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Avonelle Durham Rooks

  • "I am so sorry about your mother. She was one special woman..."
  • "My Other Mother....there will never be another one like..."
    - Beth Douthit Holt
  • "Nelle was a grand Southern lady. I enjoyed the time we had..."
  • "Nell is one of my fond memories of Decatur and Central..."
    - Jeanie Henderson

Avonelle Durham Rooks


Avonelle Durham Rooks passed away at home on May 3, 2013. She was born a Cullman County farm girl in 1924. Nelle moved to Decatur, AL at eighteen years of age to work as an executive secretary at the Decatur Flour Mill and to provide a home for her mother, Ophelia Durham. She married her Fairview High School sweetheart, Allen Clifton Rooks, in 1944. Following the war, they finished schooling in Chicago, Illinois, moved back to Decatur where they established Allen's Optometry practice, and raised their family. A longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Nelle enjoyed many years as committee chair of Central's "House Beautiful". This service combined her dedication to her church and her love of flowers and design.

As a charter member of Trowelers' Garden Club, it was her pleasure to be with fellow gardeners who shared their gardens and their garden wisdom with each other and the community.

Nelle is survived by two children, Ronald Allen Rooks (Billie Marie) and DiAnne Caspers (Bob); four grandchildren, Mikki Davis (Chris) of Tuscaloosa, AL, Annelle Barker (Josh) of Chesterfield, MO, Alan Rooks (Jennifer) of Decatur, AL, Jason Caspers (Laura) of Ft. Hood, TX; and seven great grandchildren, Hawkins, Brennan, and Aislin Davis, Vanessa and Karoline Barker, Sophia Buczacki (Caspers), and Emmy Rooks.

Service will be graveside at 3 p.m. today at Decatur Cemetery (Highway 20 entrance) with The Reverend Rob Jackson officiating and Shelton Funeral Home directing. A guest book may be signed at

Pallbearers will be Tony Rooks, Hawkins Davis, Steve Mobley, Alan Rooks, Chris Davis, and Josh Barker. Honorary pallbearers will be the members of Sing 'N Strings Ukulele Choir of Central Baptist Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to either, The Alabama Eye Bank, UAB, 500 Robert Jemison Road, Birmingham, AL 35209, or Hospice of the Valley in Decatur.
Published in the Decatur Daily on May 5, 2013
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