Emma Nell Durden was the first born child to P.G. “Dock” Lawrence and Lola Bennett Lawrence on July 9, 1931. Dock owned and operated Dock’s Auto Service and Grocery Store in Grand Ridge, where one could purchase hand-dipped ice cream there, a variety of commodities, and have excellent work done on their cars and farm equipment.
Emma Nell was Salutatorian of her 1949 graduating class At Grand Ridge School. Growing up, she exhibited unique talent and blessed many people with her beautiful sewing and crocheting hand work. In 1948, at the age of 17, she became the Florida winner in the 4-H clothing and textile division where she won a trip to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago, IL. At a young age, Emma Nell gave her heart to the Lord and actively served Him at Providence Baptist Church her entire life. Despite being wheelchair bound, she regularly cared for her beautiful ferns and potted plants that were admired by all who visited her or passed by her home.
Emma Nell received her AA degree from Chipola College and became the elementary school librarian at Grand Ridge, where she served for 25 years. She took pride in being able to foster a love of reading to her young students and knowing each child by name.
She married her elementary school sweetheart, Willard Durden, on February 17, 1951. They were married for 60 years before Willard’s death in 2011. Willard was the “love of her life”. God blessed them with three children: Larry, Debbie, and Garry. Emma Nell was blessed to have her children living nearby where they were able to love and care for her throughout her lifetime.
Emma Nell was preceded in death by her parents, Dock and Lola Lawrence, and her younger brother, Godfrey Lawrence.
She is survived by her three children, Larry and wife, Teresa, Debbie and husband, David, and Garry and wife Rachel. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Tara Godwin (Keith), Nevin Durden (Sharla), Jami Folsom (Jason), Mikayla Durden, Mackenzie Durden, and Katie Durden; great grandchildren, Dalton Godwin, Samuel Godwin, Isabella Durden, Morgan Folsom, Jett Durden, and Rhett Durden; sister in law, Thelma Lawrence; and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Emma Nell also dearly loved the members of her Sunday School Class at Providence Baptist Church; her dear life-long friend, Billie Dickson; special cousin, Ladon Moneyham who faithfully called and checked on her daily; special friends, Holland and Donna Braxton and Jean Herring; her cat, Millie, and other outside cats that people dropped off; and her little chihuahua, CoCo.
Emma Nell will be sorely missed by all, but we rejoice knowing that she is now with her Lord and loved ones whom she has joined.
Funeral service will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, October 29, 2019 at Providence Baptist Church. Interment will follow in Shady Grove Cemetery with James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel directing.
The family will receive friends from 5p.m. to 7p.m Monday, October 28, 2019 at Providence Baptist Church.
Flowers are accepted or memorial contributions may be made to Providence Baptist Church or Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Shoebox Fund.