Ethel Mae Ennis Story, age 105, passed away early Monday morning, February 12, 2018 following a week-long stay at the Bethany House in Auburn, Al. She was born September 26, 1912 to Margie Foster Ennis and Thomas Wilson Ennis, Sr. in Auburn, Al just below Pace’s Place. She was one of 9 children, 7 of whom lived to adulthood.
Eventually her dad moved his family to the Beauregard Community where he rented the Cole Property at the corner of Johnson Lake Road and Highway 146. Rent was paid not with money but with a yearly bale of cotton. Mrs. Ethel’s family would rent and farm this property for almost 100 years. After her dad farmed the land for 50 years, her brother, Dick Ennis, stayed another fifty and raised his family there.
On this farm, Mrs. Ethel and her siblings helped with all the chores. They learned how to tend and care for fields of cotton, corn, and sweet potatoes. They raised chickens and hogs as well as plenty of vegetables to feed their large family. All this was done with no electricity or indoor plumbing. Her strong work ethic was learned early on as were her skills of being a provider and care giver.
Often her dad would send her and her middle sister to care for those in the community who were sick or dying. They often helped prepare a body for burial. These skills served her well in later years as she worked some 40 years in the Opelika First Baptist Church Nursery as well as the Mother’s Day Out ministries at First United Methodist Church and Trinity Methodist Church. She also babysat for many, many young parents of the Opelika Community until she was in her 80’s.
On September 14, 1940 she married Alva Curtis Story. They were married for 40 years until his death in February 1980. They eventually became the parents of 3 children. All of whom survive her and still reside in the Opelika Community. During the years these 3 youngsters were growing up, Mrs. Ethel was an active part of their lives. During these years she moved her own mother and dad as well as her mother-in-law in with her family and took care of them until their deaths. Her home also became a haven for other relatives who were experiencing some hardship or other crisis in their lives. During this time she also often ran the neighborhood stores that her husband operated on the side.
One of the families she babysat for often was the James family. At age 55 she went to work fulltime in a new venture of the James family called Diversified Products. She worked there until she was 65.
In 1963, she and her family moved into their home on Lankford Street where she continued to reside until her death and where she hosted many holiday and special celebrations for her family and friends.
At 100, Mrs. Ethel began to need a little assistance with her care. For the past 5 years 3 part-time care givers and a host of beloved family helped her to continue to reside at home.
After turning 100, Mrs. Ethel made 3 beach trips and enjoyed numerous outings at her son’s Lake Martin Home. This past summer at the beach she played carpet golf with her great grandchildren, assisted Capt. Robert in driving his Dolphin Cruise Boat and took several whirwind convertible rides enjoying every minute of it.
Mrs. Ethel leaves 3 children: Louise S. Brasher (Len), Thomas Dudley (Deborah), and John Wallace. She also leaves 6 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. Her grandchildren are: Thomas Dudley “Dusty” Story, II (Christy) of Halls, TN, Edgar L. “Kip” Walker, Jr., Kimberly ” Kim” Story Lang (Paul ), Christophe r S. Walker (Tori), Curtis C. Walker (Heather), and Lana S. Ledbetter (Justin). Her great grandchildren are: Audrey Henderson, Kambrie Ledbetter, Cade Ledbetter, Corbett Walker, Jaeden Walker, Rylee Walker, Brena Walker, Maggie Walker, Mary Louise Walker, Samuel Walker, Brody Story, and Brock Story. Also surviving are several beloved nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.
The quiet simple manner in which Mrs. Ethel lived her faith and conducted her affairs has left a lasting legacy for all who loved and knew her.
The family expresses sincere appreciation to all who have supported us with prayer, food, visits, and other expressions of love, care, and concern.
A visitation was held Thursday, February 15, 2018 from 5:00 p.m. from 7:00 p.m. at Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home. Her funeral service was 11:00 a.m., Friday, February 16, 2018 at Opelika First Baptist Church with Dr. Mike King officiating. Interment followed the service at Mt. Olive Cemetery in Opelika.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home directed.