Willie Mae (Safley) Whitten

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Willie Mae (Safley) Whitten, 97, of Black Oak died July 23, 2004, at Lakeside Nursing Center in Lake City.

She was born Feb. 20, 1907, near Ripley, Tenn., to William Edwin and Etta Lenora (Glimp) Safley. Her parents and grandparents, William M. and Phoebe M. (Drake) Safley, came to Buffalo Island in late 1910. Her mother died in Monette in 1911, leaving Willie and her twin brother T.J., who were raised by their grandparents.

She lived on Poplar Ridge during the teens and early 1920s. In 1926 she went to Flint, Mich., with her father and stepmother.

On July 14, 1928, she married James Russell Whitten. They moved back to the Black Oak area in 1932 with their only child, James I. Whitten. She was a faithful member of the Church of Christ for over 80 years and a Real Granddaughter in the James Wiseman Honnoll Chapter United Daughters of the Confederacy.

She was preceded in death by her husband on May 21, 1986; her twin brother, on Aug. 28, 1987; a half brother, Maurice G. Safley, on June 12, 1998, and her beloved sister-in-law, Albertine (Hyde) Safley on June 28, 2003.

She is survived by her son, James, and daughter-in-law Joyce of Black Oak; her granddaughter and husband, Vernon and Joan (Whitten) Gott of Jonesboro; two great grandchildren, Kevin T. Richardson of Jonesboro and Cynthia J. Miller of LaFollette, Tenn.; a great-great-grandson, Corey J. Johnson of LaFollette, Tenn,; a brother-in-law, Henry O. "Jack" Whitten of Monette; a sister-in-law, Mrs. T.J. (Sybil G.) Safley of Vicksburg, Miss.; and a beloved friend, Ruby Shaw Taylor of Black Oak.

Private graveside services were held July 25 at the Monette Cemetery.