Joanie Pritts, pictured with husband matt, son Jackson, and other members of the family. in 2008, Joanie and Matt dedicated a bench near the Jekyll Island Club Resort to Joanie’s parents, Clyde and Loretta Shipley, who had vacationed on the island since 1989. in 2020, the Pritts purchased a new bench to replace the old, worn one. The original now sits on a hill at their home in Somerset, Pennsylvania, as a reminder of Joanie’s parents’ love for Jekyll and each other.
“When my son, Jackson, was little he would say, ‘I had ice cream with Pappy Shipley on the bench.’ And it totally rocked our world because he never met my parents, but he liked this mint chip ice cream, which was my father’s favorite ice cream… Jackson is 8 now, and when we were down last June, taking photos on the bench like we always do, I could see this haze through my camera lens, like there was someone sitting right beside my son.” — Joanie Pritts
As told to Jennifer Senator
Photographs courtesy of Pritts Family