Obituaries for Wed., April 26, 2017, edition

Published 6:38 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Guy H. Sawyer Jr.


Guy H. Sawyer Jr., 71, passed away Sat., April 22, 2017, after a brief illness.

Visitation will be held today, Wed., April 26 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Brewton with funeral services at 3 p.m. Bro. John Finklea will be officiating. Interment will follow at Union Cemetery in Frisco City with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing. 


Pallbearers are Steve Sims, Jim Hart, David Nolen, Melvin Middleton, Matt Davidson, Eric Cobb, Richard Rotch and Rankin Madden. Honorary pallbearers are Frank Cotton, Laprade Pettis, Bill Wiggins, Mike Williams and Wayne James.

He was a native of Frisco City and a life-long resident of Brewton. He was a graduate of Frisco City High School and Troy University, where he attended on a basketball scholarship. He earned his master’s degree from Livingston University.

He had a long career in education and was beloved by many as a coach, teacher and principal. His educational career included Enterprise, Elba, T.R. Miller, Evergreen, W.S. Neal, Atmore, McCall and Flomaton High Schools.

He was a member of First Baptist Church of Brewton. He enjoyed spending time with his family, as well as bird hunting with his dogs.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Guy Hartwell Sawyer and Willie Earl Sawyer of Frisco City.

He is survived by his wife, Metra Barnett Sawyer; daughters, Amy Sawyer of San Jose, Calif., Kristin Sawyer of Flomaton, Robin Sawyer (Brian) Waters of Brewton, Cary Peirce (Jason) of Jay, Fla., Alexandra Sawyer of Gulf Shores, and Sara McCabe of Dothan; one son, Ladd Sawyer of Destin; stepdaughters, Jennifer (Drew) Hale, Nashville, Tenn., and Ashley (Daniel) Hodge of Brewton; sister, Margaret Earl (Bud) Ross of Brundidge; grandchildren, Michael (Ashley) Sawyer, Cathryn (Terry) Lucas, Bishop Holt, Katie Morton, Turk Morton, Tyler Pierce, Townes Hale, Hayeslee and Mason Hodge; and one great grandson, Kaiden Sawyer.

Flowers will be accepted or donations can be made to Quail Forever, The Habitat Organization.

Ruthie Lee Cooper

Conecuh County

Ruthie Lee Cooper, 97, passed away Wed., April 19, 2017, at a local health care facility.

Funeral services were held Sat., April 22, at 11 a.m. from the chapel of Craver’s Funeral Home with the Rev. Ronald Hall officiating. Interment followed in Cooper Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Michael Cooper, Billy Mac Stuckey, Fred Stuckey, Rodney Stuckey, Brandon Cooper, Josh Hobbs and Randy Cooper.

She was a life-long resident of Conecuh County. She was a homemaker and was a member of Appleton Free Will Baptist Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 47 years, Mack Cooper; and a great-grandson, Billy Ray Hobbs Jr.

She is survived by two sons, Paul (Betty) Cooper, and Stevie (Rita) Cooper, both of Castleberry; three daughters, Maxine (Gary) Benefield and Adell Hobbs, both of Castleberry, Jewel Stuckey of Evergreen; 14 grandchildren, Michael (Penny) Cooper, Randy (Stacey) Cooper, Beverly (Michael) Blackmon, Janet Stuckey, Fred Stuckey, Billy Mac (Stephanie) Stuckey, Rex Stuckey, Rodney Stuckey, April (Adam) Rigby, Christopher Hobbs, Jeffery Hall, Joshua Hobbs, Shelley (Malcolm) Madden and Brandon Cooper; 23 great-grandchildren; and 23 great-great-grandchildren.

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Willie Lewis Payne


Willie Lewis Payne was born on April 28, 1942, in Brewton to the late Willie Walter Payne and Martha Agee Payne. He entered into eternal peace on Tues., April 18, 2017, at the age of 74.

Funeral services were held Sat., April 22, at 2 p.m. at Second St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Brewton with Pastor Elder Norman Miller officiating. Interment followed in Springhill Cemetery in Brewton with Presley-Fluker Funeral Directors directing.

He accepted Christ at an early age and had been a lifelong member of Old Spring Hill Primitive Baptist Church where he was affectionately know as “The Gatekeeper.” He was a graduate of Southern Normal High School. He was a hard worker who spent the majority of his younger years working in the manufacturing industry until his retirement due to health.

