Ethelene Lyerla, 94, of Anna, died at 5:26 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, at Union County Long Term Care.
She was born in the country near Cobden, the daughter of Audie and Vesta Wright.
She married Collin Wesley Lyerla on July 1, 1945 in St. Louis, Mo. Collin preceded her in death on August 13, 2013.
She is survived by two sons, Richard “Rick” (Donna) Lyerla of Jonesboro and Collin “Wesley” Lyerla of Cobden; one daughter, Judy Ann Lyerla of San Antonio; one sister, Ramona Hays of Herrin; one brother Gene (Mary Lou) Wright of Anna; five grandchildren, Jamie Clary, Wendy Oxford, Courtney Haddick, Collin Wesley III, and Kimberly Wilber; one step-grandchild, Joel Martin; nine great-grandchildren, Samantha Clary, Jackson Armstrong, Peyton Lyerla, Carolynn Lyerla, Blakely Lyerla, Camille Haddick, Alianna Haddick, Isaiah Martin, and Jesse Lee Wilber (who called her Granny Sassy, a name she loved). She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters, Carol Lee Wright and Nellie Mae Dillow.
She became a member of Anna Heights Baptist Church in 1957 and taught the same Deborah Sunday School class for over 40 years. She was a fearless prayer warrior, and many will remember her taking them to and from church. Ethelene lived out her faith in the support of numerous charities, and she frequently found small and large ways to provide great comfort and support. She has been an inspiration to several generations, and her life had an impact on those she touched.
She was the first person in her family to graduate from high school. During WWII, she worked in Chicago and St. Louis for Union Special Machine Company, a sewing machine company that turned to making fuel tanks and fragment bombs for the war effort. A riveter, she was one of the iconic women riveters who stepped up while their men were off fighting the war. She later retired from the Bunny Bread bakery in Anna, where she worked in the front office for over 20 years.
She was a tireless seamstress with an innate sense of clothing design. She loved gardening and could grow almost anything with her green thumb. She also expressed her creativity and hard work ethic by baking and decorating cakes when she wasn’t working, and provided wedding cakes for many in the community.
She was a dear friend and a trusted confidante, precious to those in her wide circle of friends and family who will always miss her, but also always grateful for her life.
Funeral services for Ethelene Lyerla will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna with Rev. Scott Harner officiating. Friends may call after 11 a.m. and until the service hour at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Memorials may be made to the Ebenezer Hall Cemetery. Envelopes will be available at the Rendleman and Hileman Funeral Home in Anna.
To leave online condolences for the family, visit www.rendlemanhilemanfh.com. Rendleman & Hileman Funeral Home in Anna is in charge of the arrangements.