Lillian Butler Wood

Monday, June 19, 2017

Lillian Butler Wood was born October 12, 1921, and died June 17, 2017. Throughout her life she was known by most people as a great cook, by a few people as a gifted teller of old family stories, by her children as a selfless and loving parent and by all who knew her as an optimistic, gentle, unassuming example of what a good human being might aspire to be. Many would say she had a hard life, though she never saw it that way. She was always grateful for what she had--especially her family and her health--and always counted her blessings when she saw others in need.

The first half of her life was spent in Clay County, Ark., in the “suburbs” of Piggott, where she loved to reminisce about her beloved Grandpa Grissom taking her to town in a wagon and Grandma Grissom assigning her the task of churning butter. Her favorite stories involved her father-in-law, the most loving man she’d ever known--who cherished his grandkids and went to all lengths to entertain them. She also loved to tell of the birth of her oldest son, Larry, who was delivered at home, and how they paid the doctor with a ham they had recently cured.

The second half of her life was spent in Jonesboro, Ark., where she and Guy moved when their oldest daughter, Rhonda, was ready to go to college at ASU. She and Guy managed restaurants until they decided to buy the Tip Top Cafe, which they ran until Guy decided it was time to retire when they were both in their 60s.

After sitting at home for a couple of months Lillian knew that retirement was not for her, as she returned to work managing various kitchens, and sealed her reputation as the best cook in the area. Her kids were able to talk her into semi-retirement at age 75, but she worked two days a week, making chicken and dumplings and peach cobblers at Western Sizzlin, until she finally decided to accept daughter Teresa’s offer to move in with her at age 89.

Lillian died peacefully in the home of her beloved daughter and son-in-law, James and Teresa Reece, where she lived the last seven years of her life enjoying the view from her screened-in back porch. The view included her numerous flowers, the hummingbird feeders that attracted her favorite birds, an old barn and cattle in a field that reminded her of her early roots in Clay County, and great-grandchildren whom she adored and who cherished her.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Guy Wood, in 1987, and a son, Randall. She is survived by her son, Larry (Peggy) Wood; her daughters, Rhonda (Jerry) Seidenwurm, Teresa (James) Reece and Connie (Tom) Cromwell, to both mourn her passing and celebrate her life. She will also be remembered with love and laughter by seven grand children, Mike, Alan, Randy, Beth, Becky, Matt and Olivia; her great grand children; six brothers and sisters; special friend Shirley Laster, and an assortment of others who were blessed by her life.

Funeral Services will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, June 20, in the Irby Funeral Home Chapel in Piggott. Burial will follow in the Piggott Cemetery. A visitation will be held beginning at 11:30 a.m., and continue until the time of the service, Tuesday at the funeral home. Irby Funeral Home, of Piggott, is in charge of the arrangements.

Those who wish may send condolences to the family by signing the online guest book at www.irbyfuneralhome.com or by visiting the funeral home's Facebook page.