He leaves to cherish his life, two daughters, Sonya McLaurin (Chris) of Hattisburg, Miss., and Marcia Payne (Lee) of Pensacola, Fla.; son, Douglas Sims (Heather) of Brewton; one step daughter, Dwana Styles (Jay) of Pensacola, Fla.; sister, Betty Howard (Eugene) of Brewton; eight grandchildren, R’Keeneo Andrews Sr. (Ashley) and Vincent Andrews, both of Pensacola, Fla., Tamedrian Payne of Hattisburg, Miss., Gracie Sims and Doug Sims Jr. of Brewton, Sharif Hale, Sade Hale and Nigel Style of Pensacola, Fla.; seven great grandchildren; a trusted and loyal friend, Eugene Howard, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

He was preceded in death by his brother, James Burns.

Phillip Carl Etheridge


Phillip Carl Etheridge, 58, passed away Fri., April 21, 2017, in a Pensacola, Fla., hospital.

Funeral services were held on Tues., April 25, at 11 a.m. at Brewton’s First Baptist Church with the Rev. Cavin Cawthon, the Rev. Ron Headley, and the Rev. John Finklea officiating. Interment followed at Holland Cemetery in Castleberry with Craver’s Funeral Home directing.

Active pallbearers were Mickey Flowers, Danny Joyner, Fred Nordmeyer, Curtis Glaize, Tyler Nelms, Darrion Salter, Jarrett Pearson and Johntae Brown.

Honorary pallbearer was Andrew “Zeke” Johnson.

He was a native and long time resident of Brewton. He was a member of the Conecuh County High School Class of 1977 and was an avid fan of the University of Alabama and T.R. Miller athletic programs. He was a member of Brewton’s First Baptist Church.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Debbie Daniel Etheridge of Brewton; mother, Betty Mae Wilson Etheridge of Castleberry; four sons, Nick Etheridge of Destin, Fla.,  Dylan Etheridge, Andrew Etheridge, and Tyler Etheridge all of Brewton; and one daughter, Erin (Mitch) Howard of East Brewton.

He was preceded in death by his father, Carl Bryant Etheridge.

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James Mertis Davis


James Mertis Davis, 83, of Jay Road in Brewton, passed away Tues. April 18, 2017, in a Bay Minette nursing facility after a brief illness.

Funeral services were held Fri., April 21, at 11 a.m., at Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home with the Rev. Allen Robinson officiating. Interment with military honors followed in Union Cemetery in Brewton with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.

He was a native and life long resident of Brewton. He was member of the East Brewton First Assembly of God Church, a 1952 graduate of W.S. Neal High School,  U.S. Army veteran, and was retired from Smurfit Stone with 34 years of service. He enjoyed fishing and traveling.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen Brantley Davis of Brewton; three sons, David (Sheila) Davis of Frisco City, George (Debi) Davis of Dadeville, and Keith (Beverly) Davis of Monroeville; daughter, Debra (Tommy) Cameron; sister, Ann Brantley Frazier, both of Brewton; 11 grandchildren, Shae Stafford, Leah Payne, Kim Hickman, Tera Dennis, Tava Perkett, Ryan Davis, Katie Waters, Stephen Davis, Tania Thompson, Joshua Stinson and Allen Stinson; and 19 great grandchildren, Libby, Andrew, Lauren Kate, Simon, Grayson, Miles, Issac, Isabel, Oliva, Drake, Madison, Talynn, Ema Ray, Eva Anne, Eli, Leslie Ann, Emma, Cameron and Edwin James.

He is preceded in death by parents, Mertis and Lola Carter Davis.

Condolences may be sent and obituaries can be read at

Hiliary Johnson


Hiliary Johnson was born Feb. 24, 1933, to the late Anderson Johnson Sr. and Janie Benjamin Johnson in the Johnsonville Community of Conecuh County.

After a brief illness and spending some time in Mobile’s health facilities, he was brought back home to enjoy the peacefulness of his own house. He gracefully exited this life for his eternal life Sat., April 8, 2017, at D.W. McMillan Hospital.

Funeral services were held Sat., April 22 at 11 a.m. at Presley-Fluker Chapel with the Rev. Emanuel Knight officiating. Interment followed at Bergen Memorial Cemetery with Presley-Fluker Funeral Directors directing.

He is preceded in death by his parents, four brothers and three sisters.

