JUANITA FLOYD: A virtuous woman moves both family and community

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her… She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life…

While sitting in the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church celebrating the life and homegoing of Mrs. Beth Brevard, one Minister used King Solomon’s words to describe her. The Minister said, “Beth was actively involved in church; a tireless worker for good causes in Tupelo and Lee County to improve the lives of those in need; a devoted wife and mother; and, she had such a beautiful smile.” He talked about the sanctity of their marriage – how she devoted the first 62 years of marriage to her husband, Henry, and how he devoted the last 5 years taking care of her during her illness. What a virtuous woman!

I had the opportunity to serve on the Traceway Board with Mrs. Brevard. One thing that always impressed me – she never left the meeting without personally speaking to me. She always had a hug and a smile and she took time to inquire about my children.

Solomon continued his description of a virtuous woman, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Her husband is respected and known at the city gate. Her children arise and call her blessed. Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Solomon ended by saying, “Give her the reward she has earned and let her works bring her praise.”

Another presiding minister stated, “In describing his mother, her son, David, said, ‘I had the perfect mother. I wish every son could say those words.’” As I pondered over those words, I thought about the positive attributes Mrs. Brevard had to have instilled in her children.

Reflecting on that thought, I recalled many years ago when my mother attended a local business function with me. In walks David – he could have chosen to sit with his own peers and colleagues, yet he asked if he could join us at our table. My mother was so pleased to be sitting with David Brevard! I vividly recall her words after the event, “I have known about the company, B & B Concrete. I didn’t ever think I’d get to meet the owner, let alone sit at the dinner table with him.” Mama lived in an era where she had to go through the back door of white people’s homes – so for her, this was “something.”

The word “something” was a powerful word in our house. Aunts Marie and Octavia (deceased) taught us the importance of the word “something”. Twenty years ago, their church organization’s members from all over the world attended a conference in Tupelo. Five of the Head Bishops were invited by our cousin, Preston, to come to Mama’s house for dinner. The Aunts told us that to have all those Bishops grace Mama’s home with their presence was “something!” So, Mama used that word with reverence and awe when it was an important occasion. David treated my mother with such dignity and respect. I immediately recognize this was an attribute taught and acquired from his beautiful mother.

I met David over 28 years ago in my position with CREATE Foundation. I can attest to the fact that from that day – up until greeting him at his mother’s visitation, not one time, regardless of the setting we were in, has he ignored or not spoken to me; not one time has he not inquired about my children; not one time has he not treated me with dignity and respect. Another attribute acquired from his mother. Amazingly, I see Ms. Beth’s and Mr. Henry’s works, not only in David’s life, but also in his wife, Shawn, and their beautiful children, Stewart and Lizzie.

I understand why David described Mrs. Brevard as the perfect mother. Her contributions to God and people have spoken for her and certainly brought her praise. At the end of your life, as a woman, wife and mother, will your works bring you praise? You be the judge.

JUANITA GAMBRELL FLOYD is vice president for Finance and Administration at CREATE Foundation. Contect her at juanita@createfoundation.com.