Ethelee Spears

Published 1:24 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Ethelee Schilling Spears, 96, a resident of Franklinton, died Sunday evening, March 24, 2019 at her home.

She was a longtime member of Bethel Baptist Church, where she often helped with Vacation Bible School and other church activities. Ethelee was a Christian inspiration to her family and church family. She worked at Rutter Rex for many years before a career change in 1967 that led her to attend nursing school at Sullivan Vocational School at the age of 45. She proudly became a Licensed Practical Nurse and worked for 20 years at Riverside Medical Center before retiring.

Ethelee enjoyed volunteering at the Sylvest Cabin in Mile Branch Settlement each Fair. She loved sewing and was an avid baker, making countless birthday cakes and wedding cakes for people throughout the area. Ethelee took loving care of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. She always enjoyed watching them play sports or the events they were involved in.

She is survived by: five children and spouses, Margie and Jimmy Busby, Emma Spears, Fred Jr. and Karen Spears, Loretta Spears Bracey, and Gaylon and Tami Spears; 14 grandchildren and spouses, Melinda Busby Thompson, Dianne and Clay Edwards, Jamie Busby, Dewaine and Mimi Strickland and Dennis Register, Jelaine and Donnie Branch, Johnna and Rusty Creel, Kelly Spears, Nikki Spears Jones, Chesley and Becky Spears, Hope Blazo and Marco Rico, Holly and Jeremy Tullos, Steve and Cindy Collums, Jenna and Brian Mosby, and Haley Spears; 33 great-grandchildren; 18 great-great-grandchildren; sister, Irene Schilling Martin, the last surviving member of her family; and also numerous nieces, nephews and other family members.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred Spears Sr.; infant daughter, Freddie Viola Spears; parents, Arnold Schilling and Emmerline Corkern Schilling; infant brother, Henry Schilling; sisters and brothers-in-law, Vertalee and Brodice Stephens, Thelma Mae and Hollis Spears, Elsie and Arthur Martin, Velma and Shelly Miller; brothers and sisters-in-law, Horace and Lou Schilling, Otha Sr. and Christine Schilling, Edwin “Preacher” and Nora Mae Schilling; sons-in-law Harold Strickland and Sydney Bracey; and brother-in-law, Willard Martin.

Visitation will be at Crain Funeral Home on Wednesday, March 27, from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. and after 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 28. A funeral service will be held in the funeral home chapel at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 28, with the Rev. Larry Archote, the Rev. Mike Stafford and the Rev. Joey Miller officiating. Burial will follow in the Nolbes Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations to the Bethel Baptist Church Sewing Circle, a ministry she participated in that provides lap blankets to area nursing homes and also infant blankets, teddy bears and other items to those in need.

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