Ms. Nina Bell French, age 99 of Sanford, North Carolina, transitioned into eternal rest Monday, February 15, 2021, at Sanford Health and Rehabilitation Center, Sanford, NC.
Nina Bell Thomas French was born July 28, 1921 in Sanford NC to John and Alberta Reaves Thomas. At 99 years of age she transitioned from her earthly home at Sanford Health & Rehabilitation to her heavenly home on Monday February 15, 2021. She was the fourth of five children who all preceded her in death (brother, Theodore Thomas, sisters, Catherine Brown, Helen Williams, and Nelzie Toomer). She was also preceded in death by two grandsons, Derrick and Orlando (Landy) French.
She attended school in the old Artannie Taylor home which was a school house at the time. Even though she never received a traditional education she was a wise woman.
She was married to the late Thomas French and from this union five children were born. She raised her five children through their teenage years until adult hood. With a limited education herself, relying on wisdom from God, she taught her children well. Although she could not afford to send them to college, they all strived to achieve on their own and became productive citizens to society.
She worked as a domestic worker for Cooks Poultry and on days that she was not working at Cooks Poultry, she worked as a maid for prominent white families in the Moncure and Deep River area. She also baby sit their children and grandchildren.
She knew what it meant to live off the land. Canning vegetables from the gardens, fruit from the trees, jelly from the vines, raising chickens on the yard, eggs from the hen nest, ham and pork chops from the hogs that were raised, fish from the rivers and ponds, and rabbits and squirrel from the woods.
She was a faithful member of Ward Memorial Church until her health declined. When she was able to go she would be one of the first at church every Sunday morning dressed from head to toe! She took pride in having a perfect attendance in Sunday School. She served for years as the Adult Bible Class Secretary, a Deaconess, a Missionary, and Usher.
She was a very good cook, famous for her sweet potato pies, lemon pies, banana puddings, and chicken stew. She was a very independent woman and she lived at home by herself, and took care of herself with the help of family and Health care Aids until the age of 97. When she was asked what are you doing she would often say “nothing but pressing the chair bottom” with her puzzle book and a 'chew' in her mouth!
She leaves to cherish her memories: daughters, Marie Cross of Bear Creek; Sarah Richardson, Sanford NC; sons, Thomas French (Evelyn) Fayetteville, NC; James French (Gloria) Sanford, NC; Julian French, Durham NC; 10 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
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