Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Mom's Eulogy

Billie Sue Herring was born March 2, 1946, in Scurry County. A blessing to the home of W.P. “Bill” and Jimmie Herring of Dermott, she joined siblings Ray and Nelva in a life filled with fishing in the tank, reading Sunday Funnies, trips to the garden and a succession of dogs. At night, Nelva was charged with keeping her warm. She would burrow under the covers to the foot of the bed. “Billie Sue, what are you doing down there?” Nelva would ask. “I clean my toes out,” came the answer.

It’s often said that when you pass to over to the other side, and a headstone is erected at your grave, the dates of your birth and death don’t really matter. It’s what you do with the dash in between that really counts. While Sue’s time on Earth was relatively short, she made the most of her “dash.”

She attended school at Fluvanna, graduating in 1964. Being a Fluvanna Buffalo was quite the experience – school friends who became Friends for Life, stealing cotton bales from the gin and strategically placing them around town. During a party at Edith McKennah’s house, Sue managed to lock herself in a bathroom at the other end of the house. If you were lucky enough to spend any time at Mrs. McKennah’s house, you know that was a long ways from the party. Luckily, there was a phone in the bathroom, and Sue was able to get an operator to help rescue her.

Sue graduated from Lubbock Christian College in 1966 and Abilene Christian College in 1968 with a teaching degree. She taught school in Lubbock for several years.

She was blessed with three daughters, D’Lyn, M’Lys and A’Lise. As they remember their growing-up years, most of those memories involve cars. Whether it was the old blue Pontiac, a station wagon or the van they affectionately called the “beached whale,” she was always driving them somewhere. As a volunteer leader with the Borden County 4-H Club, she drove many a mile to stock shows, fashion shows, food shows…. anything 4-H had to offer. She rarely missed a basketball game or other activity, and there’s no telling how many miles could be attributed to orthodontist appointments.

Sue was a talented seamstress. She made most of the dresses, all of the formals and many of the other clothes the girls wore growing up. And of course, no outfit was complete without white eyelet lace or rick-rack.

In 2000, Sue added the title of “Granny” when Abbie Grayce was born. About that time, her daughters started hearing the name “Milton” more and more. She would often tell them he made her feel safe when he held her hands in his sturdy ones. On October 25, 2001, she married him. The whole family was thrilled – this Godly man knows how to drive a tractor. With Milton came a whole new slew of family -- Terry and Theresa (pronounced: Tressa) and their children Brantley and Abbey. Tobi and Gordon. And Todd. Emma and Raylee and Kaitlyn joined the crew in 2002.

Once a Granny, Sue was in her element. Showing off pictures and telling tales about the grandkids brought her so much joy. They all loved to pile in the pick-up and check the cows. She loved to watch soccer, baseball and softball games – rooting her grandkids on with the best of them. And no matter what they said or did, she was sure they were the smartest, most clever, most creative children that ever existed.

Sue and Milton loved to travel. Whether it was a trip to Ruidoso, an Alaskan cruise or a trip to Germany to visit Mike and Gudren, they were always ready for an adventure. Whether at home or abroad, much of their relationship centered around cooking and food – after all, in this family eating is an Olympic sport. Sue and Milton could always be counted on to provide a brisket, dressing, cobbler, or other dish whenever needed. And of course, no family gathering would have been complete without Sue’s famous pasta salad. While cooking brought so much pleasure, all would be put aside if the grandkids wanted to go check the cows.

Where Sue was concerned, taking care of things didn’t end at home. She was the secretary at Anderson & West C.P.A. in Snyder for 26 years and was secretary of the Snyder Ministerial Alliance. She was a board member of the Big Country Electric Co-op for several years and helped plan many Fluvanna Homecomings. She was a long-time member of the Fluvanna Church of Christ, seldom missing a church service. The faithful example she set for her children and others set about a chain reaction that will spread Christ’s love for years to come. Most recently, she was a member of the Gail Church of Christ.

When Jesus took Sue into his arms Saturday, July 21, she joined a whole host of loved ones gathered in Heaven. Her parents, Bill and Jimmie Herring, had preceded her in death and we know an army of Herrings, Watsons and Freemans welcomed her with open arms along with all the Fluvanna and Snyder crowd. While our hearts are breaking as we say good-bye, we know Sue is better now. We know she’s no longer in pain, that her suffering is over.

She is survived by her husband, Milton Stephens of Snyder; daughter and son-in-law, D’Lyn and John Biggs of Houston; daughter M’Lys Lloyd of Midland; daughter A’Lise Kern of Dallas; daughter and son-in-law Tobi and Gordon Daman of Midland; son Todd Stephens of Lueders; son and daughter-in-law Terry and Theresa Stephens of Snyder; brother Ray Herring of Fluvanna; sister Nelva Jones of Fluvanna; her step-mother, LaVerne Herring of Snyder and more nieces, nephews and “greats” than you could count.

Six grandchildren were not ready to lose their Granny and will miss her hugs and love. Abbie Grayce and Kaitlyn Biggs of Houston, Raylee and Emma Daman of Midland, and Brantley and Abbey Stephens of Snyder.

She loved each of you and under this list of survivors she would have wanted your name listed here, as well.

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