By MARILYN TINNIN
Happy 100th Birthday to a Beautiful Lady!
Mrs. Frances Reynolds of Sunnybrook Estates in Madison has lived through one hundred years of significant American history—literally. Born near the end of World War I, she has witnessed the rise and fall of numerous fads, fashions, movie stars, politicians, and even preachers. She has survived several wars, the Great Depression, the cultural upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s, and too many cultural changes to list. She has outlived Seab, her dear husband of 53 years, her only child, and every friend in her Mendenhall High School graduating class of 1935. But Mrs. Reynolds is not now, nor has she ever been, one who dwells on the negative.
Her philosophy of life is upbeat and her faith runs deep. She is a very spry and spunky member of the Sunnybrook community. If there is an activity, she is likely participating. If there is a field trip, she is on the bus. She takes full advantage of Sunnybrook’s Library. She reads the daily newspaper but confesses a lot of the news makes her mad. Her favorite sections these days have become the comics and the crossword puzzle. When it comes to books, she keeps one going all the time. From John Grisham’s latest to Billy Graham classics to the map atlas of the United States, Mrs. Frances appreciates time spent with a book!
Julia Edwards, Executive Director at Sunnybrook, leads a weekly prayer group that is open to any resident who wants to participate. Mrs. Frances is a regular with a genuine spirit of concern for the needs of others, but she also has a particular brand of seasoned wisdom that inspires the entire group.
Her late husband, Seab, was in the Army Reserve at Camp Shelby when he met his future bride. It did not take him long to know she was the girl for him. They met in October 1941. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December, Seab popped the question. They married in March 1942, and Mrs. Frances became a soldier’s wife.
For the next year or more, his orders took them to several bases stateside. Mrs. Reynolds explains that accommodations were always anything but plush and might include sharing an apartment with another couple. But she was a happy bride who enjoyed seeing new places and making friends from all over the country. It was a great adventure. Seab was eventually sent to the South Pacific serving in Australia and New Guinea. It was a joyful day when the war ended and he returned safely.
For the next few years the young couple and their toddler son lived near Washington, D.C. When Seab received his military discharge following the Korean War, they settled briefly in Dallas. They moved to Clinton, Mississippi, in 1954, and it was then that the couple made what she calls, “the best decision of our lives. We joined First Baptist Church in Jackson.”
For the next forty plus years, they took advantage of everything the church had to offer. “If the doors were open, we were there,” she says. This was the place where her faith grew strong, where she learned the joy of tithing in times of plenty or want, and where she learned that Proverbs 3:5-6 were the verses she would live by for the rest of her life. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” That proverb has served her well.
As Julia Edwards puts it, “It is clear to everyone that Mrs. Reynolds truly lives what she believes.”