry Akey was proud of his Lexington mid-century modern house. When he was a child, his family would drive by it just to look at the house near Bryan Station Road.

Built in 1959, the house showcased Akey’s collection of mid-century modern furniture, lighting and artwork.

Akey put the house on the market on March 25.

Akey, 63, was a passenger in his BMW that was being test-driven by potential buyer Douglas Paul McNally of Jefferson County, when both men were killed July 29 in a three-vehicle wreck on Bryan Station Road.

Five months after Akey’s death, the house sold. It is expected to close this month. The contents were sold separately to someone who specializes in mid-century modern furnishings, Realtor Joe Riddell said.

The new owner of the house appreciates the house’s unusual lines in its wooded site near Bryan Station High School, Riddell said.

“The house is very intriguing,” Riddell said. “We had a lot of interest in it.”

Cheryl Truman: 859-231-3202, @CherylTruman

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