1926 – 2021
Sammie Sue (Farris) Isbell of Iola, Texas, passed into eternal life with her Heavenly Father the evening of August 30, 2021. Her passing into eternity, at home with her four surviving children by her side, was a testament to the way she lived – courageous, determined, and with dignity.
Sue was born December 5, 1926, the only child of Floyd Sidney Farris and Ella Ophelia Farris. She grew up in Huntsville, Texas and graduated from Huntsville High School. As a youngster and young adult, she was an accomplished barrel racer.
Sue was a fiercely independent woman of faith and of many talents. Throughout her 94 years of life, she exhibited excellence in her many skills – gardening, cooking, sewing, crafting, and drawing. She also enjoyed fishing and hunting with her family.
Sue married W.A. Isbell in 1946 and joined him to live in his hometown of Iola. Sue and W.A. worked side-by-side raising a family of five children and working the farm. The family and farm would be their most enduring legacy. Because of their dedication to keep the family on the land, the farm would take on numerous identities - dairy cows, chickens, game birds (hunting resort), catfish, beef cattle, etc. They remained on the family farm until their children graduated from Iola High School and all five went on to college. Sue and W.A. then completed their working careers at Texas A&M University. Sue worked in the Food Services Department (Commons and Kyle Field) and was promoted through the ranks to become the first female chef at Texas A&M University.
Upon their retirement from Texas A&M University in 1986, they returned to the farm in Iola. After the death of W.A. in 1991, Sue continued to care for the land even as she battled health issues. At the age of 89, to the amazement and support of her children, Sue decided she wanted to add a herd of beef cattle to her farm. Of course, she did it and the cattle remain today under the care of her son and daughter, Andy and Karrie. Family and friends have an enduring image of Sue roaming the farm in her powerchair tending to her dogs, chickens, goats, sheep, and cattle.
Sue is preceded in death by husband, Walter Andrew Isbell, Jr.; daughter, Sandra (“Sandy”) Esta Isbell; and grandson, Zeb Smith. Survivors include children, Karrie Sue Isbell, Walter Andrew Isbell III, Verne Ray Isbell (Ellen), and Melissa Isbell Davis (Jerry); grandchildren, Caleb (Terry) Davis, Joshua (Candace) Davis, Jacob (Mindy) Davis, and Zach (Casey) Smith; and great-grandchildren, Jameson and Eloise Davis, Evan, Jenna, and Harrison Smith. Sue’s life will serve as an inspiration to her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, and friends.
Serving as pallbearers are son-in-law Jerry; grandsons Caleb, Joshua, Jacob, and Zach; Dexter Lavender, Larry Isbell, and Ray Brown.
Honorary pallbearers are Glen Isbell, Paul Isbell, Clint Isbell, Emil Soderquist, Gordon Coneley, Larry Mallett, and Dennis McWhorter.
The family welcomes your tributes and memories on Hillier Funeral Home webpage (HillierFuneralHome.com) or Facebook link.
In lieu of flowers, we encourage your donations to Cross Baptist Church, Iola Missionary Baptist Church, or Concord Cemetery Association.
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday, September 10, 2021 at Iola Missionary Baptist Church. Visitation begins at 10:00 a.m. Memorial service at 11:00 a.m. Graveside service will follow at Concord Cemetery.