Lorene Lacy McElroy of Cuba, Alabama, age 89 died February 22, 2011 at Hospice of West Alabama. Her life was a testament to the simple glories of a loving wife and mother. Funeral services will be at 11 A.M. at the Cuba Baptist Church on Friday, February 25, 2011 with Bumpers Funeral Home directing. Officiating will be Dr. Bill Lacy assisted by Dr. Bill Percy, Rev. Franklin McLelland and Rev. Hal Hatten.
Her husband of 59 years and the love of her life, Ernest O’Neal McElroy, and her sons, Sam O’Neal McElroy and Ernest Lacy McElroy, preceded her in death.
She is survived by her daughters Sherry Broadhead (Cecil) of Butler and Deborah Chandler (Frank) of Northport; daughter-in-law Nancy McElroy; six grandchildren (Terry, Jon, Summer, Lara, Cody, and Lacy) and two great granddaughters (Bailey and Emma Grace).
She was born Dorothy Lorene Lacy, daughter of a farmer and the youngest of 13 children. She grew up in the small community of “Little Georgia,” near Kewanee, MS. Her childhood often brought back fond memories of getting a “co-cola” with her best friend, Edith, and going as a chaperone to the picture show with her older sisters on their dates. It was also at the age of 13 she met a young man, O’Neal McElroy, driving other youths to church functions. She graduated from Dixie High School in Kewanee, MS, where she was crowned Miss Dixie High. After six years of courting under the watchful eyes of her mother and older sisters, she eloped with O’Neal and left with him to live the life of a military wife. O’Neal gave up an appointment to the Naval Academy in Maryland to marry the woman he said, “was the pretties gal in the country.”
Their first son, Sam O’Neal, came the following year on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. However, Lorene fondly recalled those years as they traveled to New York and lived in Washington D.C.; Myrtle Beach; Birmingham, Alabama; and Gulfport, Mississippi before settling in Cuba. After World War II, Lorene settled into a fruitful life as a rural preacher and mail carrier’s wife and mother of two sons and two daughters. She supported him throughout his bi-vocational ministry of over 40 years playing the piano and organ and the many churches where he was pastor. Young preachers commuting to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary made her home a gathering place. They knew a good home cooked meal would be waiting for them every Monday and Friday night and no one ever went away hungry.
Even in her later years, Lorene was constantly on the go with O’Neal and loved to travel and spend time with her six grandchildren and two great grandchildren. She laughed and cried with us and in a crisis was our strongest one. She prayed with confidence and we joked that when Mamma started praying you had better watch out because things were going to happen. She loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and kept pictures everywhere in the house of each one. In the end, Lorene understood that life is an act of faith that understands pure joy, pure sadness, and pure hope for tomorrow. We love her and always will cherish our memories – until we see her again.
Pallbearers are Jon Chandler, Cody McElroy, Chris Vaughan, Josh Chadwick, Les Irwin, and John Smith. Honorary Pallbearers are Charles Coker and Terry Allen.
Visitation was held at Bumpers Funeral Home in York on Thursday, February 24, 2011 from 6 until 8 P.M.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Hospice of West Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama or to your favorite charity.