Obituaries April 20 – 27
Woodrow Raiford Champion
Mr. Woodrow Raiford Champion passed away April 18 at his residence. He was born May 23, 1939, in Tuscaloosa County to Woodrow Wilson Champion and Flora Weaver Champion. He was a Southern Baptist in his faith and a United States veteran of the Air Force, serving from 1958–1962.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Survivors include his wife, Peggy Champion; son, Christopher Champion; daughter, Janna Champion Williams; sister, Nancy Champion MaHarry; and two grandchildren.
No services are scheduled at this time.
Linda Gayle Penn Norman
A graveside service for Linda Gayle Penn Norman was held April 17 at noon at Andrews Chapel Cemetery in Danville, with Brother Greg Compton officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing.
The family is saddened to announce the loss of a driven, caring and loving woman. Surrounded by all of her children, grandchildren and husband, our “Gran” passed peacefully in her sleep at 1:03 a.m. April 16.
Born to Ozell Burgess Davis and Owen Penn Jan. 31, 1945, in Decatur, she was the first of five siblings. She attended Morgan County High School, class of 1963. Shortly after, she gave birth to her two children and raised her family in Decatur and Hartselle.
At the age of 50, she proudly graduated cum laude from Athens State University with a bachelor’s degree in business management.
After a 20-year career at Redstone Arsenal as a contracting professional, she retired at age 65.
As the family is writing this, the room is full of smiles and the occasional red eye, as we are seated on her bed, with Gran close by. It is bursting with boxes and albums full of photos – of vacations, birthdays, holidays, graduations. We’re reminded of Gran’s absolute favorite things: planning trips, traveling with her family, saying “remember this?” With her favorite music playing, we look back on the best of our times, and just as she cared for us, we are all here to care for her.
Albeit bittersweet, it’s just as she wanted – her family, together.
Gayle is survived by her husband, Doug Norman; mother, Ozell Burgess Davis; four siblings, Larry Penn, Jerry Penn, Martha Penn and Tommy Penn; three children, Cathy Bedingfield (Bobby), Michael Collum (Juli) and Cindy Stevens (Darryl); seven grandchildren, Cole Patterson, Connor Patterson, Baylee Collum, Riley Collum, Nathan Stevens, Casey Bedingfield, and Brady Bedingfield; and five great–grandchildren, Knox, Nolan, Coen, Houston and Jaxton.
A private family viewing was held from 10–11 a.m. Friday morning at Peck Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family humbly requests donations to Gayle’s favorite charity, Meals on Wheels, in addition to Hospice of the Valley.
We will cherish our memories of Gran forever and will miss her dearly. We love you.
Maxine Steele Johnson
A Celebration of Life for Maxine Steele Johnson, 57, of Addison, will be held by her family at a later date.
Ms. Johnson died April 19 in Cullman County. She was born July 7, 1962, in Lawrence County to Floyd Steele and Clarcy Inez Sellers Steele. Ms. Johnson was preceded in death by her parents and five siblings.
Survivors include one son, Preston Johnson; one daughter, Dawn Boyd (Josh); her significant other, Rick Braswell; four brothers, Robert Steele, Sam Steele (Kay), Pete Steele and Shorty Steele (Starlon); four sisters, Stella King (Kermit), Liz Johnson, Nadine Carver (Larry) and Sarah Hawthorne (Lawrence); and five grandsons.
Janet Amy Roper Emrico
Ms. Janet Amy Roper Emrico, 54, passed away April 17 at her residence.
She was born Oct. 28, 1965, in California, to Benjamin Lawson Roper and Amy Omega Sampson Roper, who preceded her in death. She was a member of the waitstaff at Red Lobster.
Survivors include two daughters, Jill Velez-Noble and Josie McClellan; two stepsons, Allen Hill and Harley Hill; and four grandchildren, Kody Hill, Alexandria Hill, Sophia Hill and
Her family will have a memorial service at a later date.
Johnny Mack Jeffreys
Johnny Mack Jeffreys, 67, of Daphne, passed away April 21.
He was born Dec. 8, 1952, in Morgan County to Harris L.E. Jeffreys and Mary Kathleen Johnson Jeffreys, who preceded him in death, along with one sister, Mary Helen Fowler.
He is survived by two daughters, Chasity Hamlett (Walter) and Angela Jeffreys; two sisters, Sheila Campbell (Jim) and Sandra Ann Moeckel (Kay); six grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and his girlfriend, Sherry Shelton.
Pallbearers were family and friends.
A graveside service and interment were held April 24 at 2 p.m. at Hartselle City Cemetery with Peck Funeral Home directing.
Jack R. Garrison
A graveside funeral service and interment for Jack R. Garrison, 86, were held April 24 at 2 p.m. at Somerville Church of God with Peck Funeral Home directing.
Mr. Garrison died April 22 at Hendrix Health Care Center. He was born March 30, 1934, in Morgan County to Leldon Defoe Garrison and Grace Lorene Sharp Garrison. He was employed as an installer by Western Electric and South Central Bell, prior to his retirement. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.
