Emily's Story

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Services for Emily Stafford Matheny will begin Friday, July 28th at 11:00 a.m. at Central United Methodist Church in Meridian, Mississippi. Visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. prior to services with Robert Barham Family Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. Officiating minister will be Reverend Michael Hicks of Brandon, assisted by Reverend Jimmy Harrison of Meridian. Interment will follow at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Mississippi at 3:30 p.m.
Mrs. Matheny passed away on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017, at Bedford Care Center in Marion, Mississippi.
Emily Matheny was born December 7, 1921, in Cary, Mississippi. Upon graduating from Cary High School, she attended Mississippi State College for Women before earning her education degree from Mississippi Southern. As a young woman, Emily felt a strong calling to be a Methodist ministers wife, and in 1941 married Reverend Robert M. Matheny. Together they served many Methodist churches in the state of Mississippi, including those in or near Hattiesburg, Richton, Jackson, and Meridian, as well as serving Montrose Methodist Church in Terre Haute, Indiana, during the time when the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches merged to become the United Methodist Church. In addition, Rev. Matheny was Superintendent of both the East Jackson and Meridian Districts of the Mississippi Conference. Mrs. Matheny served as his secretary for the Meridian District.
Emily was a member of the Womens Society of Christian Service (later known as United Methodist Women) and various womens church circles and Sunday School classes. She was a member of the Mississippi Conference UMW executive committee for nine years, including a term as president, and led a number of Spiritual Growth Studies and retreats. She served as a lay delegate to the 1980 General and Jurisdictional Conferences of the United Methodist Church. She loved music, playing the piano and participating in church choirs for many years. She was a founding member of the Meridian Symphony Orchestra, where she played violin. She was a member and officer of PEO, an international philanthropic organization, and participated in numerous garden and book clubs, and Bible Study groups.
Emily is predeceased by her husband, Reverend Robert Matheny, her father, Dr. James Polk Stafford, Sr., her mother, Etoile Smith Stafford, and her brother, James Polk Stafford, Jr.
She is survived by her children and their spouses, Dr. Elise Matheny Shoemaker Eslinger and husband, Dr. Richard Eslinger of Townsend, Tennessee; Dr. Robert Mark Matheny and wife, Reverend Emily Smith Matheny, of Memphis, Tennessee; Cynthia Matheny Brooks and her husband, Phillip Brooks of Meridian, Mississippi; and Reverend James Minor Matheny of Carthage, Mississippi. Surviving grandchildren are Dr. David Shoemaker, Catherine Shoemaker Gunderson, Cris Catolster, Michael Brooks, Justin Matheny, Jason Brooks, Reverend Claire Matheny, Sarah Matheny Gordon, and Benjamin Matheny. She was also blessed with eleven great-grandchildren
Memorials may be made to Methodist Senior Services or Mississippi Conference United Methodist Women.
Published on July 24, 2017
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