|This is my eulogy and tribute to my grandmother. It was a
tough day, but I was proud to speak at her service.
We called her Mamy. (rhymes with Sammy)
|Emma Estelle Wilburn Jones
Eulogy, July 6, 2004…..Ric Justiss, Grandson
On behalf of the family of Estelle Jones, I welcome you who have gathered to join with us in paying final respects to
the memory of Emma Estelle Wilburn Jones. Today, in this service, we remember with gratitude her life and we
give thanks to God for those things she did to make our world a better place. Through this service may our
dedication to serving others be deepened and may our eyes be lifted to that which is eternal. I know her as well as
anyone, and I know she would be so proud that each of you came to pay tribute to her.
Born Aug. 2, 1911
Died, July 4, 2004, Independence Day
At 92 years of age., In Garland TX
Ginger Jones Embrey, of Quitman, TX and her husband. Gaylon Embrey.
6 Grand children
10 Great Grand children
Preceded in death by
Son, Jeral Thomas, died Nov 28, 1971, 32 years ago
Husband, Antone, died June 28, 1977, 27 years ago
Son, Adam Ray, died Aug 9, 1997, almost 7 years ago
Those are the statistical facts.
Very close to 93 years in this world.
This world saw many changes during her lifetime. They say “the times they are a changing”….for her 92+ years the
times, they were always changing. And while the world seemed to always be changing around her, and while she
had to adapt, I’m impressed with how much she didn’t change.
Mamy knew who she was. Mamy knew her place. And she knew how she wanted the circumstances and details
around her ordered.
As I thought about Mamy’s life, one scripture jumped out at me.
Rom. 16:19 I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
She was simple concerning evil. She was wise unto that which is good.
She didn’t participate in anything bad. When she was exposed to the bad in the world, whether on TV or someone
telling her something that happened, she would just shake her head, and dismiss it. The evil of the world had no
lure for her, at all.
She was all about the good. As a young girl, and growing up through the depression years, her family would see its
share of hardship, struggle and uncertainty. She learned the value of hard work. She was the fifth of five children
born to Tom and Mellie Wilburn. And out of that circumstance came a woman of steadiness, calm, and a cheerful
confidence that life would bring good things. She had an abounding optimism.
As I think about who she was, first and foremost, she was Pappy’s girl. She was his wife. Antone and Estelle were
married on June 25, 1932 when she was 21 years old and they were married for 45 years. She told the story of how
when they got married they had only $5 and a dime. Antone gave the preacher the five dollars and all they had was
that dime. But she was as happy as could be. She was all that a good wife should be. She loved that man
Antone. She devoted herself to him. Like a lot of people of their generation, they were early risers. Early to bed
and early to rise. Pappy never left the house in the morning, that she hadn’t fixed him breakfast, and sent him off
with a thermos of coffee and a sack lunch. And when he came home, she was there waiting for him. With great
love, she waited on him when he was injured and paralyzed for six years, a time she described as the most difficult
time of her life. Once he passed, she lived 27 more years without him, but did not live one day without him in her
heart, her thoughts and prayers. She never considered another man. She was his, and that was the end of the
story. She never took off her wedding rings. Even at the end, when she out of her mind sometimes, she would tell
me Antone came to see her today. And when the sun sets tonight, she will be back where she belongs, by his side.
She was a good mother. Through her life certain convictions were formed and she was stern. And in some ways
that came across as unaffectionate and unloving. But I think she thought of her role as a mother more as a teacher,
teaching what she knew, her values, to her children. She was conservative, frugal, and content with a simple life,
and she wanted to teach her family to be that way too.
And that is who she was. She was unimportant to the world. She didn’t belong to the business world, or causes or
organizations. Hers was the simple life of running her household. She always took care of things. She didn’t put
things off. Her house was always clean and ordered. She approached everyday with the same routine. She would
put things in order in the house, go sweep the sidewalk, water the flowers and work the garden she loved. She
paid the bills with precision. When a bill came in the mail, she paid it the same day. She knew what she could
afford and she was content to live within those means. If something broke and needed fixed, she would get it fixed.
