1930-2014 Alice Joy Procell, who died in Lufkin October 8, was the last of the pioneers and perhaps the first of the feminists, a title she would have scoffed at. Blazing trails wherever she went, she was the first chairman of the Sabine County Republican Party (with nine members at the time) and the first female volunteer firefighter in the state of Arizona, where she lived for 25 years working as an executive assistant in the timber industry. She would never miss an opportunity to talk sawmilling or board road. Born September 12, 1930, Alice was a strong student and avid basketball player at Hemphill High School and remained voracious reader all her life. After graduation, she moved to Houston, lived at the YWCA and subsisted on 3-cent hotdogs every day as she attended business school. Though her heart was always in Arizona's White Mountains and the town of McNary, she ended her career in Texas and retired to her native Hemphill, where she reigned as family matriarch. As the second-oldest of seven children and oldest sister, Alice watched over her siblings until the end, taking detailed notes on her youngest sister's illness while she was in the hospital with her own terminal disease. Alice never married and never bore children herself. She maintained a fearsome mien that fooled none of her nieces or nephews, especially her five godchildren, who adored her. In her final days, her nieces and nephews flocked from across Texas and Louisiana to be at her side. She was preceded in death by her parents, Pete and Rosie Lee Procell; her brothers Jimmie Procell and Pete Procell; and sister Mary Prud'homme. She is survived by her sisters Martha Barcheers of Hemphill, Shirley Rhame Marsh and husband Jim, of Jasper, Linda Wright and husband Jim of Beaumont; brother-in-law Joe Prud'homme of Tyler; sister-in-law Pat Procell of Nacogdoches and a legion of nieces and nephews. Her funeral service will be at 11 a.m., Oct. 18 at the St. Pius Catholic Church in Hemphill with burial to follow at Hemphill City Cemetery. There will be a rosary and visitation from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at Starr Funeral Home in Hemphill. She requested memorials be made to the J.R. Huffman Memorial Library or the Hemphill Volunteer Fire Department. Guest book can be signed and condolences can be made at www.forestoaksfuneralhome.com.
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Starr Funeral Home, Inc. - Hemphill
510 Starr Street
Hemphill, TX 75948
Published in The Beaumont Enterprise on Oct. 12, 2014