On the afternoon of Friday, August 12th, with her daughters by her side Thelma was ushered into the gates of Heaven as a decorated soldier of the cross. Thelma is lovingly best known as “Little Nana.” And while small in stature, she was a giant in the Christian faith, loving big and serving faithfully in the Army of God right up until the end. While in her later years Parkinson’s Disease had taken away her independence, she never lost her desire to help and serve others. “Little Nana” had many hobbies, all of which she did to the glory of God. Her favorite hobby and one of the greatest blessings was one that she started as a result of therapy for the pain caused by Parkinson’s. She made countless beautiful floral arrangements that she would deliver to the nursing homes and shut-ins of the Zion Hill and Cane River communities. She delivered those arrangements with a sweet smile and loving touch that brightened the days of all those who received them.
While her first and greatest love in her life was God, her Heavenly Father. She adored her family; children, grandchildren and in the later years, her great grandchildren who were the light of her life and she said that they were her special gifts from God. She was a wonderful baker and cook who made The Best fried chicken but it was the Bread of Life that “Little Nana” shared with her family that she was most proud of. She taught all her children and grandchildren to read as well as the importance of knowing and loving Jesus as their own personal Savior. She was a prayer warrior for her family and loved making sure they all knew that she prayed for them each and every day.
After 48 years of service she retired from Coats North America, known then as “American Thread Co.” Thelma was a lifelong member of Zion Hill Baptist Church where she taught the Primary Sunday School class for many years. And after her grandson Matt became Pastor of Cane River Baptist Church “Little Nana” made the trip to Burnsville in support of him, where she made many wonderful friends and left a lasting legacy of worship like none other with her signature “thumbs up.”
Remaining here to cherish her memory are two daughters; Cindy Mills, husband Buddy; and Kathy Ramsey, husband Terry, both of Marion. Her grandchildren Mandy Edwards (Crandall), Matt Mills (Jessica) of Marion and Austin Ramsey of Charlotte and great grandchildren, Abby Edwards and Callen Mills. In addition to her late husband John Trent and parents W.F. and Lizzie Austin, she is preceded in death by her siblings; Margie Shell, Virgie LeQuire, Lee Austin and Van Austin, and survived by one sibling, Dorothy Frazier. Thelma was a friend to everyone she met but had several special friends whom she loved dearly; Carolyn Kuykendall, Syble Bray, Vicki Blake, Linda Transou, and her dear roommate, Geneva Johnson, who went to be with the Lord a few months ago.
A special thank you for the care and love showed to her by all the doctors, nurses, and staff at Mountain Ridge Health and Rehab. She loved each of you.
The family will have a private service celebrating the life and legacy of “Little Nana” officiated by her grandson Pastor Matt Mills, Dr. Tom Walker and Reverend Leo Kuykendall. Beam Funeral Service is graciously serving the family during this time and is receiving flowers on their behalf.
You will be greatly missed “Little Nana.” You were our rock, our example in life and a peacemaker. Your family will forever love and miss you.