‘A sweet woman’Published 9:08am Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Saturday morning at approximately 5:20, firefighters, police and emergency personnel converged on the home of Mildred Jackson Morris to help extinguish a fire that ultimately took her life. When word of her death spread through her neighborhood, Morris’ friends and family almost immediately began reminiscing about the woman many called aunt, grandmamma or even mamma – even though she had no children of her own.
Morris’ younger sister, Martha Henderson, said Morris moved to Atmore around 20 years ago following the death of her husband and quickly became known in the community as a mother figure.
“She didn’t have any children, but she would have barbecues at her house and the whole neighborhood would come and they all called her aunt, or mamma or grandmamma,” Henderson said. “She was a sweet person. She would give you the clothes off her back if you needed them.”
Family and friends on the scene of Saturday’s fire said Morris will be greatly missed.
“She was just a real sweet lady,” Morris’ nephew, Patrick Finley, said.
Carlton Johnson lives in the same neighborhood as Morris and said she was a generous woman who loved to cook for her family and neighbors.
“If she had it, you had it,” Johnson said. “She was a sweet lady and a good cook. We’re going to miss her groceries.”
“She was just very sweet and we’ll miss her,” neighbor Tameka Johnson said.
Those living in the neighborhood surrounding Morris’ home at 227 Adams St. were already in a state of mourning when the news came from Atmore Police Department on Monday that her death was believed to be a homicide, and that a local man – 40-year-old Collis McCaster - had confessed to the crime.
No details have been released as to what evidence led police to naming McCaster as a suspect, but Henderson said she did not know why anyone would harm her sister.
“I don’t know him,” she said of McCaster. “But I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt my sister. She was just a sweet woman.”
As those who knew Morris work to cope with the weekend’s shocking turn of events, Henderson and the rest of Morris’ family are preparing for her funeral, scheduled to be held Saturday in Atmore.