On Sunday, August 1, 1948, Elfreda walked from N. Cedar Street to City Hospital in Mobile, Alabama to give birth to her baby girl, Lois Arletta.
Elfreda’s daughter would live with Mama & Papa, siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles in Coy, AL. They called Lois, “Duck.” Lois attended primer school and went to Pine Flat Missionary Baptist Church. Many tell the story of when they climbed the tree and “Duck” fell, how her sister, Jack, carried her across the water, and how Preacher (Adam Odom) drove. Lois told her children the story about “Mama” wrapping her in huge leaves and praying over her. Her world changed in 1960 when a train collided with a school bus taking the lives of her sister, Jack, and 5 other children.
Lois attended Ella Grant Elementary School and her beloved Blount High School. She joined and was baptized at Holmes Street Missionary Baptist Church where Mr. Willie Harris would be her Deacon and Reverend Hatcher her pastor. Lois attended Carver Training School to become a cosmetologist. Twenty-year-old Lois McCants married Robert Martin, Sr. Thursday, June 19, 1969, at Holmes Street.
That fall she would lose her Ma’dear, Elfreda.
While her husband was on the war front of Vietnam, Lois lived and worked in Prichard, AL. Lois repaired TVs and electronics, she did hair, she was a photographer, artist, made dolls and clothes, and attended church and visited with family. Lois and her entire family remained close.
Over the next few decades, Lois would travel to duty stations across the US and Europe including Georgia, Colorado, California, Germany, and back to Georgia. Lois was civically engaged, just like her mother, and enjoyed each new city and country. Always calm and soft spoken. She worked various jobs and was a volunteer and an entrepreneur. Lois was a Boy Scouts Den Leader and active member of the PTA/PTO making sure that everyone knew that parents were indeed teachers, too. She was recognized as School Volunteer of the Year for the NATO region of Europe and was featured in the Stars & Stripes Newspaper in the late 1980s. Lois made friends everywhere she went while supporting her growing family. She explored castles in Germany, visited museums in Paris, even got stung by a bee while buying crystal in Yugoslavia.
While in Georgia, Lois worked in a local nursing home and at Hancock Fabrics. She studied photography and medical assisting at Clayton State University. Lois would visit family as often as she could and travel, work, and volunteer. She played tennis with her children and grandnieces, Heather and Chasmin. Lois had a remarkable ability to love unconditionally. She was very caring, encouraging, and supportive of so many. She would celebrate milestones and accomplishments of those around her. She organized and coordinated events and participated in walks and fundraisers.
Lois told the story of her mother, Elfreda L. McCants Jenkins, and her father, Horace Wyckoff; her grandparents: John Wesley (Papa) & Susie (Mama) McCants; her ex-husband Robert Martin, Sr; her sisters: Jacqueline “Jack” McCants, Susie Kennedy, Mary McQueen (OH); her nieces: Julia Gardner and Sonja Johnson; her grandnephews: Alvin Davis, Jr. (NV), Keoni Johnson (AL), and Kansas Bright (GA); her aunts and uncles; her cousins: Jean Knowles, Clarence McCants, Wilbert McCants; Close Friends: Mary Patterson (CO), Lelia Southall and Rose Wiggins of AL.
After surviving an aortic dissection in 2018, the following 4 years, 3 months, 27 days were a blessing. Our Mom, Lois was strong enough to return to attend her beloved Holmes Street, celebrations, and reunions. She was able to meet more family and host a few more Christmas Dinners. She was able to successfully coordinate the pandemic-rescheduled 2020 McCants Packer Bell Family Reunion in 2022 at the Gulf Quest Museum of Mobile. She made a heroical journey 118 days following her September 8, 2022, AVR/MVR surgery. Mom was recovering, walking the hallways, ready to go home. She told her sons about everything that would happen to her. We knew the source of her courage and strength. God made a way for her family to be with her and for her son, Robert II, and her sister, Meryl, to be by her side as she exchanged her Earthly life for her Eternal life on Wednesday, January 4, 2023, at 11:46 am.
She will be missed.
Lois leaves to tell her story: her three devoted children: Kesia T. Martin, Robert J. Martin II, and Shane Corey Martin; her devoted siblings: Doris Robinson (IN), Robert (Beatrice) Wyckoff (AL), Alexander McCants (IN), Joel Jenkins (IL), and Meryl Jenkins (IN); her devoted nieces & nephews & their families: Anthony (Felesia), Lebarron, Jacqueline, W. Edward (Rosalyn), Henry (Martha), Mae (James), John (Nicole), Carolyn (Hugh), Michael, Shanta (Greg), Jonnie (Tim), Marlena, Toya, Terry (Jequinya), Sherry, Alleceia; her uncle in law: Rev. Amos Powell, her God Children & their families: Waddell Wiggins (AL), Stephanie (Reginale) Gray (CO); her cousins: Paul (Augustine) and Brenda, Theresa and Gayle, Diane, Kim, Shirley, Maxine, Terry, William, Douglas, Mary Ruth, Johnny Dean, Rodney, Larry, Ernestine, Roscoe, Phillip, Mylek, Helen, Otha, Elaine, Fredrick, Johnny, Bessie, Ephraim, Teresa, Valerie, Clifford, Gloria, August, Joyce, Carolyn, Heather, Kimba (Dametrius), Otha (Vanessa), Woodrow, Jr. (Andretta), Roy (Jeannette), Wanda (Bryan), Natashia (Elywn), Angela (Mike), Victor (Pat), Karen (Kevin), Bertrand, Theadoria, Raymond, Lorenzo, Caroline, Amy, Tempe, Dorothy, Linda, Josephine, Burnette, Glenda Kay, Catherine, Mary Francis, Arthur, Jacqueline, Richard, Samuel; her “bonus” family: Rev. Carl (Joyce) Martin, Andrea (Melba) Martin, Garrie (Yvette) Martin, Carl (Carolyn) Kennedy, Clementine Freeman (AL), Mary Ellis (NY), and Inez Jenkins of (D.C.); her close friends: Audra Ezell, Mary Brown Williams (AL); her Holmes Street Missionary Baptist Church family; YOU.