Lee County’s oldest citizen dies at 111

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By Ann Cipperly
Opelika Observer

Family and friends of Eula Mae Prophitt, affectionately known as “Granny,” will always remember the gracious lady for her gently, caring spirit.  Mrs. Prophitt, who was Lee County’s oldest person, passed away July 8 at 111 years of age.
Mrs. Prophitt was born in a small community called Our Town outside Alexander City.  During her lifetime, she endured many hardships. When she was orphaned at 6 years old, she lived with several families. At age 7, a school teacher and his wife adopted her, and at 9 she lived with her brother, James William Brewer.
When she was only 11 years of age, Eula Mae began working at Avondale Mills in Alexander City. In the early years, she worked 12 hours a day, from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m., making $6.50 a week.
She vividly recalls seeing Theodore Roosevelt at Berry Jackson’s Crossing when he was campaigning for the Presidency in 1912.
Eula Mae married Willis Guary Prophitt on March 10, 1923.  They moved to Opelika in 1936.  For many years, the family lived on Pepperell Parkway across from Mrs. Story’s Dairy Bar and later lived at the corner of 10th Street and 4th Avenue.
After their first two daughters, Ruby Frances and Mary Elisabeth, were born, her husband was stricken with a disease that affected his heart, which left him unable to walk for almost six years. Eula Mae was the sole provider for her family during this period.
Later they had two other daughters, Willard Carolyn and Dorothy Jeanette, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Mrs. Prophitt worked in several textile mills. In addition to Avondale Mills, she also worked at Vernon Mills, M. Snower Mill, Pepperell Manufacturing Company, Swift Spinning Mills and Opelika Manufacturing, where she retired at age 66.
For many years, Mrs. Prophitt enjoyed having a garden and canning foods for winter. She loved cooking for her family. Her husband appreciated the wonderful meals and would say to her,  “Mother, you showed yourself today.”
Her family remembers that when her husband became pastor at the Church of God, Mrs. Prophitt served with him. She taught Sunday school for 37 years and was known for taking care of those in need.
After her husband passed away when she was 89 years old, she continued to maintain her home until age 90. She then resided with her eldest daughter, Ruby Worthington, who took care of her while dealing with macular degeneration. While Ruby could no longer drive, her daughter, Betty Stallings, would take both ladies for hair and doctor appointments.
With her sweet spirit, Mrs. Prophitt would often say she didn’t understand why she had lived so long. As her family grew, she touched more lives and left a lasting, positive impression on everyone who knew her.
The Observer, and Ann Cipperly particularly, enjoyed a special relationship with Mrs. Prophitt and her family, covering her activities, especially her birthday parties.

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