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Obituaries 3/16/21

Irene Crowder Anderson

Mrs. Irene Crowder Anderson, 100 of the Union Hill community in Clay County, passed away Wednesday morning, February 24, at her residence. She was a member of the Union Hill Church of Christ. She was most commonly known as Mema.

Ruby Irene Crowder was born in Clay County, at the family home to William Mathis and Mary Dee Painter Crowder. She would be the fourth born of their 10 children. A few things to happen in her birth year was: 1920; Women gained the right to vote and President Warren G. Harding was elected. The cost of a new home in 1920 was $6,296, the average income was $2,160/ year and a new car was $525.

As a little girl she attended Big Bottom School in Jackson County. The family moved to Smith County when she was young and there she attended Riddleton School. She often spoke of fond memories of growing up in “Brim Holler” near their school.

Later on, the Crowder family moved back to Brimstone where Mathis Crowder started a general store. Being such a small tight knit community, her brother and sisters grew up very close. Time played no role in this as they remained close and involved in each other’s lives until death.

As a young adult, Irene met Eulice Anderson while he worked on the Wesleyan Church building in Union Hill for CC Camp. When Irene was 20 years old, the two married on June 6, 1941. It was two weeks before she ever told her parents she had gotten married.

Eulice and Irene were married for 46 years until his death in 1987. Once they were married, they lived in Brimstone where they began their family. They attended Brimstone Church of Christ. They would have eight children in total with an upbringing based on faith and family.

Although she prided herself most on being a mother, wife and homemaker, Irene made her children’s clothes and quilted as a seamstress but would be most widely known for her cooking skills. She did hold a few jobs including her first one as a cook at Brimstone School.

It was said that kids would smell her cornbread cooking and sneak out of class and she would slip them a piece. She also worked at small restaurants in Gainesboro and Moss as a cook in the 80’s; she worked as a favorite lunch lady at Hermitage Springs School.

Irene was an extremely proud mother, grandmother, sister and aunt. So much so, that she would save mementos from family members, articles from newspaper, cards and letters sent to her over the years. The cards she would send out on birthdays were always the best because she would add her own personal sentiment. This might include a good luck wish for the next year, a sweet memory or whatever was on her mind. She has written everything from “clean your room” and “you need to lose weight or you’ll smother” to “it’s been a while since I’ve seen you at church” or ‘’you’d better stop driving so fast or you’ll wreck.” She has even included articles from medical magazines if she heard you had been smoking or tanning or eating low carb. She was never shy about her opinion no matter who you were.

A few of her favorite things were Elvis Presley; she was crazy about his voice and collected memorabilia. Her favorite color was purple, and she was drawn to all things in any hue.

Halloween was always special at Mema’s house. She loved dressing up to scare people. Even this past Halloween, the day before her 100th birthday, even though she felt poorly, she put on a straw hat and wig to pass out goodies. Halloween treats always included fresh fruit, circus peanuts, homemade rice krispies and microwave popcorn in individual sandwich bags. She loved pictures. Taking them and having them taken. She had more photo albums than one could imagine. She never went more than a week without having her hair fixed and she always had her makeup on and a nice, coordinated dress or skirt set usually paired with a scarf.

Having two sons and one grandson who served in the military, she was a very proud, patriotic woman. She had faith in her country and often wore red dresses with American flag accessories. She believed in supporting the Wounded Warrior Project and what they stand for. She loved to read. She read her Bible and church bulletins from all over. She also loved reading the newspapers and stayed up to date with National Enquirers, often putting too much stock into those medical mystery stories.

In her almost 34 years as a widow, she lived independently in her own home until her passing. Her ability to turn out a beautiful vegetable garden every year was something to envy. She worked tirelessly tending to every row and plant before harvesting the bounty she would happily share with anyone who stopped by. Even at age 94, she surprised us all by killing a copperhead that came into her garden with only her hoe. She was one tough Mema.

All of that hard work could be enjoyed any day of the week in her kitchen. Whether or not she was expecting company, her stovetop and counters were always full. Huge country breakfasts in the morning because you needed oatmeal and eggs to catch up to her in age! You never left her house in the afternoon without almost being force-fed. Corn, cream potatoes, black eyed peas, greens, okra, cornbread sticks and chocolate or coconut pies. Those meals and the stories she shared around the table will be sorely missed.

Although always surrounded by family and friends and a lifetime of love, Irene has known more loss and heartache than most. In her 100 years, she has lost her parents, husband, eight siblings, four children, one grandchild and one great grandchild. Through it all, her unwavering faith sustained her. She studied the word and loved the Lord and in the end was ready to see her external home. For her family, Mema left footprints that can never be filled but her legacy is one we will forever strive to maintain. She was a true inspiration who will forever be loved and missed.

