|“Trinka” was born Katherine Hull Sells on October 23, 1907 to Rev. James LeGrande Sells and Clara Catherine Hull Sells in Long Beach, Mississippi.
Trinka met Earl Burton Emmerich after her father was appointed to Centenary Methodist Church in McComb, Mississippi, and they were married on August 16, 1929 in the Long Beach church her father had built in 1905. They left immediately for training in the farmlands of Denmark, and then went as agricultural missionaries to various parts of what are now North and South Korea.
The Emmerich’s returned to the U.S. with their first child, Katherine Edith Emmerich, who had been born on March 3, 1932. Earl’s first appointment at home was to tiny Osyka, Mississippi. It paid $500 per year. With the addition on February 14, 1936 of baby Elsa, the family was now four.
In 1937, they moved to Oak Grove, Louisiana where Trinka was able to be close to her sister, Helen, who was the wife of Rev. Willie Poole (and mother to Rev. James M. Poole, Frank Poole and Dan Poole). Then in 1940, they moved to Parker Memorial Church in New Orleans.
Trinka loved New Orleans with its parks, museums and the zoo. After four years in New Orleans, Earl received an appointment to the Conference office in Shreveport. Trinka attended Centenary College of Louisiana where she earned her degree with honors. The association with the college has since become a tradition with the family.
The next move was to Rayville for six years. The parsonage there was large and beautiful. Katherine tried her hand at substitute teaching in the high school, but one day, when the classroom contained 75 students, she quit. Teaching Vacation Bible School was more her style, not unruly teenage boys. From Rayville they were appointed to University Methodist in Lake Charles. In 1958 Earl was diagnosed with Leukemia and told he had three years to live. Earl survived until the appointments were read in 1968, thus assuring Katherine a larger pension and died the following Monday, June 10, 1968. Katherine was appointed as the Children’s Coordinator of the Department of Education of the Louisiana Conference and served in that capacity for two years.
Katherine married Rev. Hubert A. Gibbs in 1970, a marriage that lasted until his death in 1975.
In the late 1970’s, it became evident that something was amiss with Trinka. Her doctor told her in 1978 that she was suffering with dementia. After several difficult years she went to live with Elsa in Bellaire, Texas and worshiped in the Bellaire Methodist Church.
One day, in 1983, after even her full name had escaped her memory, it snowed in Houston. Looking out the hospital window at the heavy snow flurry, Trinka wistfully said an unfamiliar word, almost in a whisper. Elsa asked what the word meant, “…snow in Korean”.
In 1984 Trinka went to live in the Autumn Hills Convalescent Center in Richmond, Texas where she seemed to be happy, and spent the last years of her life. Katherine Hull Sells Emmerich Gibbs died on October 26, 1997.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1998; p. 246
By Elsa Emmerich Jamison &Lee Emmerich Jamison