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February 28, 2024 - 00:00
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Annie Laverne Wallingford Etheredge, age 98, went home to be with her Lord Sunday, February 18, 2024. This date happened to be the birthday of her beloved husband, John, and we have no doubt that he was waiting with open arms for her to join him in celebration. “Bern,” as she was known to most of her family had struggled with Parkinson’s and other health issues for many years, but was never one to complain or ask, “why me?” She was continuously searching for God’s “purpose” for her still being on this earth. Of course, we all knew exactly what His reason was for keeping her here: she was a most faithful disciple, always learning from His Word and putting that Truth into practice with all those she touched. She was a remarkable person, and her influence will be felt for generations to come.

Laverne was born at home on May 8, 1925 in Hempstead, Texas to Homer DeWeese Wallingford and Annie Eleanor Cooke Wallingford. She had one younger sister, Florence Virginia also known as “Flonnie.” They spent their early childhood on a farm managed by their daddy before moving into town and starting elementary school. High School only went to the 11th grade but allowed Laverne to begin studying Homemaking which she wanted to pursue in college and later teach. She also played in the band’s drum section, was a baton twirler, a yell leader and acted in the Senior Play. Laverne excelled in her homemaking classes and was selected to be a delegate at the State of Texas Homemaking Convention in Galveston. Laverne went on to attend Sam Houston State Teachers College where she was President of the Pennabacker Club and a member of the Philopmathean Literary Society.

After graduation, she started teaching homemaking in Navasota, Texas and met and married her first husband, William Stephen (Steve) Moore, Jr. on June 9, 1946. On March 14, 1949, they welcomed daughter Ruth Ann followed by Marilyn on December 8, 1950. These early family years, Laverne was involved in the P.T.A., taught Sunday School & Vacation Bible School and sang in the church choir. She also participated in all of the girls’ activities including Blue Birds and piano and dancing lessons, all the while making their clothes and costumes herself! During her marriage to Steve, they “inherited” an old ancestral colonial home on the outskirts of Navasota which Laverne lovingly restored. Following a fire and a second restoration, she opened and ran a pre-school for a while in the space above the garage.

Laverne lost her father in a truck accident in 1993, and divorced Steve in early 1965. She met John Wallace Etheredge through her friend who was his sister. They were married on July 24, 1965 and Laverne became “Mother” to his six children: Iris Susan, Linda Lucille, John Wallace Jr., James Walter, Joseph William, and Mary Alice. All but John’s oldest lived in John’s Mt. Pleasant, Texas house for two years before moving to Waco, Texas. Eventually, after all children had graduated, Laverne and John moved to Lake Livingston where they both worked and spent many hours fishing.

Laverne lost her mother in 1984, but for many of the coming years, she and John basically just enjoyed each other, their kids and grandkids, deep-sea fishing, traveling and cruising. A trip to Ephesus prompted her to sing “Jesus Loves Me” among the ruins. During this time, they also became the ultimate volunteers. They started a Christmas Basket Program, which led to food pantries, which, eventually led to them helping open The Good Samaritan House. In the 22 years Laverne and John operated it, Good Sam generated over $100,000 for food, medicine, clothing and school supplies. Both Laverne and John were named Volunteer of the Year for their work here.

In 2008, Laverne and John “retired” and moved to a retirement community in Victoria, Texas. John died on April 30, 2013, and Laverne remained active in her church and her community up until the time of her death.

She was preceded in death by both parents, husband John Etheredge, brother-in-law Shorty Hughes and sons-in-law Chuck Hamilton and Ken Perkins.

Laverne is survived by sister Florence Hughes; daughters, Ruth Ann Moore Perkins and Marilyn Moore Thomas and husband, Dan; stepchildren, Suzi Etheredge; Linda Plate and husband, David; John Etheredge and wife, Candy; Jimmy Etheredge and wife, Carrie; Joe Etheredge; and Mary Alice Etheredge and husband, John McVey. She is also survived by many grandchildren, great grandchildren and even three great, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins and many more who she considered “family”.

The family would like to thank Kristina Mascorro for loving and caring for Bern, and the countless others who filled her life with joy and gave her purpose.

In lieu of flowers, please support: The Good Samaritan House % Steve Richardson, 33 Westpoint Drive, Trinity, Texas 75862 (281)743-1677 Visitation was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Monday, February 26, 2024, at Rosewood Funeral Home, 3304 Mockingbird Ln., Victoria, Texas with services immediately following at 2:30 p.m. There will be a private interment in Hempstead, Texas.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven.”

Matthew 5:16 And, up until she took her last breath, her light was still shining…..