Visiting Randy Travis in Texas

Chuck Lipps of Little Hocking believes Randy Travis will sing again someday.

Lipps visited with country music star Travis and his wife, Mary, on Dec. 9 at their home in Tioga, Texas.

Travis, 56, continues to recover from congestive heart failure, caused by viral cardiomyopathy, and a stroke that followed in July 2013.

“He (Travis) can talk … say words, but no sentences,” Lipps told me this week. “He is alert and knew me.”

Travis was able to walk a lap around the house without the assistance of his wife, Lipps said.

Lipps, vice president of Rick Modesitt and Associates Inc. entertainment agency, was happy he got to spend nine hours with Randy and Mary, including going out to dinner with them. “I asked for 30 minutes and got nine hours,” he said.

Travis smiled and laughed as they looked through a “book of memories,” an album of photographs and stories Lipps had put together. Included were photos of when Lipps, as a member of the country band The Breeze, opened for Travis at the Colony Theater in Marietta on Sept. 16, 1986.

From January to June 1987, at a time when Travis’ music career was “exploding,” according to Lipps, The Breeze performed at about 30 shows with Travis and his band.

Lipps said he kept in contact with Travis over the years and talked with him after Travis sang at a concert in Beckley in 2008.

Lipps said he received a text message from Mary when he returned home, saying Travis was happy to see him and talk about old times.

When I asked Lipps about his favorite Randy Travis song, he said he was partial to the singer’s first album, “Storms of Life.” The album debuted in 1986, around the time Lipps and The Breeze met Travis.

“I think Randy will make a total recovery,” Lipps said. “It was an amazing day. I am proud of him. He is lucky to be alive.”


Something has bothered Rick Modesitt of Parkersburg for several years.

During an SW Resources’ benefit auction at the former Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge on Lubeck Avenue in October 2009, Modesitt was the winning bidder on a baseball autographed by Nick Swisher.

Modesitt said he purchased the baseball as a gift to a friend, who was a fan of the Yankees and Swisher. The Yankees, with Swisher as a member of the team, won the World Series in 2009.

Modesitt told me he did not realize a youngster and his parents also were bidding on the Swisher baseball. An 8-year-old boy had asked his parents to bring him to the auction to buy the baseball, Modesitt said.

“I was on one side of the room and whoever I was bidding against was on the other side of the room … I did not see them,” Modesitt said.

When he learned of the boy’s desire to obtain the baseball, Modesitt said he looked for the youth and his parents but could not find them.

He said he asked auction committee members and SW Resources Board members if they knew who those people were, so he could give them an autographed baseball.

“Never could track them down,” Modesitt said.

Every year at the time of the auction, Modesitt said, he thinks of the Swisher baseball and the young boy who wanted to buy it.

“This bothers me,” he said.

Modesitt said he has another baseball, signed by Nick Swisher and his father, Steve, that he wants to give to the boy from the 2009 auction. The ball is in a nice case, he said.

Contact Modesitt at 304-422-4035 if you were the boy from that SW Resources auction of several years ago.


As Janice Foutty prepares to celebrate her 78th birthday on Dec. 28, she has plenty of memories and photographs from a special trip to Alaska this past summer.

Foutty of Washington, W.Va., joined nine other family members on a gospel music cruise to Alaska, with a stop in British Columbia, in late July. The ship made three stops in Alaska.

Alaska was the last of the 50 states Foutty had visited over the years. The trips had stopped in 2006 when Foutty’s husband, Bert, became ill and he passed away in April 2007.

“She mostly quit talking about visiting her 50th state after that,” said her son Doug.

But Janice Foutty’s relatives wanted her to visit that final state.

Foutty mentioned seeing bald eagles, bears, whales, waterfalls, glaciers and other memorable sights. Her Christmas card this year has a photograph of Foutty standing on the deck of the cruise ship with a glacier in the background.

She has albums of photographs from the trip taken by granddaughter Jaime Foutty.

Daughter Carolyn Mullins surprised Foutty with a charm necklace in the shape of the United States engraved with the words No. 50 — Alaska and July 2015 on the back.

Foutty’s favorite state to visit was “beautiful” Hawaii, where she made three trips.

Contact Paul LaPann at