Preceding him in death were his wife, Nancy Lou Stapel Garrison; his parents; brothers Morrow and Bruce Garrison; and a sister, Dorothy Nix.
Survivors include three daughters, Karen White (Levi Walls), Lisa Boger (Don) and Lynn Sparks (Bernie); one brother, Donald Garrison; one sister, Margaret Houser Lemmond; six grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Pallbearers were family and friends.
Miranda Dawn Cowart
Graveside service for Miranda Dawn Cowart, 41, of Hartselle was April 26 at 2 p.m. at New Center Baptist Church Cemetery with Brother Ben Bates officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing.
In compliance with the mandate for COVID-19, only 10 people were allowed in the funeral home at one time.
Miranda, who was born July 17, 1978, in Decatur, died April 23 at Decatur Morgan Hospital. She had the wonderful ability to make you smile and to make people happy. She loved flowers and cooking and adored her son, Logan.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Tim, and a brother, Carl Blankenship Jr.
She is survived by her son, Logan Blankenship; her father, Carl Blankenship; her mother, Donna Posey Terry (Marlin); a sister, Ginger Cammon; and a special friend, Shannon Bradley.
Logan Blankenship, Carl Blankenship, Marlin Terry, Shannon Bradley, Terry Champion and Kenny Posey were pallbearers.
Kimberly Garner Eslinger
Mrs. Kimberly Eslinger passed away April 24 at her residence. She was born May 15, 1976, in Morgan County to James Rickie Garner and Sharon Garner. She was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas D. Eslinger, and her grandfathers, Wayne Roberts and Jack Garner.
Survivors include parents Rickie and Sharon Garner, stepson Chandler Eslinger; stepdaughter Carolaynne Eslinger; Alex Evans, who was like a brother to her; two grandmothers, Glenda Marchman and Geraldine Garner; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting memorial donations be made to Comfort Care Hospice.
A Celebration of Life service will be held by her family at a later date.
Jacquelyn Thomas Bowman
Jacquelyn “Jackie” Thomas Bowman passed peacefully at her Hartselle residence April 25. She possessed a passion for both the people and animals she surrounded herself with throughout her life.
Born May 23, 1943, in San Diego, Calif., to Jack Thomas Sr., and Rosa Thomas, who both preceded her in death, Jackie always enjoyed traveling.
Moving from the west coast to the east at age 16, Jackie returned with her family to Alabama. She went on to obtain her bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville State University and a master’s degree in religious education and business administration from Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She always enjoyed coming back to the farm to visit with her family, including her brother, Jack Thomas Jr., and brother-in-law Tony Shubert.
Jackie served children in several states. She began her teaching in Tucker, Georgia, and Homewood before she moved to Montgomery. She spent 13 years there educating students until her return once again to her family in Hartselle. The remainder of her career was spent at
Sparkman Elementary and Middle schools, where she worked with special needs students. Once retired, she felt as though she had far more to give and returned to Sparkman as a vice principal.
The light of Jackie’s life was her daughter, Katie Bowman. She and Katie loved each other’s company. Jackie greatly missed Katie when Katie was away at college and her early career. They traveled together often, instilling the travel bug into her daughter. Katie relocated to be with and care for her mother over the past several years.
Second to her immediate family was Jackie’s First Baptist Church of Hartselle family. Many of these parishioners were very close friends throughout her life. She served a variety of roles there, including Sunday School teacher.
As she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Jackie became a trailblazer in the community as a charter member of Rock Steady Boxing of Decatur. As a boxer, the paces she put herself through helped steady her body.
Other loves of Jackie’s life included her house pets and her horses, which were numerous throughout her life.
A graveside service was held April 27 at 11 a.m. At Decatur City Cemetery for immediate family only because of the current shelter in place order. Peck Funeral Home directed. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Jackie’s memory to Parkinson’s Foundation Organization (parkinsons.org) or Sparkman School Hartselle.
Survivors include daughter Katie R. Bowman, Hartselle, and brother Jack H. Thomas Jr.
Mary Dale Willingham
Graveside service for Mary Dale Willingham, 87, of Cullman will be April 29 at 11 a.m. at Friendship Cemetery South of Danville, with the Rev. Bruce Fitzgerald officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing.
Mrs. Willingham was born Oct. 10, 1932, in Morgan County to Richard Morris and Grace Gray Morris. She passed away April 25 at the Sanctuary at the Woodland in Cullman.
Mary was a member of Friendship Baptist Church South of Danville.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Nellene Fitzgerald.
Mary retired from Dr. J.C. Chamblis Eye Doctor’s office and went to work with Cullman Regional Medical Center, where she retired after 30 years. She was a loving caregiver.
Survivors include a son, Chris Willingham; two nieces, Jennifer Breedlove and Carolyn Matthews; and a nephew, Bruce Fitzgerald.
Pallbearers were family members.