Leader Blues

Friday, December 18, 2009

TOP STORY >> Cabot woman turns 100 years old

Lillian McCurry of Cabot turned 100 years old last Saturday. She is seated next to Mayor Eddie Joe Williams and her children, Allen Truett McCurry of Maumelle, Bernice Burns of Cabot and Laquita Wisner of Star City. 
Leader staff write

Lillian McCurry of Cabot celebrated her 100th birthday last Saturday with family and friends at the home of her daughter Bernice and her husband Lawrence Burns.

Mayor Eddie Joe Williams made a visit during the celebration and proclaimed the day as Lillian McCurry day in the city.

McCurry’s other children are another daughter, Laquita Wisner of Star City, and a son, Allen Truett McCurry of Maumelle, who all came to wish their mom a happy birthday.

Lillian McCurry has nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Lillian McCurry was born Dec. 12, 1909. She was the seventh child of Hila and Alvis Luker. She had 20 brothers and sisters. McCurry has only one living sister, Versal Messer, 88, of Oklahoma City, Okla.

She grew up on a 750-acre farm at Luker’s Corner in Yell County near Plainview. The farm was self-sufficient. On the farm were apple and peach orchards. The family raised sheep and horses. They grew corn and cotton.

McCurry went to Yell County schools up to the eighth grade, the highest grade taught at the school.

McCurry married the late Rev. Allen McCurry in 1927, when they were both 18. They were married for 46 years.

McCurry attended Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia for two years.

She taught school in Gassville during the Second World War.

After teaching a few years, McCurry helped her husband in his mission work. Allen McCurry lead congregations in Yell County, Perryville, Monticello, Searcy, Conway and Little Rock.

Her husband led congregations for 46 years until retiring in 1975. They moved back to Plainview, where he preached at a local church. Allen passed away 18 months later.

Lillian lived in Plainview by herself for 27 years until moving to Cabot Manor Nursing Home in 2003.

She was always active in church. For 53 years, she taught Bible studies. She also organized women’s missionary societies, teaching Bible classes.

McCurry also sang in the church choir.

She also ministered to the congregation.

Sunday mornings, she greeted and welcomed each church member. She asked about their well-being.

After her husband’s passing, she taught Bible studies to adults each Sunday night for 13 years.

According to Bernice Burns, her mother “believed that education and Christianity went hand in hand, one helping to spread the other.”

Her mother once said, “I am so glad I have spent my life telling people how to get into Heaven.”

“She told us lots of stories. When our dad was gone out of town to preach, we would climb in her bed and she would tell us stories until we went to sleep. They always had a moral and the good guys always won in the end,” Burns said.

McCurry had an ear for music. She played the guitar and the piano. She taught her children how to sing and play music. When she was 90 years old, she wrote the music and lyrics to “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah! What a Savior.”

Burns said her mother has had a healthy life. She loved fresh vegetables from her garden and ate little meat. McCurry would take an afternoon nap and went to bed by 9 p.m.

McCurry did not smoke or drink alcohol and she limited her caffeine intake. She believed in eating three meals a day and no eating in between. McCurry thought of sandwiches as “snack” foods, Burns said.

“On days that we walked home from school in the cold weather she would always have cookies made or maybe a hot sweet potato to hold us over till supper. She loved sweets and made lots of pies,” Burns recalled.

Burns recalled how her mother was a strict disciplinarian.

“Sometimes when we complained about our household chores, she would say in a ‘singing’ voice, ‘Do your best, take a rest and sing yourself a song.’

“If we didn’t start doing the job immediately without complaining, we would get the switch on our legs. She was not a hard mother; but she had a strong understanding of what was right and what was wrong and taught her children accordingly,” Burns said.

Burns is a retired registered nurse who worked at Rebsamen Medical Center until the 1990’s. Her sister is a retired junior high history teacher who taught classes in Pine Bluff.

Her brother Allen is a retired school principal. For 33 years he was principal at several schools, including Pinewood Elementary and Murrell Taylor Elementary in Jacksonville.