At the age of 105 years, Edith Kitchens of Crystal Springs died peacefully at her home on November 4, 2019. The funeral service for Mrs. Kitchens was conducted at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, 300 South Jackson Street, on Wednesday, November 6, 2019, at 11:00 o’clock a.m. The Pastor, Reverend Christopher Teasley, and the Pastor Emeritus, Reverend Joel E. Haire, officiated. Stringer Family Funeral Services in Crystal Springs handled arrangements.
Born in her parents’ home in Vaiden, Mississippi, on July 24, 1914, Edith Eleanor Fullilove was the eldest child of James Greer (Jimmie) Fullilove and Mary Eleanor Wright Fullilove. She survived her parents and all of her siblings: Mary Rae Fullilove Graves, James Wright (Sonny) Fullilove, and Ann Fullilove Delcuze.
She was educated in the Vaiden public school, where she worked as an elementary school teacher in the 1930s, and at Blue Mountain College, the University of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. While taking summer classes at Mississippi State in 1938 she met her future husband, Lloyd Wade Kitchens of Crystal Springs. Edith and Lloyd Kitchens wed on November 8, 1939, and remained happily married until his death in 1976. At the time of his demise Mr. Kitchens was Mayor of Crystal Springs, an office to which he was elected several times after lengthy service as a member of the Crystal Springs Board of Aldermen. Mrs. Kitchens served briefly as Crystal Springs Mayor after her husband died in office.
Edith and Lloyd Kitchens were the parents of three sons: James Warren (Jim) Kitchens, of Crystal Springs, Lloyd Wade Kitchens, Jr., M. D., of Dallas, Texas (deceased), and Richard Wright (Dick) Kitchens, of Huntsville, Alabama. Their thirteen grandchildren are: Suzannah Kitchens, Roy Karl Kitchens (deceased), Matthew Warren Kitchens, Daniel Wesley Kitchens, Rebecca Kitchens Thornton, John Wimberly Kitchens, Elizabeth Kitchens Landers, Lloyd Wade Kitchens, III, Benjamin Lee Kitchens, M. D. Brandon William Kitchens, Mary Edith Kitchens (deceased), Katherine Kitchens Ham, and Christopher L. Moore. Edith and Lloyd Kitchens’s daughters-in-law are Mary T. Kitchens of Crystal Springs, Connie Colt Kitchens of Dallas, Texas, and Anne M. Kitchens of Huntsville, Alabama. In addition, Mr. and Mrs. Kitchens had twenty-one great-grandchildren.
None would dispute that Edith Kitchens made a positive and lasting difference on Planet Earth. From early childhood she was a faithful and devoted follower of Christ and influenced many others to do likewise. Prior to uniting with First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs in early 1940 she was an active member of Vaiden Baptist Church, where she began playing the piano for services at the age of twelve.
At her beloved church in Crystal Springs, she was a full-time musician for more than forty years, playing both piano and organ. In addition to providing beautiful music during church services, she played for hundreds of weddings and funerals, and filled in as a musician at numerous churches of various denominations. A superb piano teacher for many decades, she taught countless people to play the instrument that was such an important part of her long life, retiring from full-time teaching at age 99, due to failing eyesight and hearing. She was a longtime, and still active, member of the MacDowell Music Club of Crystal Springs, as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mississippi Genealogical Society, and the Colonial Dames of America. A staunch Democrat throughout her adult life, she voted in every election and instilled in her children, grandchildren, and many others a love of God, a love of music, a love of Mississippi, and a love of the United States of America.
Among many other honors bestowed upon her, in 2011, she was named Mississippi’s Senior Citizen of the Year by the state’s Department of Human Services. In recent years she has remained as active as her declining physical health would permit, and never ceased amazing those around her with her keen mind and phenomenal memory. Above all, she remained faithful in attendance at Sunday School and church services, and true to her faith.
The Kitchens family is profoundly grateful to James Ervin, M. D., his staff, the home-health nurses, her faithful in-house care givers, Mrs. Helen Sandifer, Mrs. Christine Shannon, and countless others who have enabled her to spend her declining years in her favorite earthly place, her home in Crystal Springs.
Mrs. Kitchens was a strong and consistent supporter of Mississippi’s Toughest Kids Foundation and its construction of Camp Kamassa, which will provide Mississippi’s only fully accessible camping facility for children and adults with disabilities and serious illnesses. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to MTK Foundation, Box 520, Crystal Springs, Mississippi 39059, in memory of Edith Kitchens.