Ann Prather Jennings, originally of Jackson, Mississippi, passed away peacefully on February 12th, 2014, just a few days before her 80th birthday, at the Sunny View Retirement Community in Cupertino, California. During her last hours on earth, she was prayed with and for by the Rev. Ron Griffin of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church of Mountain View. She is sorely missed by her son William and his family who enjoyed having her nearby for the last two and a half years of her life.
An intimate Birthday/Memorial service was presided over by Rev. Joan Randall on February 18th, 2014, on what would have been Ann’s 80th Birthday, at the Sunny View Retirement Community for her California relatives, friends, and the nursing staff who grew to love her very much.
Ann was a Southern Lady to the very end, always gracing the staff at Sunny View with her smile and kind disposition. As a former nurse herself, she always understood the staff’s own challenges with providing such intensive care to elderly patients. She was a mentor to the nursing staff at Sunny View, and was a peaceful and joyful part of the resident community despite the difficulties that her serious and chronic illnesses brought to bear on her.
Ann was born on February 18th, 1934, in Jackson, Mississippi to Robert and Emmette Prather, both parents from Misssissippi. Ann’s paternal grandparents were Robert Prather of Kentucky and Lena Anderson of Mississippi. Ann’s maternal grandparents were Ernest Conerly and Stella Lee, both of Mississippi.
She graduated in 1951 from George S. Gardiner High School in Laurel, Mississippi. She later earned a Diploma of Nursing from the St Marys School of Nursing (affiliated with the Mayo Clinic) in Rochester, Minnesota in 1954. She later attended both Millsaps College and Ole Miss to work towards a further degree, which she nearly finished. She worked as a Registered Nurse until her retirement in 1982.
Ann was married to William “Bill” Columbus Jennings, Jr. on July 15th, 1960 in Jackson, Mississippi. After their marriage, Ann and Bill moved to Memphis, Tennessee where her two boys, William and Robert were born.
She and Bill were heavily involved in the Boy Scouts, with both sons becoming Eagle Scouts. She volunteered many hours to the Order of the Arrow in Tennessee and at National Conferences. She taught thousands of Boy Scouts how to do Indian beadwork, quillwork, and finger weaving for authentic styled Indian dance clothes. For her exemplary service to Boy Scouting, Ann received the National Committee of the Order of the Arrow’s highest honor given to a non-member, the “Red Arrow Award”, in 1983.
In addition to Indian crafts, she also sewed, knitted, quilted, crocheted, tatted, painted, gardened, and arranged flowers. She won many blue ribbons for crafts at the Memphis Mid South Fair. The needlepoint kneelers at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee and the ones at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in Elizabethton, Tennessee were largely crafted by Ann. Her grandchildren were also blessed with many pieces of her handiwork.
When Bill and Ann retired in 1982, they moved to Elizabethton, Tennessee, and built a home on Mayfield Drive at the foot of the mountains. They were active in their church, the Boy Scouts, and the neighborhood. Ann’s garden was colorful and beautiful with over two hundred types of flowers from which she frequently supplied flowers for St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church where she was a long time and active parishioner.
When her husband Bill became very ill, Ann cared for him at home, believing only she should care for him. She was with him at home until his very last moment. He died on April 23rd, 1994 of pancreatic cancer.
About a dozen years later, Ann decided to sell her Mayfield Drive home and relocate to Oxford, Mississippi, where she resided at the Azalea Gardens Assisted Living facility. Though it was hard to give up her independence and her beautiful garden in Elizabethton, Tennessee, this move allowed her to be closer to her sister, Carole Landon, of Oxford, and also to her extended family in the south. She enjoyed her days at Azalea Gardens, and also many outings and special occasions and holidays at the home of Carole and Michael Landon. Her sister Carole was an invaluable companion and caretaker during Ann’s time at the Azalea Garden Assisted Living facility. It was a difficult decision for Ann to leave her extended family in the south and move out to California to be closer to her eldest son and his family. But Ann was ever thoughtful and considerate and recognized it would be easier on him and his growing family if he could manage her affairs near his home in Los Altos, California. When she decided it was time, she relocated to California, and later found a home at the Sunny View Retirement Community.
Ann was preceded in death by her: parents, Robert and Emmette Prather; her brother, Robert Prather; and her loving husband of thirty-three years, William Columbus Jennings, Jr.
She left many memories to be cherished by her two sons, William Eugene Jennings now of San Jose, California; and Robert Dewitt Jennings now of Simpsonville, South Carolina. She also leaves behind her three loving sisters, Jeanne Wright of Denham Springs, Louisiana, Carole Landon of Oxford, Mississippi, and Stella “Cookie” Prout of Hattiesburg, Mississippi; her five grandchildren, Matthew, Olivia, Will, Henry, and Mark, and her many loving nieces, nephews, and godchildren.
A Funeral Mass will be held at St. Thomas Episcopal Church at 815 N. Second St., Elizabethton, Tennessee on March 22nd, 2014 at 1 pm with Father Harry Shaefer of St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church presiding. Following her wishes, her remains have been entombed next to her husband’s at the Happy Valley Memorial Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Sequoyah Council, Boy Scouts of America and will be applied to a camp scholarship fund ensuring those who want to attend a Scout Camp will be able to. Donations should be sent to Sequoyah Council, PO Box 3010, Johnson City, TN 37602.