Irene is survived by: sister, Pauline Scott; daughter, Illona Anderson Leeper; sons, John (Debbie) Anderson, Winston (Joyce) Anderson and Thomas (Sandra) Anderson; daughters in law, Sandra loan Anderson and Lenarta Anderson; 16 grandchildren; 29 great grandchildren, 10 great, great grandchildren; grandsons, Kimmy, Barry, Glynn, Travis, Anthony, Shawn, Derrick, Brandon and Jonathan Anderson and Van Leeper; and granddaughters, Annette Anderson Smith, Tammy Anderson Cooper, Tonya Anderson, Alyshia Anderson and Gina Leeper Vines.

She was preceded in death by: husband, Eulice Anderson; parents, William Matthew and Mary Dee Painter Crowder; brothers, Roger, Earl, Odell and Charlie Crowder; sisters, Ila Stone, Nervie Martin, Jean Brown and Reba Short; children,Glynn, Harold, Ardell and Muriel Fay Anderson; grandson, Waco Anderson and great grandson, Tyler Anderson.

Barbara Thompson Williams

Barbara Thompson Williams, 90, Celina, passed away March 6, in Westmoreland. Funeral services were held March 11 in the chapel of The Upton-Hay Funeral Home with Kenzie Adams officiating. Interment followed in the Thompson Webb Cemetery. Family and friends served as pallbearers.

She was born Dec. 20, 1930 in Clay County. She was a homemaker, enjoyed gardening and flowers, and her greatest love was reading.

She was preceded in death by: parents, Biddle Young Gray and Willie Hazel (Anderson) Gray; both husbands, Jc Thompson and James Williams; and brothers, Bobby, James and Billy Fay Gray.

Surviving relatives include: son, Danny (Linda Maywald) Thompson; grandchildren, Angela Thompson and Kristen (Robert) Thompson; great-grandchildren, Thomas Akins, Chase (Baylee) Akins, Christopher Wooten, Tiffany (Corey) Enyart, Bridget Shaw and Michael Shaw; great-great-grandchildren, Piper Gibboney and Jace Wooten; sisters, Wanda Sue (Slim) Thompson, Elise Thompson and Betty (Billy) Webb; and a host of friends and neighbors.

Elaine Collins

Elaine Collins, 70, of Jackson, TN, passed away March 5 at Baptist Memorial East Hospital in Memphis. Funeral services were held March 21 from the chapel of the Upton-Hay Funeral Home with Dennis Miller officiating. Interment followed in the Kendall Cemetery. Active pallbearers were Nick Turcotte, Cody Cole, Sean Gass, Shannon Gass, Jerry Collins, Jason Collins and Jerry Turcotte. Honorary pallbearers were Shane, Jerome and Rick.

She was born Oct.8, 1950 in Moss. She graduated from Celina High School in 1968. She was a very selfless person and put others before herself. She enjoyed reading, watching TV, collecting recipes and listening to others.

She was preceded in death by: parents, Porter and Estelline Collins.

Surviving relatives include: sons, Shane Collins (Kris Eads), Jason Collins and Jerome (Rachel) Collins; daughters, Kimberly (Rick) Cole, Heather Collins and Angela (Bart) Cash; grandchildren, Jessica (Rebecca), Nicholas (Stephanie), Cody, Lauren, Noah and Jacob; great-grandchildren, Keltyn, Braeden, Arrow, Gunner and Adalyn; brothers, Comer (Linda) Collins, Domer Collins and Jerry Collins; sisters, Elise Lancaster, Buna Likens and Velma (Shelva) Gass; special family members include Raider, Bella, and Tigger (deceased); and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors.

Billy Ray Estep

Billy Ray Estep, 80, of Celina, passed away March 10 at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. Funeral services were held March 13 in the chapel of the Upton-Hay Funeral Home with Willy Kerr officiating. Interment followed in the Tinsley Cemetery. Pallbearers were Dale and Jamie Cohea, Nick Berg, Troy Dill, Brandon and Seth Gilpatrick.

He was born March 21, 1940 in Clay County. He had many hobbies; he loved antique cars, racing, car shows and searching for antique items. He enjoyed outside so much that he enjoyed mowing the yard or building houses.

He was preceded in death by: parents, Ray Granville and Annie May (Adams) Estep; sisters, Irene Key and Louise McClain; and brothers, Waymon, Tommy and Joe Estep.

Surviving relatives include: wife, Mary Sue Estep; sister, Anna Ruth Spurlock; sisters-in-law, Linda Gibbs, Lovena Estep and Sandra Estep; nieces, Tonya (David) Berg, Brenda Gilpatrick, Vonda Madden, Vivian Hanna, Jennifer Estep and Shirly Gore; nephews, Mike Mclain, Joe Estep, Kenny Estep, Dale Cohea and Brandon Gilpatrick; great-nieces, Lindsey (Troy) Dill and Alayna Berg; great-nephews, Jamie (Lindsey) Cohea, Seth, Kevin and Brody Gilpatrick and Nick Berg; and a host of several other nieces and nephews, along with many friends and neighbors.


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