Lucy Cordelia Witherow went to heaven March 13, 2014. She was 85. She was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, October 13, 1928 to William and Fannie Benton. When Lucy was a young child, her mother contracted tuberculosis and was removed to a sanatorium. She lived with her Grandmother Benton, doting aunts and uncles and special cousins for a time.
Later, her father married Walcie Carr. Bill, Walcie and Lucy moved to Live Oak, California during the Great Depression. A younger sister, Cathy, was born to the family which delighted Lucy.
Lucy always loved school and wanted to be a teacher at a young age. She was valedictorian of her Live Oak High School class and then went to U.C. Berkeley for 2 years earning an associate of arts degree. College was interrupted to marry her high school sweetheart, Kenneth Witherow, August 28, 1949. Lucy completed a bachelor's degree at Chico State and later earned a teaching credential.
Ken and Lucy eventually moved onto the Witherow dairy farm where they raised 5 daughters, Marjorie Waters, Elaine Snow, Jenine Tanabe, Liz King and Patti Poole. Lucy and Ken converted the dairy to orchards and celebrated 43 years of marriage before Ken died in 1992. Lucy resided on the farm until recently.
Lucy welcomed the addition of every new family member including 5 sons-in-law, 17 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.
Lucy taught school for 31 years, 27 years in first grade at McKinley School, Gridley. Her first 2 years teaching were at Lone Tree, a one room school off Highway 70 near Palermo where she taught all 8 grades. Since retiring, Lucy has volunteer- taught in most of her 17 grandchildren's classrooms at Manzanita, Live Oak and Yuba City schools. She taught Sunday School until recently in the Live Oak and Gridley Presbyterian churches beginning when her daughters were old enough to attend.
Lucy was a prolific writer of stories and Sunday School curriculum. She was a member of Down Memory Lane publishing stories in The Gridley Herald and Chico Pen Women authoring a chapter on Maidu Indian life in Ripples Along Chico Creek. She published 5 children's books. She wrote and produced Story Train for local cable television.
In recent years, Lucy's goal and prayer was to be known as a follower of Jesus. She will be missed by us all!
A celebration of Lucy's life will be held at Gridley Presbyterian Church on Saturday, March 22, at 2 pm. Viewing is Friday, March 21, 4-7 pm at Ullrey Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Teen Challenge or the Gridley Presbyterian Church campership fund.
Send Condolences at
Ullrey Memorial Chapel Inc.
817 Almond Street Yuba City, CA 95991
Published in Appeal Democrat on Mar. 19, 2014