The following obituary for my mother appears in the Sunday Oklahoman, January 28, 2018.
He will gather, He will gather
The gems for His kingdom,
All the pure ones, all the bright ones,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.
–William Cushing, 1856
Barbara Helen Martin Elliott was born October 1, 1934 in Carbondale Illinois, and died on Christmas Eve 2017, in Edmond, Oklahoma. She was the eldest daughter of Phillip Webster Martin and Bertie Bain Martin.
Barbara lived in Carbondale until the age of 12. She loved school and was an outstanding student. At the age of 5, she accepted Jesus into her heart and began her lifelong journey as a Christian. She was her grandfather’s favorite and he was instrumental in her salvation. Later, Barbara was instrumental in the salvation of her entire family.
In 1946, the family moved to Southern California. In 1952, Barbara graduated from Excelsior High School. She was a member of Art Club and National Honor Society.
Following high school, she worked as a secretary. She loved dating, fashion and church. In October 1955, she met a sailor, William Elliott, at the Bellflower Church of the Nazarene. They married six weeks later. Of this union was born four children who gave her 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. All were her crown and glory.
Despite her small, fixed income, she never forgot anyone’s birthday and shopped sales all year so she could give everyone a Christmas present. She supported numerous charities.
Barbara was a working mother. She worked for the La Puente School District, CA; International Students, Inc., CO and Washington County, OK. Her biggest job, however, was as a Nazarene preacher’s wife. She was devoted to her calling. She served with her husband through pastorates in Galveston, Kermit and Gilmer TX; Ozark, AR; Caney, KS and Bartlesville. The rural church scene was a mission field marked by low wages and poverty. She shined through the sacrifices. She hosted showers, potlucks, sang and played piano. She loved supporting Nazarene missionaries. To encourage people to read missionary books, she created a poster featuring paper crowns. Everyone who signed up to read books got a crown. When you finished a book, she added a little plastic jewel to your crown. Our dear mother has now received the imperishable crowns that heaven bestows.
Barbara was a talented artist. She quilted, crocheted, painted, sewed and knitted. She was the world’s best Girl Scout leader. She was a prayer warrior who spent hours in prayer every day for her family. When she saw War Room, she cheered in ovation at the end. She was an amazing Sunday School teacher who taught the Gospel to children with the Wordless Book. This is her greatest legacy: A devout follower of Jesus Christ. If you are reading this, she would want you to know she loved you, because she loved everyone.
Barbara was 83, but she died unexpectedly, at home. She died doing what she loved: Keeping busy and anticipating celebrating our Lord’s birth with her children and grandchildren. All who loved her are devastated by the loss, but rejoice that she joined Jesus on his birthday. She will remain with him throughout eternity.
Throughout her life, Barbara spoke of the babies she lost in miscarriage. The moment she died she held them in her arms for the first time. This makes her happier than words can possibly say.
The family thanks Oklahoma Heart Hospital and Dr. John M. Williams for 14 years of care. Thank you for all the times you saved her.
Mom is survived by her children, Faith Bybee, Dickson, TN; Rebecca Nelson, and husband Steven, Edmond; William Elliott, and wife Ginger, West Covina, CA; Jennifer McCollum and husband Robert, OKC. Grandkids, Jayson Bybee, April Tummins, Cathrine Holloway, TN; Brandon Nelson, AL; Adrienne Weigel, Edmond; Bethany Lyons, Brittany Diamond, SD; Juliette James (Nanny’s “Angel”), Sullivan and Bridgette McCollum, OKC; seven great-grandchildren; dog Missy, and sisters Phyllis and Cherryle. She was preceded in death by her parents; son-in-law Greg Bybee, and husband, William Elliott.
Rest in peace dear Momma, Grandma, Nanny.
Wait for us. We will be with you soon.