Published 8:12 am Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Janie Elsa “Elsie” Adams Breland, age 97, passed away April 5, 2015, in Bogalusa. Elsie was the eighth of 10 children born to John Mayfield Adams and Julia Ball Keaton Adams on July 18, 1917. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings, Oneitha, Dencil, Murphy, Ollie, Purcell, Ellis, Johnny, Bobby and Willis, and by her husband of 54 years, Emmett Frank Breland.
Elsie’s grandparents, Sherwood and Elisha (Manning) Adams and Benjamin and Margaret (Ard) Keaton were early settlers in the Bogalusa area, farming “Adams Headright” land and land along the Pearl River. Upon her father’s death in 1929, the Adamses moved to the Adamstown neighborhood of Bogalusa where Elsie became acquainted with a young man named Emmett Breland. Emmett and Elsie became childhood sweethearts, walking home from school together, attending the same church and ice cream socials and swimming at Cassidy Park. Elsie married Emmett in 1934 at the age of 17.
Four children were to follow: Patricia, Larry, Michael and Pamela. Emmett worked at the paper mill and built a house on Wilmuth Street for the family. He continued at the mill for many years until opening Breland’s Red and White Grocery on St. John and Union in the 1940s. Elsie took care of the house and children while Emmett ran the grocery store. She spent her time cooking for Emmett, the children and their friends, attending ball games and Sunday services at Union Avenue Baptist Church, where Emmett became a deacon. They moved to a house on Pine Ridge Road in 1955, where Elsie remained until forced out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She was a long-time member of Superior Avenue Baptist Church, where her husband served as a deacon. Elsie and Emmett traveled, worked on the house and yard and shared many hobbies together such as playing cards and bowling. In Elsie’s own words they “had a nice life.” Elsie was a great bowler, an avid reader and gardener and belonged to many clubs related to these hobbies throughout the years.
She enjoyed cooking for the family, perfecting her custard pie, chicken and dumplings and other recipes over the years. She shared many stories of her life and of Bogalusa in its early days and had a great sense of humor with corny, political or slightly “naughty” jokes being her favorites. She enjoyed spending time with her family and is survived by her four children, Patricia Ann Breland Rogers (Charles), Larry Emmett Breland Sr. (Mary), Michael Lynn Breland and Pamela Doris Breland Moore (Ricky). Also surviving her are 10 grandchildren, Kristal Rogers Creel (Ronald), Elesha Moore McCarty (Paul), Richard Kent Moore (Shannon), Lane Moore, Amy Breland Williams (George), Matt Breland, Larry Breland Jr. (Cindy), Marianna Breland, Jeff Breland (Pam) and Allison Breland Dahlmanns (Eric); eight great-grandchildren; six great-great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. Sadly, she was preceded in death by a grandson, Charles “Chuck” Patrick Rogers, and a daughter-in-law, Beth Ann Boyet Breland.
As she advanced in years she documented her life and wrote a book titled “They Call Me Elsie.” In this book she reflected on the many ups and downs of her life. There were joyful times and sadness, but she had this to say about it: “Life has its moments, but what I’ve realized though is that all of those moments involve love. During the good times it’s the love of your family and friends that make those moments so good. During the bad times it’s that same love that gets you through.”
Elsie’s family and friends will be together for a service in her honor at Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The funeral service will be held at Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home Chapel at 1:30 p.m., with the Rev. Micah Collins officiating. Interment will follow at Ponemah Cemetery.
To view and sign the register book, visit pooleritchiefuneralhome.com.