The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now. ---Rick Warren
If you knew Jane “Pookie” Ferrell, you know that she let love guide her life. She was the most generous and caring wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. We are saddened that she left this world, quite suddenly, on July 13, 2021 at the age of 83. Pookie was loved by so many and we celebrate the many blessings she bestowed.
Jane was born to Henry “Frank” Flythe and Elsie Jones Flythe on December 29, 1937 in Burlington, North Carolina. Being the only girl of their five children, her Daddy spoiled her and decided early on that he would call her “Pookie”. It stuck and many knew her ONLY by that name. After graduating high school, she married the love of her life, James “Jimmy” Ferrell. They continued to live in Graham where they owned and operated Ferrell Manufacturing, Inc. and raised their two children, James “Jay” Ferrell, Jr. and Nancy Jayne Ferrell. Pookie also attended Elon College and worked at Graham Savings and Loan until her children were born.
Jane was well known among family and friends for her delicious meals. She was most famous for her Pookie’s Pound Cake whether eaten for dessert or for breakfast. As a matter of fact, her granddaughter once said, “I thought EVERYONE had toasted pound cake for breakfast”. She used her extraordinary cooking skills to express love for her family, preparing meals for weekly gatherings right up until just a few weeks before she passed away. She was always dressed “to the nines” in the kitchen, sometimes even wearing high heels…just in case someone arrived early. Jane was also an avid “shag” dancer. She had a very special group of friends that gathered weekly to dance and have a ball! She developed her love for beach music and dancing as a teenager during visits to Myrtle Beach. “The Beach” became her favorite place. She spent a lot of time there with her family and friends, going to fun dance spots like 2001 and Fat Harold’s. Later in life, she loved being there with her brothers, Sonny, Colon, Jim and E.P., where they could often be found dancing on the beach as the sun went down. The music may have stopped but will forever echo. Something beautiful remains in our lives and hearts because of her.
Jane touched many lives in lasting and eternal ways. Her spiritual gifts of love, kindness, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness were expressed through the most special hospitality and care she selflessly gave to so many. She lived a life that gave evidence to her strong faith in God. Her understanding of grace was supreme…it was her signature move to love with no regard for race, belief or orientation. She believed in the power of prayer and spent a significant amount of time working her prayer list. When Pookie said she was praying for you, it meant something. Her “blessings” before each meal were always a treat, so beautiful and sincere just like she was talking to a friend. She always ended with “We love you, Lord. Your will be done”. Pookie spent a lot of time reading inspirational and motivational books to refill her own spirit. Many are still stacked around the chairs in which she commonly sat.
What Pookie loved most in this world was being “Mama” to Jay and Nancy. She ended every phone call to either of them with a “mmmuah” kiss that came through loud and clear on the other end. Her last days were spent with them both by her side and she seized the opportunity to tell them, as she had many times throughout their lives, “I am so blessed that you are mine”. Ditto, Mama.
Pookie was the matriarch of a very large family and is survived by her son, James “Jay” MIller Ferrell, Jr. and wife as well as daughter, Nancy J. Ferrell and their extended families including grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Also surviving are her brothers Henry Frank Flythe, J. Colon Flythe and E.P. Flythe and numerous special nieces and nephews.
Pookie is preceded in death by her parents and brother James “Jim” Willard Flythe.
We will honor Jane’s life at First United Methodist Church of Graham, 303 North Main Street in Graham, North Carolina at 4 pm eastern time on Saturday, July 17, 2001. The family will receive friends in advance of the service at 3 pm eastern in the church parlor. A private celebration for family and close friends will be held immediately after the service at Pookie’s home.
Services will be conducted by Rich and Thompson Funeral Home in Graham, North Carolina. You may sign the online registration book on their website. In lieu of flowers, please donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at www.stjude.org or to the First United Methodist Church of Graham at www.fumcgraham-nc.org
Pookie would leave each of us with these words that we found in her special notebook of quotes and poems.
There is a little word that is larger than the sea.
It is older than existence yet younger than “to be”.
It lends itself to kindness, to compassion and to care.
As we give it, it will grow – for it increases as we share.
It is stronger than the lion yet as gentle as the dove.
It is the source of everything.
It is the word called love.
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