In July of 2011, Officer Timothy Warren of the Memphis Police Department was killed tragically at the DoubleTree hotel.
Inspired by his story and in honor of his service, Jan McCain and Nancy Atkinson, Timothy’s mother-in-law, decided to create a quilt for Timothy’s children to remember their father.
“I make T-shirt quilts, Memory Quilts, and all kinds of other quilts for people who have items that they want to use and touch and feel everyday, but just aren’t sure what to do with them,” Jan said about her business Ella Rose in downtown Cleveland.
“Nancy Atkinson, Timothy’s mother-in-law, was quilting here with us,” Jan said. “When he was killed, she collected his T-shirts and wanted to do something for his children so when they got older they would have something to remember him."
In the process, Jan was working on getting a quilting class together but because her she makes her quilts to order, there were no quilts around the shop to use in her quilting class.
“So I asked Nancy to help me,” Jan said. “I told her if she would let me use (Timothy’s) T-shirts I would help her make and finish the quilt while teaching a class with it.
“Her main goal was to keep the T-shirts and preserve them for his children,” Jan said. “So she came to the shop and we worked the quilt together in stages to help the class I was teaching.
“That way the people in the class could see visually the steps you take to make a quilt.
“At the same time we were teaching, we were working on creating Nancy’s Memory Quilt for Timothy.
“I have family that’s in law enforcement,” Jan added. “It was really special to me because I had never known a law officer that had been killed."
Jan said she remembered Timothy from when he was in Cleveland so creating the quilt meant a lot to her.
“I thought how is this to be able to take his shirts and make them into a quilt for his family to enjoy.”
Currently Timothy’s quilt is on display in the window of Jan’s shop downtown.
“I wanted people not to forget,” Jan said.
“The reason I put the quilt on display is because every day law officers risk their lives for us.”
Currently Jan is working on two Memory Quilts from a woman in Memphis and another in Hattiesburg. Their daughters were killed in car accidents.
“Making quilts like this is really special to me and I love what I do.
“We really study these quilts and try to make something that the family can love and enjoy and not let the quilt be a sad thing.
“You truly learn a lot about people from their quilts.
“Though I never personally had a conversation with Timothy, I’ve learned so much about him just from his T-shirts.
“I really thought this whole project tied in really well with Easter,” Jan said.
“This season is all about death and resurrection and I think you can see from Timothy’s T-shirts that he had a very strong relationship with Christ.”