Mrs. Martha Anne Horton Byrd, 91, of Bunnlevel, passed away Saturday, March 23, 2019. She was born October 1, 1927. to the late Joseph Ernest Horton and wife Azilee Byrd Horton. She and her husband Archibald (Mac) Sellars Byrd, were life-long residents of Bunnlevel, North Carolina, and active, faithful members of Friendship Baptist Church.
She and Mac loved to sing, and both were long serving members of the choir. She had nearly perfect pitch singing even in her last years. She had a love of art, music, teaching, and had a passion for youth, working with Girls In Action, teaching Sunday school and Vacation Bible School, and other church youth activities. She was anything but shy, loved to talk and visit, and was usually the first person to arrive at church and the last to leave.
She had a love of flowers, particularly iris, and violets. She worked many summer days barning tobacco with her family, as well as neighbors. She usually spent the rest of those warm summer days cooking and tending an over-sized garden or her many flower beds.
She always cooked and canned more than enough food for her family, which she was all too willing to share with others. She was an excellent cook. Her specialties were, fried chicken, quail and doves, country ham, fat back, turnip greens, butter beans, biscuits, pound cake, pecan pie, coconut pie, banana pudding and ice box fruit cake. These were usually the first to disappear, particularly at church homecomings, and Sunday or holiday meals. She also loved butter pecan ice cream, followed by a little something salty. She always put cooking and eating, and the conversations around the table, ahead of most everything else, except homework, chores Sunday school lessons, and bedtime prayers.
She was a graduate of Lillington High School, and attended Meredith College, to study art, but fell in love before graduating. On August 16, 1947, she married the love of her life, Archibald (Mac) Sellars Byrd. After a honeymoon trip to New York, they returned home to Bunnlevel to life on the farm.
She and Mac raised two sons, while working the farm and full time jobs, and caring for their aging parent’s as their health declined. She enjoyed a long career teaching in Harnett and Cumberland County public schools, interrupted only while raising her two sons. She always valued education, and worked to teach her children, and her extended family of students, at church and school, what she knew to be the values of faith and family that were the bedrock of her life.
She had compassion for the less fortunate, always took time to listen to anyone and everyone who needed and asked for her advice, and to share her Christian faith, which was central to who she was. She lived a long and full life of faithful service to her family, her church, her students, her friends and her Lord.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Archibald Sellars Byrd; parents Joseph E. and Azilee Horton, and a sister, Patricia (Patty) Horton Jones.
She is survived by her sons, Graham Horton Byrd and Russell Wright Byrd and wife, Cynthia (Cindy) Wells Byrd; a sister, Lillie Horton Lloyd; three grandchildren, Anna Grey Byrd, Courtney Alexander Byrd, and Hillary Elizabeth Byrd; and numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family.
A funeral service will be held on Friday, March 29, 2019 at 2:00pm at O’Quinn-Peebles-Phillips Funeral Home Chapel, 1310 South Main Street, Lillington, NC, with Rev. Dudley Neal presiding. The family will receive friends at O’Quinn-Peebles-Phillips Funeral Home from 12:30-1:45pm, prior to the funeral service. The burial will follow at Friendship Baptist Church Cemetery in Bunnlevel.
Flowers are welcome, or memorials may be made to Bunnlevel Ruritan Cemetery Fund, PO Box 150, Bunnlevel NC 28323
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