Oct. 17, 1930 – Jan. 6, 2021
Lena Bell Butler Waller, 90, departed this earthly life to be with her Savior on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Born Oct. 17, 1930, in the Pleasant Valley community of Franklin County, she was one of four children whose parents were Jake Bernheimer Butler and Ida Bell Scott Butler.
Funeral services were held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, at Galilee Baptist Church in Gloster with the Rev. Brian Malone and Brother Shane Arnold officiating.
Visitation was held from 2 p.m., until the service began.
Burial followed at Roseland Cemetery in Gloster.
Pallbearers included her great-grandsons, Justin and Casey Koehler; nephews, Delton Butler and Darren McIntyre; great-nephew Justin Reynolds; and Deacon Jerry Jackson.
Honorary pallbearers were Roger Arnold and John David Weeks.
Lena Bell attended school in Franklin County and in Arkansas, and graduated in 1948 from McCall Creek High School.
Afterward, she attended Copiah-Lincoln Junior College and graduated with an associate degree in 1950.
On Oct. 28, 1950, she married Emmit Earl Waller and moved to Gloster where she became a member of Galilee Baptist Church.
Earl was the love of her life. They worked as a team to build up his service station business and to increase their property holdings on Busycorner Road from the original three acres and three-room house.
Together, they raised their two children, Margaret Gail and David Earl, in a Christian home where family love, respect and loyalty were priorities.
There, the happy couple enjoyed tending their gardens and entertaining loved ones in their home.
Lena was the family chef for all the various wild game Earl brought home from his hunting trips.
At one time, she said there were seven different kinds of meat in the freezer — if you counted the Catalpa worms used for fishing.
During those years, Earl and his family gave their support as Lena attended the University of Southern Mississippi where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 1963 and became a much-respected school teacher in Amite County.
They were blessed to have shared 25 years of marriage until Earl’s death in 1975.
Because she was an avid reader and life-long learner, Lena continued her education after Earl’s death and obtained a master of elementary education degree from USM in 1978.
She also added several licensure endorsements, and had a teaching career that spanned more than 25 years.
Her positive influence was felt and appreciated by many students who often greeted her warmly even after her retirement in 1992.
Lena spent her time cultivating the friendships of young and old within school and church associations.
She taught Sunday School, and assisted with Vacation Bible School and church socials for many years.
She was a member of the Women’s Missionary Union, Order of the Eastern Star and Amite County Retired Teachers Association, serving in various officer positions through the years.
She especially enjoyed gatherings with her family and proudly acknowledged she was the two-time matriarch of a five-generation family.
Lena was an excellent seamstress and quilt maker, and her embroidery and crochet pieces are prized heirlooms.
The family considered this child of the Depression to be a premier example of resourceful reuse of everything.
Lena was a faithful Christian witness and a true American patriot who loved her God, her family and her country.
Lena Bell Butler Waller was preceded in death by her beloved parents; husband; brothers, Floyd Benton Butler and Jacob Delton Butler; sister, Clara Lee Butler Hammill; in-laws Delos Clinton and Cola Pugh Waller, Jerry Waller, Myrtle Waller Butler, Cecil Hammill; grandchildren, Carol Brown Cika and Zachary Jackson; and life-long friends, Jessie Womack Watson and Joyce Berryhill.
She is survived by her loving daughter, Margaret Gail Waller Spinnato (Andy); devoted son, David Earl Waller (Penny); dear brother-in-law, Wren Waller (Evelyn); faithful sister-in-law; Jean Waller McIntyre (Donald); precious grandchildren, Elizabeth Gail Greer Weeks (John David), Rachel Marie King Benin (Joseph), Anna Brown Jackson (Mike), Kerry Brown Ward (Chad), Greg Spinnato and Brandi Waller.
Surviving great-grandchildren, of whom Lena was very proud, include: Justin Koehler (Peyton), Casey Koehler (Angelique), Rebecca, Joseph and Jeanette Benin, Charity Hessler, Callie Cika, and Ethan, Jayden and Kaizen Ward and the children of Brandi Waller.
Cherished great-great grandsons are Brody Koehler and Luca Koehler.
Special friends were Maisie Forman, Peggy Shuckrow and Beverly Walden.
A host of much loved nieces, nephews and cousins mourn her passing, and friends at Galilee Baptist Church held a special place in her heart.
The family appreciates the kind expressions of concern and sympathy and asks that memorial tributes be made to Galilee Baptist Church.
It was Lena’s sincere request she is remembered with affection and joy.
Lena Bell Butler Waller will be greatly missed by many who knew and loved her.
Our sad loss is Heaven’s eternal gain.
Brown Funeral Home of Gloster was in charge of arrangements.