Obituaries for Fri., March 28, 2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 28, 2014


J.E. “Butch” Umbarger Jr. died Wed., March 26, 2014, after a prolonged illness. He will be sadly missed by all who had the good fortune to know and love him. Umbarger was a man of character and humility. Never one to seek the spotlight – which can be difficult at 6’6” – he served in ways too numerous to count. He was born in Memphis, but spent most of his childhood in Rose Hill, Ala.



Umbarger graduated from Straughn High School and went on to earn his Bachelor of Science degree from Troy University, and then his Masters in Education from the University of South Alabama.
As a husband, he provided love and support to Diane, while enjoying the opportunity to tease her and act like he was in charge. As a father, he provided Debbie and Chad a shining example of accountability and responsibility, always ready to support and coach, but never shirking the duty of discipline. As a grandfather, he would surely spoil Trey and MacKenzie with his love and attention, without ever overindulging. As a marine, he put his patriotism in action, dutifully serving his country in Vietnam. As a brother, he provided Andy and Jerry a sense of heritage, always remembering the roots from which they sprang and the importance of their good name. As a teacher at Murphy High School and George County High School, “Mr. Umbarger” shed light into countless lives, providing challenges and counseling, and helping so many young people realize their potential. He was awarded the honor of teacher of the year from both Murphy High School and George County High School.
Surely, we will never forget the infectious laugh that was heard so often. His wit and dry sense of humor were sometimes self-deprecating, but often ways to get others to laugh at themselves. He possessed an uncanny ability to listen to others and sum up the situation in precious few words – in a way that lightened the heart and allowed us to be thankful for all we have. An avid outdoorsman, he truly enjoyed his opportunities to hunt and fish. His time in the woods or on the water always provided rejuvenation, and usually some great things to eat. And, Lord, could he cook!  From a real country breakfast (biscuits from scratch, please), to an unforgettable gumbo, he could feed scores of friends and family and no one ever left wanting anything but a nap. Getting invited to eat at the Umbargers meant a real treat – and many promises afterward to never eat that much again!

All of us pray for God’s grace to replace the grief we feel with his loss with the realization that he will always be in our minds and hearts as an example of what we can be.   Umbarger is survived by his wife and “best friend,” Diane Willard Umbarger; his daughter, Debbie (Craig) Umbarger Greer; his son Thomas Chad; grandchildren, Trey and MacKenzie Greer; brothers, Marion A. “Andy” (Sharon) Umbarger and Jerry Wayne (Susie) Umbarger,; and numerous in-laws and out-laws and his beloved Labs, Gracie and LuLu.

He was preceded in death by his father, James Eugene Umbarger Sr. and mother, Mary Oleta Moore Umbarger.

The family would like to offer a special thank you to Dr. Jeffery George and his staff at the Southern Cancer Center as well as Umbarger’s caregivers Kenetha Moore, Cynthia Tabb and Amy Fisher. Visitation will be held today, Fri., March 28, from 5 until 8 p.m. at Radney Funeral Home on Dauphin Street. Funeral service will be held Sat., March 29 at 2 p.m. from the sanctuary of Crawford United Methodist Church, 7470 Moffett Road, Mobile, AL. 36618 with the Rev. Hoyt Pearson officiating. Interment will follow in Mobile Memorial Gardens with military honors.  Pallbearers will be; Dennis Alvin Cole, John David Morrow, Gary G. Rehm, Jr., Jason Barker, Paul Allen Emrich and Michael Smith. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his honor to the Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.

Condolences may be offered at


Joyce Marie Byrd, 62, of Dozier, passed away Mon., March 24, 2014, at her residence.

Funeral services will be at today, Fri., March 28 at 2 p.m. from Foreman Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Bill Lutz officiating. Interment will follow in Macedonia Cemetery.

Byrd is survived by her husband, Don Byrd of Dozier; her daughters, Daneice (Russell) Clark of Leesburg, Ga., Hope Marie Byrd and Grace Byrd of Dozier; sons, Shawn (Sharrie) Byrd of Dozier and Shane (Cindy) Thornton of Kemah, Texas; 10 granddaughters; two great grandsons; brother, Michael (Ramona) Watkins of Pearland, Texas; sisters, Ann (Ken) Hearin of Citronelle and Barbara (Les) Hinote of Bay Minnette.

She is preceded in death by her daughter, Christy Maddaloni; parents, Margie Elton Watkins and Betty Watkins; and sister. Patricia Sims.

Family and friends unable to attend the services may sign the guest registry online at


Robert Earl Ivey (RE), 85, of Andalusia, passed away Wed., March 26, 2014, in a Dothan hospital.

Ivey attended and graduated from high school in Monroeville and was president of his senior class in 1947. He lived in Monroeville until 2002 and was an employee of Vanity Fair Mills, Inc. for 42 years until his retirement. Ivey, and his first wife Nancy Sheffield Ivey, who preceded him in death, was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Monroeville.

At the time of his death, Ivey was a member of the First Baptist Church of Andalusia and a member of the Senior Adult Glory Singers.

Funeral services will be held Sun., March 30, at 2 p.m. from the First Baptist Church of Andalusia. The Rev. Fred Karthaus will officiate. Interment will be in the Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville.

Ivey is survived by his beloved wife, Edwyna Lane Ivey of Andalusia; daughters, Sherry (Larry) Ivey Eddins of Enterprise and Dell (Bo) Ivey Moody of Monroeville; sons, William Robert (Cathy) Ivey of Charlotte, N.C. and Ty Sheffield Ivey of Fairhope; eight grandchildren; four step-grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren; sisters-in-law, Dorothy (L.J.) Sheffield Stewart of Monroeville and Jean (Tom) Lane (Frazer of Montgomery; brother-in-law, Wayne (Rosemary) Lane of Jacksonville, Fla.

He was preceded in death by his first wife, Nancy Sheffield Ivey; his mother, Jennie Bradley Warren Ivey; his father, Robert Earl Ivey; and sisters, Ercell Ivey Jones, Earlene Ivey Allen and Mable Ivey Moorer.

Pallbearers will be Larry Eddins, Lance Eddins, Bo Moody, Mike Moorer, Thomas Strickland, J.D. Buxton and Randy Marshall

The family will receive friends at 1 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church.

Flowers or memorials to the charity of one’s choice will be accepted.

Family and friends unable to attend may sign an online registry at