Milbrey Eakin, 83, a lifelong resident of Shelbyville, Tenn., died with peace surrounded by family on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, at Heritage Medical Center.
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She was born Aug. 28, 1930, at Spring Hill, the family farm in Shelbyville, where she lived until moving to the Carriage House Inn five years ago. She was the youngest child of the late James Deery Eakin Sr. and Cary Meade Allmond Eakin and the last surviving member of her generation. Her siblings were Cary Ewing Eakin Alexander, Virginia Meade Eakin Williams, James Deery Eakin Jr., Rowena Eakin Hart and Evelyn Eakin Bagley.
Milbrey was a graduate of Shelbyville Central High School. She began her career as the first dietitian at the new Bedford County General Hospital in the early 1950s. Later, she worked at Central Elementary School Cafeteria and in the dietary department at Glen Oaks Health and Rehabilitation. For many years, she was an assistant in the first-aid station on the show grounds during the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration.
She had a "servant's heart" and found her true calling as a caregiver to all ages, most especially infants, young children and the elderly. One's relationship to Milbrey was defined by what you called her, Milbrey, Milt, M, Mil-Mil, Miss Milbrey or Miss Eakin. Many families in Shelbyville and Fayetteville were blessed with the nurture and guidance she gave their young children or the tender care and love she provided their elderly family members. Even with her move to Carriage House Inn, she continued finding ways to bring sunshine, joy, laughter and comfort to her new friends, their families and the staff.
Milbrey loved flowers and was an accomplished gardener, taking her skills with her when she moved to Carriage House Inn. She planted and cared for flowers in the courtyard as well as the orchids and African violets on the corridor windowsills.
Milbrey was a lifelong member of First Christian Church in Shelbyville.
Milbrey is survived by 15 nephews and nieces, Cary Meade Alexander Hobgood (Chris) of Ocean Pines, Md., Helen Gaines Alexander Sexton (Jimmy) of Williamsburg, Va., Armand Banks Alexander (Mary) of The Villages, Fla., James Deery (Jim) Eakin III, Margaret Eakin and Milbrey Ione (Missy) Eakin, all of Shelbyville, Katherine Meade Eakin of Birmingham, Ala., Susan Hart Reed (David) of Elizabethtown, William Guy Hart Jr. (Shirley) of Frankfort, Emily Allmond Hart Smith (Jimmy) of Vine Grove, Ewing Hart (Mary Beth) and Ward Hart (Pam) of Stanford, Samuel Scott Bagley (Sandra) of Bay St. Louis, Miss., and David Eakin Bagley (Cyndi) and Cary Ellen Bagley Sullivan (Dexter) of Fayetteville, Tenn. She also is survived by 28 great-nephews and great-nieces; 25 great-great-nephews and great-great-nieces; two great-great-great-nieces; and numerous "children" she raised.
The funeral is at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at First Christian Church in Shelbyville. Burial follows in Cowan-Eakin Cemetery.
Visitation begins at noon Saturday at the church.
In addition to her nephews, pallbearers included Charles Armstrong, Jason Armstrong, David Caldwell, Riley T. (Sonny) Coop and Pat Marsh.
Memorials may be made in honor of Harper Eakin Bagley to
, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or First Christian Church Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 466, Shelbyville, TN 37160, or the
Feldhaus Memorial Chapel in Shelbyville is in charge of arrangements.
Published in The News-Enterprise on Feb. 16, 2014