Mary Evolyn Kittrell Whitson
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In the quiet morning hours on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 our beautiful spirited mother slipped gently from her earthly home into the arms of her Heavenly Father and was joyously welcomed by many loved ones
She was born May 10, 1916 in the thriving sawmill town of Muscogee Florida to Floyd Western Kittrell and Maud Evolyn Arnold Kittrell. In her early years she attended Muscogee School and enjoyed the camaraderie of siblings and classmates; some of whom remained lifelong friends. She was christened in the Knox Presbyterian Church in Muscogee where she remembered vividly seeing as a child the beautiful stained glass windows.
At age nine her parents moved to Pensacola, Florida where she enjoyed being a city girl. A few years later her family returned to the country settling in the Farm Hill community in Cantonment Florida. During her teen years she attended James M Tate School where she participated in various school activities;she especially loved playing on the girls basketball team.
While attending a baptism on Perdido River at Muscogee her pretty red hair caught the eye of a very handsome Carl R. Whitson Sr. from Gonzalez, Florida. After a whirlwind courtship , and a few months shy of her 18th birthday, they were married on January 25th, 1934 by family friend Rev A.J. Townley.
They settled in Pensacola and the following year began a wonderful family with the birth of their first child. In 1947 they relocated to a home in the Cantonment Farm Hill community where they would spend the remaining years of their lives. They were married 49 years before Carl went to be with his Lord & Savior.
God gave Mother many talents and she generously shared them with family and friends. She possessed and inner strength and "can do " spirit that was evident to anyone who knew her. As our first teacher, we learned from her that "God is Love and He is always with us". She taught us the meaning of Charity and to and to always think of others in need.
Having joined Lathram Chapel Methodist Church, she worked tirelessly with her mother and others to keep the small church alive, all the while serving 27 years as church pianist.
In 1948 Mother's journey led her to St. Regis Paper Company in Cantonment where she gained employment and worked for the next 33 years. Following retirement from St.Regis she began volunteer work. One of her favorite projects was tutoring at Jim Allen Elementary School in early childhood classes. She continued a family tradition of volunteering as a poll worker on election day, serving for many years at Precinct 21 in Cantonment.
An opportunity to sell beautiful Tiara glass was presented and soon she became a top saleswoman for the company, winning many awards and premiums.
Traveling around her wonderful country was truly a blessing for her, especially enjoying trips with family to the West, Washington D.C., Chicago, the Black Hills of the Dakotas, the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky and South Florida .
Gardening was one of her favorite hobbies and she had a very green thumb. Always eager to share cutting, plants from her yard are blooming all over the country. Other hobbies included reading, sewing and playing a weekly game of Bunco with special friends. These Bunco parties began in 1960 and continued for over 40 years. We often teased her about her "gambling" habit.
But her absolute favorite activity was spending time with her family. She especially loved our large gatherings for holidays and birthdays. Her love of family and pride in them was never ending. We loved her so and we'll miss her always.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years , Carl Rushing Whitson, Sr. and two infant children, Nancy Karen Whitson, and Gary Dean Whitson, parents Floyd Western Kittrell and Maud Evolyn Arnold Kittrell, brothers Carl Dane Kittrell, John Daniel Kittrell, Floyd Arnold Kittrell, Eugene Otis Kittrell, and James Western Kittrell; father -in-law, Gilbert Wesley Whitson, mother-in-law, Lelia Bowman Whitson, sister-in-law, Lulu Ruth Whitson Levy, and sons- in law Herman Conley and William(Sonny) Benefield, and many friends. She is survived by sons Carl Rushing Whitson, Jr. (Beth) , and Paul Maurice Whitson ; daughters Mary Gwen Whitson Conley, Joyce Carol Whitson Robbins (Jim), Jackowyn Emile Whitson Benefield; sister Olivia Delorious Kittrell Hamilton; ten grandchildren, Michael A. Conley (Faye), Keith W. Conley (Shan), Jeffrey K. Robbins (Kelly), Jamie D Robbins-London (Don), Joanna R. Robbins Hayes (Rob), Carl R. Whitson, III (Julia), Mona Lynn Whitson Baker, William Bryan Benefield, Darla Ann Whitson Shiver, and Paul Reese Whitson (Angie) and 19 Great Granchildren:, Kady Robbins, Lauren and Ashton Conley,Levi and Rena Whitson,
Ali,Anna & Riley Hayes, Tegan & Eric Shiver, Marcus, Tristan Ian, Evan, & Elizabeth Baker, Stella London, Bryanna & Mckala Benefield.
Visitation and services will beheld at Faith Chapel North Cantonment. Visitation Saturday June 2nd , 5:00-7:00 pm, and services Sunday June 3rd 2:00 pm. Officiating will be Rev. John Kuritz and Rev. Pam Avery with grandsons serving as pallbearers. Interment will follow services at Lathram Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery in Cantonment.
Memorials may be made to one of her favorite charities the United Methodist Children's Home, Address: 3140 Zelda Court, Montgomery Al, 36106 , 1.800.239.3575. Family would like to thanks Dr. Gary Gotthelf and staff for many years of caring for Mother, and Emerald Coast Hospice, especially Julie Brigham, R.N. And Evelyn Fields for their kindness and loving care and her special niece Mary Elizabeth Kittrell Deese.
Faith Chapel North, 1000 Highway 29 South is in charge of arrangements
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Published in Pensacola News Journal on June 2, 2012