Clara Faye Elder Reach

Published 10:49 am Tuesday, October 12, 2021

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Clara Faye Elder Reach

Clara Faye Elder Reach was born on Nov. 5, 1920 in Valley Mills, Texas, and lived on this earth for 100 years 11 months and 3 days. She died at her daughter’s home in Alabaster on Friday, Oct. 8.

The visitation will be from 6-8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 12 at First Baptist Church of Columbiana. The funeral service will be at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13 at the church with Dr. Mike Miller and Dr. Rusty Sowell officiating. Burial will be at Elliottsville Cemetery. Bolton Funeral Home is directing.

Mrs. Reach had lived with Linda and Robert Moore, who were her primary caregivers, for more than six years.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Joseph Edmond Elder, Sr., and Emma Cecil Dagley of Texas; her husband of 36 years, Samuel Archie (S.A.) Reach of Siluria; second husband, Roy John Owens of Helena; nine brothers; five sisters; two daughters, Lois Cooper (Bruce), and Joyce Smith (Bill), both of Columbiana; and two grandsons, David Prestridge of Opelika, and Sammy Reach of Birmingham.

Faye is survived by one brother, Dr. Lloyd Elder (Sue) of Nashville, Tennessee; one son, Charles Reach (Hazel) of Montevallo; two daughters, Ann Prestridge (Walter) of Opelika and Linda Moore (Robert) of Alabaster; twelve grandchildren, Carolyn Stokes (Steve), Russell Reach (Becky), Donna Wyatt (Jimmy), Pam King (Kevin), Johnny Butler (Lanette), Tracy Adair (Mike), Cathy Long (Derrick), Stephen Prestridge, Chaplain R.A. “Tony” Moore (Mary), April Bruce (Brett), Kristi Hyche (Steve), and Kelly Pitts (Eric); twenty-one great grandchildren; twenty-one great-great grandchildren; plus a host of special nieces and nephews whom she adored.

Clara Faye’s mother and baby sister died at childbirth when she was just five years old. She spent a few months in Buckner Orphans Home in Dallas, before returning home, and soon thereafter a new mother and two stepbrothers were added to the already large family of eight. The blended family grew to fifteen children who, with their parents, were migrant workers during the Great Depression.

By the time Faye was twelve years old she could pick as much cotton as any adult. Their formal education suffered with their constant travels. Consequently, Faye only finished third grade. She then became a farmhand and cook for her aunt and uncle in Patton, Texas, until age fifteen when she moved to Dallas to share an apartment with her two older sisters. While there she was hired as a nanny where she worked for two families. During that time, she met and married S.A. Reach. They had a son and moved to S.A.’s hometown of Alabaster in 1941.

In her lifetime Faye worked hard serving her new family so many miles from home. From gardening, milking cows, churning butter, chopping wood, or helping to deliver babies, she was right where she was needed. Over the years the family of three added four girls.

Faye was the glue that kept their home together. Her early life’s experiences had prepared her for the hardships she and her family would encounter, and she could do almost anything required of a couple living on a small farm.

Faye accepted Christ as her Savior at age thirteen at Patton Church on the Old Chisholm Trail and was baptized in Patton Creek. Her faith became the foundation for the family’s survival in difficult times as well as in joyful times.

She learned to play the harmonica after her mother died by watching her daddy play. Her music became an integral part of who she was. It provided solace for a lonely young mother separated from her family by both miles and circumstances, and was her way to worship and praise her Lord.

Faye was multi-talented with diverse interests who always put her family first. She was a selfless and dotting wife, mother, and grandmother to three generations. She was a loving and dedicated daughter-in-law, creative, frugal, artistic, a collector of found objects of nature, a seamstress, a caregiver, teacher, and disciplinarian.

She began writing poetry in 1952 as a way to express her love of God and His creation, and in 2002 she also had hymns she had written produced for her own pleasure and that of her family. Through it all, Faye stayed focused on the NOW, depending on God to take care of the rest.

One of her many “favorite” scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11(NIV), “I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Clara Faye Elder Reach’s sparkling eyes, bright smile, warm hugs and encouraging words will be sorely missed until we meet again in Heaven.

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