Saturday, March 9, 2013

Heaven Is My Home...Mam-ma Polly Got Her Wings!

“Polly” Chandler, passed away Friday, March 8th, 2013, at her residence in Southridge Village Retirement Center, Heber Springs, Arkansas. Born November 5, 1912, in Little Red, Arkansas, as Willie Dove Thrasher, “Polly” was the eighth child of William Floyd and Mary Caroline (Cullum) Thrasher. When Willie Dove was a little girl, a man nick-named her “Polly,” and it stuck.

Polly lived in the area of Hiram and Cooter Neck much of her life. On December 18, 1932, she married Truman Paul Chandler. They were the parents of two sons… a baby who died at birth, and James Paul, who was born in 1936. Trup and Polly worked most of their lives in and around Heber Springs, with brief stints at factories and farms in Indiana and Texas in the 1940s and 1950s. In one of those factories, Polly helped to create munitions for the war. She also worked in a dress shop, a department store, and as a cook for farmhands in Texas.

Polly worked outside the home almost all of her life. Even in “retirement,” she served as a “Foster Grandparent”… first in the elementary school and then at the Community School of Cleburne County. She was a long-time member of the Heber Springs B&PW Club, the Extension Homemakers, and a charter member of the Heber Springs Folklore Society, where she was instrumental in raising the funds to build the facility that sits at the foot of Sugarloaf Mountain. Polly was an extraordinarily good dancer!

Polly served as a chairside dental assistant to Dr. Joe N. Robbins for nearly 20 years. During that time, she was a bus driver for the Heber Springs Schools for approximately eleven years. Dozens of students can recall riding Polly’s bus… especially getting out and walking across the Swinging Bridge in its later years, because she felt it was unsafe for them to ride. She would drive across and meet them on the other end.

Polly was the oldest living member of the First Baptist Church of Heber Springs, having joined the local congregation in 1953. If anything defined Polly Chandler, it was her faith in God, which served her well through many challenges, including the loss of her first baby, a fire that claimed her home and all of its belongings in 1981, the death of Truman in 1984, and the loss of her grandson Tim in 1998, followed by James Paul’s death in 1999. Throughout all of these events and much more, Polly would say, “The LORD will take care of me”… and He did.

Anyone who knew Polly knew that she was an incredible cook, gardener, seamstress, and quilter. Polly was known far and wide for her peanut brittle, homemade rolls, and her sweet potato cobbler. She was recognized in the local paper just a few summers ago for growing incredibly large tomatoes in her backyard plot. At Southridge, she supervised the community garden and maintenance of the hanging baskets and flower beds. Polly made beautiful quilts… all stitched by hand from start to finish. She could arrange flowers on the fly and whip up a feast out of a few “dabs” of leftovers that looked like less than nothing.

Polly loved people and was happiest when surrounded by visitors to her home. Her conversations were peppered with “I tell you what!” , “I started to say…” and “My land a livin’s” galore… plus many other pearls of wisdom… some that cannot be repeated! Her first question to a new neighbor was usually, “Can you stay for dinner?” followed by “Where do you go to church?” Polly lived a rich life of service to God and others, and she will be remembered by many for her beautiful smile and her lovingkindness toward everyone she met.

In addition to her parents and nine siblings, Polly was preceded in death by her husband, Truman, her infant son J.H., her son James Paul, and her grandson, Timothy Paul Chandler. Polly is survived by her former daughter-in-law, Arline (Chandler) Smith and her husband, Lee; grand-daughters and sons… Debbie and Greg Robus, and Suzanne and Mike Linn, all of Heber Springs; her great-grand-daughter, Jasmine Gary and her husband, Jamison; and three great-grand-children… Timothy, Zola , and Nathan Gary, all of Heber Springs. Polly is also survived by her nephew, Ricky Whisnant, and his wife, Lori, of Heber Springs; nieces, Martha (Faulkner) Tucker, of Searcy, Arkansas, and Sue (Barnett) O’Dwyer, of Conway, Arkansas; and Amanda (Whisnant) Holland and her husband, Bradley, of Heber Springs, as well as many other dear relatives and friends.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, March 12,, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church Heber Springs. Funeral services will follow at 2:00 p.m., with Rev. J.R. DeBusk and Rev. Kathy DeBusk officiating. Pallbearers are Tim O’Dwyer, Kevin O’Dwyer, Chris O’Dwyer, BJ Stracener, Hal Caid, and Bill Baldwin. Honorary pallbearers are the staff at Southridge Village Retirement Center and the Cleburne County Hospice staff, Verlon Abram, J.R. Barnett, Joel Pilkington, and Tom Welborn. The family also wishes to offer special thanks to Dr. David Eades for his loving care of Polly in recent years.

Memorials may be made to the First Baptist Church 201 N. 4th St., Heber Springs, AR 72543, or to Cleburne County Hospice, 2319 Hwy 110 West Ste C, Heber Springs, AR 72543.


Mark said...

What a great history of her life. She was a gem, and you are, too, for your obvious dedication to her.

Heather Mundell said...

What a lovely tribute! I'm thinking about you and wishing you happy memories and warm family connections.

Russell Mclain said...

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