Annie Mildred Fancher was a home economics teacher

Published 3:14 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2006

By Staff
Senior Living
(This week The Atmore Advance spotlights 86-year-old Annie Mildred Fancher She is a retired home economics teacher.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born on Oct. 14, 1920 in Warren County in Vicksburg, Miss.
I was born at home and was named after my two grandmothers Annie and Mildred.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: My father was Edward B. Cotton and my mother was Julia Augusta Foster. They were both from Vicksburg.
Q: Did you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I had five brothers and no sisters. I was the next to the youngest child in the family.
In those days, I had a lot of shirts to iron. My brothers wore white long sleeve shirts in those days that had to be pressed.
I only have one brother living. He is the youngest and lives in Vicksburg, Miss.
We talk on the phone sometimes several times a day. He can't get out much so we stay in contact over the phone and entertain each other.
It is kind of neat because I was the only girl with five brothers and my husband was the only boy in his family with five sisters.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I went to grammar school at Warren Junior High School and then to Carr Central High School where I graduated in 1939.
My favorite time of the day was when we practiced basketball in gym class. I enjoyed basketball very much but was never good enough to make the team.
My favorite subject in grammar school was geography and in high school I loved home economics.
I liked music a lot as well. I was the drum major of our high school band for three years.
I played the bassoon in concert. After I graduated I went to college at Hines Junior College on a band scholarship.
I moved to live in the dormitories at the school which was in Raymond, Va.
I majored in home economics and graduated in 1942. Then I went on another band scholarship to the University of Southern Miss where I was once again the drum major for the band.
I graduated with my BS and a Master's degree from there.
Q: How did you travel when you were younger?
A: We went to grammar school in a private touring car. It was a local family's private vehicle and they turned it into a bus for some of the local children.
My father worked for the railroad, so he had to have a car for work.
I bought my first vehicle, a Dodge, at Blackmon Motor Co. in Vicksburg, Miss. when I was 22.
Q: Did you work after you got out of school?
A: When I completed college I went to work in Mississippi as a home economics teacher.
My first job was at Horn Lake, Miss and then on to East Neshoba School near in Neshoba County.
I taught the high school students in home economics.
After I got married and moved to Atmore, I taught at Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill, Fla., until I retired in 1978.
I later did a little substitute teaching some time after that.
Q: Did you ever marry?
A: Yes, I married Mr. Fancher. He was the basketball coach at East Neshoba and I met him at our first faculty meeting.
I was interested right away. He was a very knowledgeable and friendly gentleman.
We met in September and married on Dec. 27, 1949.
We got married at Mississippi College in Clinton. That is where Fancher went to college and he knew a preacher and professor there.
We have been together for 57 years now.
Q: Do you have any children or grandchildren?
A: We have one girl and two boys. Our daughter, Julianna lives here in Atmore and our son Bill lives in Lake Forest with his wife Laura and their children.
He is a machinist and Julianna is a retired school teacher of 34 years.
Our other son, Edward passed away several years ago. He was in the Air Force and was working with Southern Bell in Pensacola, Fla.
We have five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. We get to see our great granddaughter at least once a week when she comes to stay with her grandmother, our daughter.
Q. Where do you attend church?
A. We have been members of First Baptist Church of Atmore since we moved here in the 50's.
We have both served on different committees in the church, but have never sung in the choir.
I always thought that it would be the greatest thing to be able to sing, but I just don 't have a singing voice.
Q: What keeps you busy these days?
A: I do a lot of crafts and sew a good bit. I make aprons, quilts, crochet afghan and shawls.
I don't sew as much clothing items as I did before though. I used to make clothes for our children and my mother-in-law until she passed away.
I make cards for the patients at Atmore Community Hospital. I send them by a member of my Sunday school class and she sees that all the patients get one on their food tray.
My daughter buys me all kinds of neat little crafts to put on them and then I always write a message.
I do them for holidays and then for no occasion at all. I want them to have a card at least three times a month or so.
These cards help their spirits a lot when they are low and want to go home and can 't. It is hard for people who are in the hospital. A lot of the patients don't have anyone to come visit with them so I want to do what I can to help lift their spirits.
Usually if I am not making a card, I am at least thinking about it.
I also collect stuffed animals and sweaters year round to deliver to the residents of the Atmore Nursing Center.
I make a couple of trips a year to the We Care store and buy up a bunch and deliver them to the nursing home.
Q. Have you traveled much?
A. Some. I have been to South Dakota to the Black Hills, Denver, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, New York, Chicago, The Grand Canyon and Mexico.
I've had enough traveling in my time. I'm satisfied to stay right here in Atmore now.
Q. What's your favorite television show?
A. Martha Stewart. I love all of her craft ideas. I also like the "Price is Right", "Wheel of Fortune" and the news.
Q.What advice do you give people to stay healthy?
A: .You have to eat right and quit munching on hamburgers, hot dogs. pizza and french fries.
I think some people are really going to suffer when they get older from eating all that mess and they don't eat healthy foods.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact Janet Little Cooper at 368-2123 or e-mail her at

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