Willie Mae Lumpkin, age 94, of Ashland City, died peacefully Sunday, May 26, 2019, at Alive Hospice in Nashville, TN, surrounded by loving family.
She was born January 25, 1925 near Abbeville, AL to the late Florence Hinson Braswell and John Ezra Whitfield Braswell. Life was challenging for her share-cropper family in that part of rural Alabama and even more so when the Great Depression struck. She was forced to cut short her formal education to help support her family. But she was highly intelligent and never stopped learning on her own. She read books voraciously and loved solving crossword puzzles and "Scram-lets." She successfully encouraged her children to pursue a formal education (they all have at least one college degree.) Later in life Willie Mae returned to school to earn her GED and took college classes at Austin Peay State University.
She married William Hayward Lumpkin January 24, 1945. They shared a happy life together for 58 years until his death in 2003. They lived in the Ft. Campbell, KY / Clarksville, TN area for almost 50 years. She worked for many years in the orthopedic clinic at the Ft. Campbell hospital where she made many lifelong friends. She won high praise for her dedicated work there and was regularly honored as an outstanding employee.
Willie Mae was a long-time and devoted member of New Providence Methodist Church in Clarksville. She was involved in many church activities and all her friends there knew they could call on her when they needed a volunteer. After she moved to Brentwood, TN in 2011 she attended Christ United Methodist Church in Franklin. She quickly became engaged in her new church's activities. She was an enthusiastic member of the Joy Club and faithfully attended weekly Bible Study classes.
For many years she delighted in the monthly gathering of her Lunch Bunch. She and fellow Ft. Campbell hospital retirees would share a meal, their latest news and good fellowship.
Mrs. Lumpkin is survived by her three children: Ramona Lumpkin (Bill Blackburn), Linda Mallory (Robert), and Mike Lumpkin (Lee Armstrong); five grandchildren: Christy Mallory, Randi Mallory, Michael Johnson (Heather), Sean Blackburn (Dana Edison), and Pat Blackburn (Ji Kim); seven great-grandchildren: Mallory Marsiglio, Parker Marsiglio, Eli Moores, Cole Johnson, Zoey Johnson, Asher Blackburn, and Conor Blackburn. She also leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews, including her special niece Rhonda Norris Wagenaar.
Willie Mae loved cooking for family and friends as much as almost anything she did. To her food was love, and she produced that love in tasty abundance. She was probably most famous for her chocolate cakes, caramel nut cakes and pecan pies - the favorites of her three children. The cakes weren't always beautiful, but they were always delicious.
Willie Mae loved sports. She was a big fan of the Atlanta Braves and watched them on TV as often as she could. She was proud to have visited Orlando to see them play spring training games. After seeing her Braves in a World Series game in Atlanta, she said she'd done everything and was ready to die and go to heaven. She was devoted to the Tennessee Lady Volunteer basketball team. She split her college football loyalties between the Vols and the Crimson Tide. Her personal sport was bridge. She played regularly and well while charming her opponents and partners alike.
She's the person for whom the phrase "never met a stranger" was coined. Long before the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game she would have become acquainted with all the other fans around her. She was a loyal friend to and was loved by the many folks she encountered at work and church and everywhere in between.
She enjoyed (and was sometimes annoyed by) her computer. She played games and had fun liking and sharing and keeping up with family and friends on Facebook.
We will miss seeing her smile, but she will remain in our hearts, reminding us always that caring for others is the greatest gift. She genuinely lived each day in the way she believed Christ called her to do. Heaven is her new home.
A memorial service will be held Friday, May 31, at 11:00 AM, at Christ United Methodist Church (508 Franklin Rd, Franklin, TN 37069). Visitation will be Friday, May 31, from 10:00 AM until the hour of service, at the church.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Saturday, June 1, at 1:00 PM, at New Providence United Methodist Church (1317 Fort Campbell Boulevard, Clarksville, TN 37042). Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery. Visitation will be Saturday, June 1, from 11:00 AM until the hour of service, at the church.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages you to donate to one of Willie Mae's beloved churches.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Neal-Tarpley-Parchman Funeral Home, 1510 Madison Street, Clarksville, TN 37040; (931) 645-6488. Online condolences may be made at www.nealtarpleyparchman.com.