Obituaries for Tues., Jan. 6, 2015

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Mrs. Allie V. Rabren, 87, of Andalusia, passed away Sun., Jan. 4, 2015, at the South Baldwin Regional Medical Center.

Funeral services will be held today at 2 p.m., Tues., Jan. 6, in the Keahey Funeral Home chapel. The Rev. Carl Douglas will officiate. Interment will follow in the Andalusia Memorial Cemetery with Keahey Funeral Home directing.

Family will receive friends one-hour prior to the service.

Survivors include daughters, Vickie (Farley) Shaw of Foley and Janet (Terry) Stahler of Gulf Shores; brother, Joel Suggs of Andalusia; sisters, Mary Harwell and Alice Grantham, both of Andalusia; granddaughter, Braeton Stahler; stepgrandchildren, Elijah and Joshua Shaw; and great-grandson, Bradley Stahler.

Mrs. Rabren was preceded in death by her husband, Clifford Rabren; four sisters, Bessie Cooper, Erma Anderson, Willie Mae Cassady and Margaret Maust; and two brothers, James and William C. Suggs.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the charity of one’s choice.



Mrs. Jeanice Paul Kirkland, of Andalusia, gracefully departed this life on Fri., Jan. 2, 2015.

A service to celebrate her life was held at 11 a.m., on Mon., Jan. 5, 2015, at the First Baptist Church of Andalusia. A graveside service immediately followed. The Rev. John Foster and the Rev. Fred Karthaus officiated. Foreman Brown Funeral Home directed.

Jeanice was preceded in death by her daughter, Susan Jeaneace Kirkland; her parents, Judge and Mrs. Eris Freeman Paul (Jean Richardson); and her brother and sister-in-law, Brice and Lynda (Bryan) Paul.

Survivors include her husband, Jimmy Terry Kirkland of Andalusia; her daughter, Kimberly Kirkland Back (Kent) of Gadsden; her grandson, Kent Allen Back, Jr. (Celeste) of New York City; her granddaughter, Elizabeth Kirkland Back of Nashville; her nephew, Eris Bryan Paul (Ginny) of Birmingham; and her nieces, Karen Kirkland Copeland of Troy and Kathryn Kirkland of Opp.

Jeanice, or “Necie” as she was known to family, grew up in Elba, where her father was a longtime circuit court judge, and her mother taught home economics at Elba High School. Growing up in a small town played a large part in forming her values as a sister, wife, mother, grandmother, educator, and friend.

Her love of the Lord and family came first, but her love for the University of Alabama fell in a close second. Jeanice graduated from the University in 1964 with a major in elementary education and minor in vocal performance. She then earned her master’s in education from Troy University in 1975.

In 1991, Jeanice was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award given by the UA College of Education. She served as the Covington County Alumni Association president, National Alumni Association Vice President (1986-88), was the second female elected as the National Alumni Association President (1991-92), and in 1998 received the National Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumna Award. Her father also received this award in 1989, thus becoming the first father-daughter duo to achieve this honor.

Other University honors included being in the inaugural class of The XXXI, inaugural class of the School of Education Hall of Fame, member of Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Delta Delta sorority sister, and member of the search committee that brought Chancellor Robert Witt to the University. She was a current member of the President’s Cabinet at the University.

Her lifelong love affair with music began at an early age as she began playing the organ at First Baptist Church of Elba as a teenager. She later was the organist and pianist at First Baptist Church of Andalusia for 41 years. Jeanice taught private music lessons in Andalusia, teaching virtually every instrument. Any visit to the Kirkland household included the sound of Jeanice practicing her pieces for the upcoming Sunday service. No member of First Baptist Andalusia will be able to forget the way Jeanice commanded the sanctuary as she approached the organ and piano each Sunday with a regal grace only she could seem to possess.

Her grandchildren fondly remember hours spent sitting with Necie on her piano bench, marveling at her talent and hoping to someday play as beautifully as she. Her aptitude for the piano and organ was rivaled only by her soprano’s voice. Her family will greatly miss the way she could electrify the room with “Boogie Woogie,” and then, at the drop of a hat, sing the most wonderful rendition of “O Holy Night” they had ever heard.

As an educator, Jeanice was unmatched. Countless stories exist of her special talent to reach every student and find in them the ability to not only achieve, but excel. She truly believed in each child’s potential to succeed as learners and demonstrated that belief in her everyday interactions with her students, each complete with a smile, a word of encouragement, and a suggestion of a book that was “a must read.”

Jeanice educated students in the Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and Andalusia public schools. Most recently, she added the Metro Nashville Schools to her resume, as she taught a lesson to her granddaughter Kirkland’s 5th grade class. Her final moments in the classroom were completely and wholly representative of her great talent as she stood in front of the class and, for the first time that year, every student fell silent and sat in wonder.

However, that was not to be her last act of teaching. Jeanice never missed a “teaching moment,” and that tradition carries on even now. Webster’s Dictionary defines the Latin phrase dei gratia as “by the grace of God.” Jeanice’s life exuded these very words. She believed fully that she was sustained –and thereby sustained others—only by the love of God, dei gratia. Through the passing of her daughter, Susan, she remained faithful—dei gratia. Her family was so very blessed to be her most treasured students—dei gratia. Even now, we are thankful to be here together in celebration of a life magnificently lived—dei gratia. Jeanice would want each of us to conduct ourselves with honor, integrity, and truth; and so, as we go, we shall—dei gratia.

Pallbearers were Kent Allen Back, Jr., Bryan Paul, Paul English, Jr., David Dorsey, Judd Wiggins, and Tommy Ford.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Jeanice and Jimmy Kirkland Scholarship Fund, with checks payable to the University of Alabama, National Alumni Association, The University of Alabama, P. O. Box 861928, Tuscaloosa, AL 35486-0017; or the First Baptist Church of Gadsden, P. O. Box 456, Gadsden, AL, 35902.



Mrs. Nellie Taylor, 82, of Andalusia, passed away on Wed., Dec. 31, 2014, at her residence.

A memorial service will be held in the spring of 2015, and all family and friends will be notified of the date closer to time.

Mrs. Taylor is survived by her husband, Stanley Earl Taylor; sons and daughter-in-law, James Thomas and Marcia Green Jr. and Ronald Eugene Green; daughter and son-in-law, Elicia Kaye and Joey Meadows; brother, Willie Edmiston; and sisters and brother-in-law, Betty Motley and Laura and Gene St. John.

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