I remember Adam quit doing repairs for her, and would hire someone to come do it, cause he felt he could never
repair it to her satisfaction.
She was a good friend. She loved to talk with the neighbors. She would visit the neighbors when she saw them
outside. And her front door was always open for her friends to come and visit. And you couldn’t visit her without
being offered a coke and piece of cake or pie. She loved to do that.
I would come over to mow her yard, and every time without fail, I would be mowing, and here she would come,
bringing me a wet washcloth and a tall glass of cold water.
Back earlier before she got hurt, we would meet over at Luby’s for lunch about once a week. She loved to stay in
touch and hear about what was going on in my life. She loved those visits.
She loved you Ann, and your mom. And I know personally, how dear ya’lls friendship was to her. And even more in
these last years, she would always tell me, Ann came by, and tell me about that. It really meant a lot to her, all that
you did for her.
And mom, she really did like the clothes and things you brought her. She never had much, and was content with
that, but it always made her feel special to have the nice things you gave her, things she never would have had
without you. She looked forward to visits, from all of her friends and family. She always carried herself with a
decency and attention to small kindnesses that also defined a good life. She was a gentle and considerate woman,
never known to slight or embarrass others.
And she surprised me. I never could understand why she loved sports so much. But she did. She never missed a
cowboys game. If there was sports on TV, she would have it on that channel.
When we think of her, we will think of a woman advancing in years with the sweetness and sincerity of a good
Christian woman.. We might think of that grave expression that sometimes came over her face, the seriousness of
a woman angered by something that didn’t meet up to her standards. But all in all, we will remember a lady, a good
lady and a good person. When I asked her how she wanted to be remembered, she said that she liked to help
people and hoped to leave a mark that way. Those who remember her when she was strong and healthy will
certainly remember her just that way.
And lastly, I am impressed with her courage. Her strength. Her toughness. She was really something. The last ten
years she suffered greatly, but she was a fighter. She tried her best to keep going in spite of all she endured. She
liked it when I would hold her and help her walk down the hallway at the nursing home, one small step at a time.
She fought the decline of her health with all the might she could muster. Today we say goodbye to a gallant lady.
She never gave up and never gave in. Strong. Brave. Unafraid . Unyielding in her convictions. But she had
something more, much more. I will always remember her for another quality. It is the quality that great fighters have.
They call it Heart. Heart is what let Estelle Jones climb back into the ring time and again when almost anyone else
would have thrown in the towel. It was her Heart that taught me the great lesson of her life, to never, ever give up.
She knew adversity was a challenge to overcome. She had Heart to the very end.
I’ll share with you a great quote I came across;
"One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been."
And in Mamy’s evening, her light burned bright with open and wise prescriptions for us all. Today, as we take her to
rest, as we seek to measure her life, it is clear how truly splendid Estelle Jones’ day has been.
And we look to that fine day when we will see her again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure, and
smiling again. There is a democracy about death. It comes equally to us all and makes us all equal when it comes.
And I think today every one of us ought to be thinking about our own time to die, because we, too, are going to die,
and we are going to have to face Almighty God with the life that we lived here. There comes a time when we have
to realize that life is short, even at 92 years, and in the end the only thing that really counts is not how others see us
here, but how God sees us and what the record books of heaven have to say. For the believer who has been to the
cross, death is no frightful leap into the dark, but is an entrance into a glorious new life. She was a Christian,
baptized when she was 21 years old and a faithful member to the Church of Christ her entire life. She said her
mother was the biggest influence on her spiritually, teaching her to always do the right thing. She was asked what
advice she had for young people today and she said to learn morals. Do right. Honor and Obey your parents and
follow their teaching. And I am sure, that when our Lord sees her coming, the doors of Heaven will open and the
angles will sing and rejoice and she will be welcomed Home.
Go rest high on that mountain Mamy.
May God bless Estelle Jones, and the family and friends she loved.