TUPELO - Evelyn Sumner Walters, age 91, passed lovingly into her Lord’s waiting arms on April 29, 2020, at her home in Tupelo, Mississippi. She will forever be remembered as a loving daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. Evelyn drew her strength from her love of the Lord. Evelyn was born to Louis Samuel “Sambo” and Charity Lee “CL” Sumner on March 23, 1929. She was the oldest child of six siblings. She grew up in Tallahatchie County and graduated from Charleston High School in It was there that she met her husband, James Edgar Walters. They were married in August, 1950, and began a love that lasted 70 years. James joined the Air Force and Evelyn occupied her time with work at a telephone company. They moved to Columbus, Ohio, where their first child, Robert was born. Air Force life then led them to Bangor, Maine, where their daughter, Susan was born. Family life was good with the two children to keep them company until James was called to Vietnam. Evelyn moved back to the Mississippi Delta during his deployment to be near family. She worked at a clothing factory to make ends meet and enjoyed her time with the family she had missed while living away from home.
Upon James’ return from Vietnam, the family moved to Columbus, Mississippi, where Evelyn began volunteer work with the Red Cross and a local dental office. The family joined Caledonia Baptist Church, and Evelyn used her talents to volunteer with the children’s ministry and other church committees. The Air Force called once again requiring a move to Plattsburg, New York. Being a southern girl, Evelyn found acclimating to the north exciting. It was in New York that Evelyn began work with the Base Exchange Commissary. She remained employed there until 1973 when James was medically discharged from the Air Force. The family returned to their roots and extended family in the Mississippi Delta. They made their home in Webb, Mississippi, on the same street where her mother, C L Sumner; sister, Ruby Alexander; great grandmother, Annis Sumner; and her aunt, Margaret Breland lived. Surrounded by family, their life was sweet. After joining Cowart Baptist Church, Evelyn’s giving spirit led her to serve as a Sunday School teacher and the church clerk where she counted tithes. That same year, Evelyn began her career in banking at the Sunburst Bank in Sumner, Mississippi. Although the bank changed names several times, she retired from Regions Bank as the Head Teller in 1995. Not one to be idle and utilizing her love of flowers, Evelyn took a job at a local flower shop to fill some of her time. However, the bank called her back into service for an additional three years.
In 2005, Evelyn and James moved to Tupelo, Mississippi, to be near their daughter and her family. Although it was hard to give up life in the Delta, the reward of family and an exciting new adventure was worth it. After relocating to Tupelo, they immediately joined First Baptist Church. Evelyn and James were faithful church goers and grew in fellowship with their Sunday School class and church staff. Some of her saddest days were not being able to attend church during the pandemic.
Evelyn proudly maintained her independence until her death. She loved traveling to participate in all her loved one’s “big” events. She enjoyed visits to Memphis where she spent time with her son’s family and her siblings. She eagerly looked forward to the Sumner Family reunion each year. She loved watching her family grow and change.
Evelyn, lovingly called Mamaw, is remembered for her chocolate pie, long talks, and never forgetting a birthday. She loved her family and all their traditions. Evelyn is survived by her husband of 70 years, James Walters; her son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Sherry Walters; their children, Jennifer and Clint Isenhower, Brittany and Sean Morris, and Robert Walters, II; her great grandchildren, Addison and Hudson Isenhower, Jackson, Maggie, Haley, Cooper and Owen Morris; her daughter and son-in-law, Susan and James Rish; their children, Parker and Kaylyn Rish, Peyton Rish, and Preston Rish; and her newest great grandchild, Link Rish. She is also survived by her brothers and sisters; Marcell Pressgrove, Sue and Richard Sumner, Joy and Leon Sumner, and Patsy Woodard. and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
Evelyn never met a stranger, talked a mile a minute, loved with all her heart and soul, and no one ever left her house hungry. She had a love of reading, especially the bible, a thirst for knowledge – always cutting out articles from the newspaper she though you might like to read. Most of all she was so loved and her family was blessed to have had her in their lives
A service celebrating her life will be held at 11 AM Saturday, May 2, 2020, at the Tupelo Chapel of Holland Funeral Directors with Rev. Ricky Young officiating. Visitation will be from 10 AM until service time Saturday only at the funeral home. Friends are invited and asked to practice social distancing. A committal service will take place at 4 PM Saturday in the Magnolia Memorial Gardens at Payne, Mississippi. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory, can be made to the Building Fund at First Baptist Church, 300 North Church St., Tupelo, MS 38804. For those unable to attend, the service may be viewed at 11 AM Saturday at hollandfuneraldirectors.com/live-streaming, where it will be permanently archived.
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