Myrtle Hall Autry, 93, of 351 Stage Coach Lane, Autryville, NC, went to be with her Heavenly Father on February 28, 2019.
She was born in Sampson County and attended Clement School. She knew tough times from an early age but was blessed with a mother who, though she was in poor health, did all she could to support her and her siblings. Myrtle married Elmer Bruce Autry at age 16. They had two daughters, two sons, and two granddaughters. She was employed at Burlington Mills for some years, but she was primarily a homemaker. Myrtle was always doing all she could to help subsidize the family income working with her daughters in barning tobacco and in picking cotton and dewberries.
In May 1986 tragedy struck her family. Son Garry died at the age of 33 after a brief illness. In November Elmer suffered a fatal heart attack on a hunting trip. In December Ricky died at the age of 27 in a house fire and was buried on Christmas Eve. By the grace of God and the love and care of family and friends her anchor held. Myrtle never held a driver license and had never written a check, but soon she became a pro at managing her small income. She was a good steward and always paid her tithe on every dollar she received.
In 1993 daughter Sandra Faye moved back home and they shared many wonderful times together. They were two peas in a pod. In 1995 daughter Betty and husband Mac moved next door. In 1996 Myrtle took a road trip in a motorhome with Betty and Mac. They crossed 13 states. She had never traveled far from home, so this was quite an experience. Probably one of the best parts was that she was in Arizona when Hurricane Fran struck North Carolina. By the time she arrived home the power had been restored, the water pump replaced, and the cleanup finished. However, in 2018, when Hurricane Florence came through, she was not as fortunate, but the family hunkered down and withstood six days without power (talk about togetherness).
In 2003 granddaughter Cindy and her husband Mark blessed Myrtle with great grandson Cole and in 2006 great grandson Dakota. She loved them dearly and they called her Nana.
In May 2005 her family gave her an 80th birthday party. It was a wonderful day, and she loved seeing and talking to all who came to share in the celebration.
In June 2009 she suffered a heart attack and the future was uncertain. But thank the Lord she was able to celebrate her 90th birthday on May 3, 2015. Myrtle’s church, Autryville New Life Church of God, honored her with a “Sister Myrtle Day”. It was a day she never forgot. She talked about it constantly. Over 200 people joined in the celebration.
“Sister” Myrtle was devoted to her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and was a faithful servant. She was a member of the church since 1951. Though not a charter member, as the church was established in 1947, she was the oldest member at the time of her death. The Lord was always number one with “Sister” Myrtle. She spent the last 73 years of her life in His service. She had the power of prayer so much so that she often received requests outside her church family. Everyone knew when she prayed for you she would call you by name. “Sister” Myrtle was truly a prayer warrior.
She loved her church and in years past she and many other saints, who have also since passed on, worked many long hours cooking and preparing food to sale to help support the church. She, along with other volunteer custodians, would sometimes work all day cleaning the church. They cleaned it like it was their home - and it was.
Myrtle was a devoted wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother, neighbor, and friend. She was a wonderful cook and she knew you had to properly season food if you expected it to taste good. Myrtle often cooked and baked as gifts to others. She still occasionally rolled out her own pastry and was known for her delicious Japanese fruitcakes. Sunday afternoons after church was a treasured time with family enjoying great meals, laughing, and sharing loving fellowship.
She lived her life as an example before her family. They all did indeed “arise and call her blessed”. Myrtle was truly the virtuous women spoke of in Proverbs 31.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Apsillie and Wellington Hall of Roseboro, NC; her husband, Elmer Bruce Autry and two sons, Garry Bruce Autry and Ricky Love Autry both of Autryville, NC; brother, Delbert Hall of Wilmington, NC; two sisters, Merline Weeks and Eva Atkinson both of Fayetteville, NC; sons-in-law, Willie “Mac” McGowan and Roger Jackson, Jr.; and grandson-in-law, Mark Bedard.
She is survived by two daughters, Betty McGowan of Autryville, NC and Sandra Faye Autry of the home; two granddaughters, Cindy Jackson Bedard of Autryville, NC and Michelle McGowan of Stedman, NC; two great grandsons, Cole Bedard and Dakota Bedard of Autryville, NC; four nieces, Mary Catherine Weeks Bailey and Delores Weeks Robinson both of Fayetteville, NC; Patricia Atkinson Bailey and Vickie Atkinson Durand both of Alpharetta, GA.
A Celebration of Life service will be held Tuesday, March 5, 2019, beginning at 3:00 p.m. at the Autryville New Life Church of God at 206 East North Street, Autryville, NC. Pastor Larry Autry will be officiating. Visitation will follow the service in the church fellowship hall. Interment will be private in the Autryville New Life Church of God cemetery.
Services entrusted to Butler Funeral Home, Stedman, NC.