“An Angel is Born: A Family’s Story is a personal and candid memoir set in the small coal-mining town of Weeksbury in the Appalachia mountains of Kentucky. When (Wynn) Johnson writes of what life was like for him and the families in this community his narrative reads like a candid conversation with a family elder who has lived through interesting times. ‘An Angel is Born’ offers detailed and descriptive insights into a town’s evolving economic conditions and families afflicted by tragedies. Ultimately inspiring, ‘An Angel is Born’ is an engaging read and highly recommended, especially for anyone struggling to deal with their own problematic life issues.”
-James A. Cox,
Midwest Book Review
Angel Rose Skiles, was born in 1972 with Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome (RSTS), a form of retardation. She also developed Progeria, or rapid aging, and that wasn’t the only medical ailment the youngster faced. She also suffered from seizures. When she was just a few days old she had extremely high temperatures and doctors warned her parents, Lily and Bill, that Angel may not make it through the night. That warning came numerous times throughout Angel’s life, but for 39 years she defied the odds.
Angel Rose Skiles was never able to talk, and she barely learned to walk but she touched everyone she met in some profound way during her life. She passed away of natural causes on Oct. 1, 2011.
Shortly after Angel’s death, her uncle, Wynn Johnson, had a conversation with his sister, Lily, about what they should do to keep the memory of Lily’s precious daughter alive. Lily recommended writing a short story about her life and submitting it to the local newspaper. Instead, Johnson wrote a book titled, An Angel is Born: A Family’s Story.
About Wynn Johnson
A lot of young men are proud to follow in their father’s footsteps, but Wynn Johnson of Plymouth, Minn., knew better than to become a coal miner, one of the most dangerous professions there is. Before he was born, Johnson’s father had been injured so badly in a coal mining accident he was disabled. His paternal grandfather had also been crippled in a coal mining accident and his grandfather on his mother’s side had been killed.
So, on Sept. 9, 1971, with a high school diploma under his belt, Johnson left his hometown of Weeksbury, Ky., and headed out into the world to seek his fortune. He moved to Springfield, Ohio, and worked for a short time at Vining Broom, a manufacturing company that made brooms and mops. In the mid 1970s he joined the Marines and traveled the world.
After his tour of duty ended, he returned to Vining Broom and became a plant manager. He remained in that position for a few years then left to start up his own contracting company in 1980. Today, Johnson remains an independent contractor, working in the communications industry. He works frequently for Frontier Communications, installing and testing electronics and cable.
Johnson attended Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He and his family now call Minnesota’s Twin Cities area home.
About Weeksbury, KY
Weeksbury, Kentucky is a small coaling town in the heart of Appalachia. It is about two hours southeast of Lexington and about a half-hour from the nearest highway. Route 466 is the only way in or out and that's how people who live there like it.
A good majority of the town's population works in the coal mining industry, one of the most dangerous professions there is. These days, a lot of strip mining goes on there, the environmental impacts of which are feared to be horrendous.
For fun, people of all ages gather on weekends to camp, picnic and listen to music.