Family’s eulogy for Barron shared
Published 12:49 am Saturday, April 30, 2016
Today’s writing is a story written by family members for a eulogy to be presented at the funeral of a loved one. Elma (Fuqua) Barron was 90 years of age when she passed away on April 7, 2016, at the home of her son near Brantley. Throughout the years she shared her memories and described the different stages of her life to her children. These were recorded and included in the tribute offered during her memorial service. This summary is offered as a sample of what families might do to preserve the history and life experiences of their parents, grandparents, etc.
Elma Fuqua was born May 9, 1925, in Andalusia. She grew up on the Simmons Place on Simmons Bridge Road, which was the old Brooklyn Road that is currently called Padgett Road. Her family lived in a sharecropper community where her father, James Wesley “Jim” Fuqua, helped run the huge farm. He farmed most of his life and helped rear his children with his wife, Naomi Cornelia “Oma” (Stokes).
Elma was reared with a strong work ethic. At an early age, she and her older sister, Lillian (Fuqua) Vaughn, would rise at 3 a.m. and strike the fire in the old wood burning cook stove. She would then milk the cows while her sister cooked breakfast for the family. However, after all the hard work, they had time for some fun.
She reminisced with her family of how she and her siblings worked in the fields chopping cotton, picking cotton, stacking peanut vines, etc. This was their way of life, and they did not know anything but hard work. She explained how at the young age of seven she was taught to care for herself and her responsibilities, a philosophy which he upheld throughout life.
In her day, school was secondary to work on the farm and especially during harvest season. During those times she and her siblings might have gone to school only one day a week when they were needed for farm work. She said they had to walk three miles to school, which was probably at Adellum.
After work for the day was done, the neighbors would gather, usually in the yard, and listen to a radio powered by a battery that one of the families would have. And these yards were kept clean. Elma and her siblings would sweep theirs with homemade brooms. They would gather saplings such as gall berry for the brooms and bind them with wire. On occasions Elma and her brothers would play guitars, and her brother, Jeff Hines Fuqua, would play a juice harp. They listened to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights.
Elma was close in age to her brother, James Wesley “J.W.” Fuqua Jr., so she naturally became a tomboy. She would fish and hunt with him during their slack time and would set bird traps during the winter months. She is remembered for having exceptional skill when firing guns. She would tell these stories with so much emotion that one could feel a part of it. She shared many other memories that space does not permit. She remembered her childhood fondly even though it involved hard work and that she was never bored, which is so different from the world we live in today.
Elma had three brothers who preceded her in death: Burl James, Thomas, and James Wesley Jr. “J.W.” Fuqua. Her younger brother, Jeff Hines Fuqua, currently lives on the parents’ home place on Padgett Road, and her two sisters, Lillian (Fuqua) Vaughn and Kathryn (Fuqua) Brown Loftin, reside in Pintlala, Ala.
As a young lady, Elma moved with Lillian to Andalusia to find work. Her first job was as a switchboard operator with Bell Telephone, but she later found a better paying one at the Alatex, a local sewing factory. During that time she met Samford Kierce Barron, and they were soon married when she was 16 years old. They lived in a boarding house on Dunson Street owned by Sam’s uncle and aunt, Bubba Barron and Sister Fannie Barron, who were positive influences on the young couple. Within the first five years of marriage they had their three children: James, Shirley and Jerry.
Around 1949 Elma and Sam moved with their children to Louisiana and settled in Zackary, located on White’s Bayou, to make their home. They reared their children there and would make the eight or nine hour trip back to Andalusia to visit relatives. During those early years Elma’s father, Jim Fuqua, had saved his money and was able to purchase 600 acres of land on Padgett Road. Jim and his family enjoyed living in a large dog-trot style house on the property for some years until they were able to build a new one. The new house was located nearby and next to Coker Mill Creek on which Jim built a feed mill for crushing feed for the local farmers’ stock. Elma recalled seeing several wagons lined up for their corn, hay and such to be milled into feed.
In 1959 an electrical storm destroyed the Barrons’ new house in Zackary Estates. Everyone was able to escape safely, but they lost almost everything they had. Haunting memories of the tragedy lingered with them through the years. During these years Elma worked as a bookkeeper and cashier at National Food Grocery in Baton Rouge. She worked with Sunflower and Kroger Groceries as well. She worked diligently to be a good employee, went home and cooked supper each night and kept an immaculate house. Then she was up early the next morning serving breakfast to her family before heading out to her job.
In 1962, Sam lost a leg after a shooting accident while on a family outing on the Ko-Mit River, which they frequented. Later in the year the family moved back to Andalusia where they build a house across from her Fuqua parents on Simmons Bridge (Padgett) Road. Here they raised beef cattle for slaughter and later opened a meat market on River Falls Street. After the closing of the market, Elma went to work at the Alatex, and Sam enrolled at MacArthur Technical College to study computer programming. They next moved to New Orleans where Elma continued to work to help Sam further his education at Tulane University.
The family’s next move was to Pascagoula, Miss., where Sam worked as a computer analyst, and Elma was able to be a homemaker doing the things she loved. She always enjoyed working in her yard growing flowers and being an avid shopper at yard sales and thrift stores. She had a keen eye for items she could restore and resell at a good profit. She always had the motivation for buying and selling and was quite successful in the bargaining game.
Following Sam’s death in 1977, Elma moved back to Andalusia and settled in a house they had been restoring, which was located on Pinewoods Road near the homes of her sons, James and Jerry. She once again maintained an attractive house and beautiful grounds. She later made her home on Cedar Road off Brooklyn Road next to her son, Jerry, and his family. There she was able to enjoy the family, their pond and fishing, which was a true delight for her. She also enjoyed playing cards with her cousins who were neighbors and going out to eat with them after church services at Cedar Grove Church of Christ where they were faithful members. Her son, James, and family would visit her regularly, and her daughter, Shirley and husband Stanley Kierce, would visit from Tallassee. Her son, Jerry’s, death in 2009 was a devastating blow to the family. She loved and enjoyed her children and grandchildren dearly.
In 2010 Elma’s son, James, moved her to live near him in the Brantley area. She again enjoyed growing flowers and helping James in his garden. She was an excellent cook and enjoying entertaining in her home. She appeared to enjoy every aspect of her life, especially during the last years. Then at 90 years of age, she suddenly suffered a very debilitating stroke, from which she passed away a few days later on April 7, 2016. Her family held a memorial service in her honor on Sunday,, April 17. Her remains were buried next to her husband in the Cedar Grove Church Cemetery.
This writer suggests every family should have someone to write such histories of their aging loved ones. Such will become priceless remembrances and endear future generations. Appreciation is expressed to this family for doing this and sharing with others.
Anyone who might have a comment regarding this writing is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: email@example.com.
HISTORICAL MEETING: The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederated Veterans will meet at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library. First Lt. Commander Hank Roberts will present a slide show on the Blakely Battle Field Park. Anyone interested in Confederate heritage is invited to attend.