Rebekah Barnhardt Kirkman Pritchett

Published 3:16 pm Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite educator, artist, award-winning poet and creative spirit, Rebekah Barnhardt Kirkman Pritchett, 85, of Thomaston, Alabama, passed away Oct. 12 in the Vaughan Regional Medical Center in Selma.

A memorial service was held at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct.18 at the Thomaston United Methodist Church in Thomaston with the Reverend Dunford C. Cole and the Reverend Randall Mims officiating.

A native of Pleasant Garden in N.C. Becky, as she was called by family, friends and grandchildren, was the daughter of the late Bernard Worth and Kate Hunt Kirkman of Pleasant Garden.

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A graduate of Pleasant Garden High School at age 16, she attended Greensboro College in Greensboro, N.C. and received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Judson College in Marion and then a Master’s degree in English from Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama.

During World War II, her college roommate introduced Becky to the well-mannered Second Lieutenant, James E. Pritchett, a fellow Alabamian temporarily stationed in Greensboro before deployment to England. She and Jim were married Aug. 25, 1945.

Becky was on the faculty at Linden High School, and most recently retired from Marengo Academy in Linden, where she taught English, speech, art, drama, and Spanish. Becky brought excitement to teaching, encouragement to students and a creative approach that made the mundane interesting. She had a way of capturing children’s imaginations, taking them to see a real wardrobe as they read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, and entertaining her students when they found her on the classroom floor “sizzling and popping,” acting like bacon in the frying pan.

Becky brought interesting perspectives and creativity to most every endeavor, whether trained for it or not. She created a warm and welcoming home, designed wedding cakes, and devised a magical Cinderella party complete with a real fairy godmother for a daughter’s birthday. Once she added red ribbons and a red nail polish flower to a coffee cream container to hang on a balcony in New Mexico. It instantly attracted the tiny and beautiful hummingbirds she loved, and set an example for her family and friends that a positive attitude and indomitable spirit could get you through most any situation and make anything possible. For Becky, nothing was ever too much trouble if it put someone at ease, made someone happy or brought a smile of delight to a somber countenance.

She was a past board member of the Alabama Rural Heritage Society in Thomaston and the Marengo County Historical Society in Demopolis. She was a long-time member of the Thomaston United Methodist Church, the Study Club in Linden and past president of Delta Kappa Gamma-Upsilon chapter, a professional honorary society of women educators.

She is survived by her loving husband of sixty-seven years, James Evant Pritchett, Sr., five children, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, four siblings and delighted in being “Aunt Becky” to over two-dozen nieces and nephews.

Children are James E., Jr. and Paula Pritchett of Foley, Amy Worth Pritchett of Jacksonville, Fla., Anna Gould Pritchett and Donald Gordon of Trussville, Lora Hunt Pritchett and Randall Holcombe of Tallahassee, Fla. and David Kirkman Pritchett of Thomaston.

Grandchildren are Amy Kathryn Pritchett and John Nunnally of Broomfield, Colo., Daniel James and Chandler Pritchett of Memphis, Tenn., Jessica Leigh Smith and Andy Wilkerson of Huntsville, Lora Katherine Smith of Jacksonville, Fla., James William Smith of Montgomery, Ross Bradford Holcombe of Spokane, Wash., Mark Randall Holcombe and Connor James Holcombe of Tallahassee, Fla.

Great-grandchildren are Sarah Kathryn Nunnally, Rachel Elizabeth Nunnally, Michael Graeme Nunnally, Leila Lane Pritchett, Abigail Grace Wilkerson, and Riley Olivia Wilkerson.

Siblings are Mary Moling Kirkman Holdsambeck and the late Herbert H. Holdsambeck of Huntsville, David Clifton and Betty Kirkman of Greensboro, N.C., Anna Mendenhall Kirkman Smillie and the late David Smillie of Durham, N.C., and Jane Baker Kirkman Smith of Greensboro, N.C.

Memorial contributions may be made to Marengo County Public Library, Children’s Memorial Book Fund-Rebekah K. Pritchett, 210 N. Shiloh Street, Linden, AL 36748, Joyce Morgan, 334-295-2246,, and to Delta Kappa Gamma-Upsilon Chapter, Rebekah K. Pritchett Memorial Scholarship, Attn: Leigh Griffith, Treasurer, 402 W. 5th Avenue, Linden AL 36748.