Early morning on October 24th, 2011 my mom June Marett Stallings left this earthly home for her eternal life with Jesus. I know I am biased, but my mom was an incredible woman. She was born on August 9th, 1925 at her grandparents’ home in South Carolina. However, she would grow up in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Georgia during the Great Depression. They were one of the 1st families to move into the Techwood Homes housing project.
Early on my mom learned a strong work ethic, and how to be thankful no matter what circumstances come your way. Her dad left home to find work in Ohio leaving my mom at home with her mother and four sisters. He probably sent money home, but he never returned.
Diner would often consist of cornbread and buttermilk, or perhaps black-eyed peas. Mom and her sisters would take turns on who got the bacon or piece of ham cooked with the peas.
Often a stranger would knock on the door looking for something to eat. Even during these hard times, my mom would watch her mother make sure they never left empty handed.
Years later mom could cook whatever she wanted to eat, but she would often fix her a glass of buttermilk and cornbread. I would then listen to her tell of the joys of growing up. The depression was hard, but mom found joy among family and friends. She only spoke of the joy.
During WWII my mom and her sisters would rise early to walk over to Georgia Tech where they would serve breakfast to the ROTC students who would soon be heading to Europe or the Pacific. Once breakfast was served they would head off to school. After a full day of study they would head back to Tech to serve dinner. My mom would tell me that she knew a lot of people were hurting during this time, but she had a lot of fun at the Georgia Tech dances on Friday nights. Her dance card was always full.
Mom would spend her summers feeding chickens and tending the garden on her grandparents’ farm back in South Carolina.
After the war ended my mom met and married my dad Jack. She also went to work for the Federal Government. Mom and dad would be married for 27 years when my dad died in 1976. Her independent streak would serve her well. My mom would continue to work full time as she raised me and my older sister. She also made sure I was at church each Sunday, and she taught me as a child to pay my tithe. Before I finished High School she retired from the EPA with 33 years of Federal service.
She spent her early retirement traveling with friends and family. She also found time to volunteer at our local hospital. She even went back to work for a short time as a bookkeeper for a local paint store.
I am blessed for all the investments my mom made into my life. She always found the positive, and she loved nothing more than family. She would welcome into her life my wife and soon enough grand kids. (And my sister’s husband and kids) No matter how often I called or went to see her she never thought it was enough. She had a quirky sense of humor that would show up out of nowhere. She loved to tell stories of her childhood and how she loved to dance. It was not until just a few years ago when her body began to grow tired that I ever heard her complain.
After 86 years of a wonderful life, COPD had ravaged her lungs that she passed on. She rose early all her life, so I am not surprised that she died around 5:30 AM. She had to get an early start on eternity.
She died peacefully in her sleep. The struggle to breathe and the painful grip of Arthritis (or Arthur as my mom would call it.) is now gone.
I am sure Jesus asked for the 1st dance. (And I am sure dad was an impatient 2nd)
A large portion of who I am I owe to my mom. I hope the rest of my life will honor her.
I know that I will see her again.
Thanks Mom, I love you,