In his earlier years, he attended school in Conecuh County. When his family moved to Brewton, he attended school at Southern Normal. Back in his days, more value was put on farming and making sure the family had food on the table so he didn’t finish school, but he knew the value of an education and would encourage the younger members of the family to get an education. He would often say, “If I had the educational opportunities that the children have today, I don’t know where I might be.”

When he was a child, he was known by his brothers as the one that would tear up his and their toys if they let him tinker with theirs. He wanted to know how it worked. As an adult, this made him become quite the handy man.

He learned commitment to the needs of the family and farming skills from his father. He was extremely reliable and dependable, which were qualities that helped him succeed in the careers he worked in.

He had been employed by T.R. Miller Lumber Mill. In the 1960s, he and his young family moved to California where he would eventually learn the construction trade of hanging and taping sheetrock.

He returned to Brewton in 1989 and started working in the construction business with his brother, John. When there was not enough work in the Brewton area they found plenty of work in the Atlanta, Ga.

He did this for about three years before turning his attention to his true passion and worked for his brother Anderson undertaking a favorable cattle business.

He was very generous whether it was with his time, home, advice, wisdom, effort, tangible property and/or money. These are traits he learned from his mother. He believed that love was a labor of service; and to those who were fortunate enough to cross his path, they found help indeed. If he planted a garden, he shared the fruit of his labors with as many people as he knew. If he saw that you were sincere and trying your best, he would do what he could to be of help to you. He wanted to be treated right, with dignity and respect and he gave out the same.

He devoted his life to the welfare and care of his family both in life and after his death. He was a fighter and he had a strong will and strong opinions. He would often say, “People would be surprised about how many people will make it from the bed to paradise, just like the thief did on the cross.” He was a lover of people and he was passionate about politics. He kept his eyes on the political arena and would give you his opinions about such when the opportunity presented itself.

He met and eventually married the love of his life, Ruby Delores Knight, on October 18, 1958, in Beaumont, Texas. He fell in love with Ruby, according to him, because she was caring and kind to all that she met. To this union, they were blessed with six children.

He leaves to cherish his precious and priceless memories a devoted wife and friend, Ruby Knight Johnson; four sons, Bruce Johnson of Brewton, Steve (Deanne) Johnson, John (Heidi) Johnson, both of Oxnard, Calif., and Hiliary (Lisa) Johnson Jr. of Huntsville; two daughters, Berlinda and Jannie Johnson, both of Oxnard, Calif.; two

brothers, John (Betty) Johnson of Brewton, and Anderson Johnson of Mobile; seven sisters-in- law; three brothers-in- law; 13 grandchildren; six great grandchildren; a host of nieces and nephews, great nephews and nieces, great-great nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives and many friends.

Betty Jean Phillips Boutwell


Betty Jean Phillips Boutwell, 79, of Hwy. 41 in Brewton, passed away Sun., April 16, 2017.

Visitation will be held Fri.,  April 28, from 2 to 3 p.m. at Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home.

Funeral Services are scheduled for Fri., April 28, at 3 p.m. at Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home with the Rev. Billy Ray Singleton and the Rev. Tim Phillips officiating.

Interment with will follow in Sellersville Cemetery in Sellersville, Fla., with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.

She was a native of Sellersville, Fla., and a long time resident of Brewton. She attended Munson High School, got her RN degree from South Alabama, and was a retired RN and Nursing Administrator of University Hospital in Pensacola, Fla., and Baptist Hospital in Atmore with more than 30 years of service.

She is survived by her husband Millard Ray Boutwell of Brewton; daughter, Sheila Underwood of Pace, Fla.; son, David Boutwell of Brewton; three brothers, Ray (Geneva) Phillips, Tim (Barbara) Phillips, both of Sellersville, Fla., and Glynn Phillips of Rincon, Ga.; three sisters, Rita Sellers of Sellersville, Fla., Cathleen (Lyvon) McNaughton of Dixonville, and Lizzie (Gary) Grollmus of Crestview, Fla.; three grandchildren, Anthony Boutwell, Terence Bradley Boutwell and Jennifer Marshall Macias; six great grandchildren, Eric Macias, Tylon Macias, Brad Boutwell, Cody Boutwell, David Boutwell and Lily Boutwell; and 19 nieces and nephews.

She is preceded in death by parents, John and Viola Thompson Phillips, two sons,  Kenneth Underwood, and Terry Ray Boutwell; and brothers, Rufus Phillips, Roy Phillips and Paul Phillips.

Condolences may be sent and obituaries can be read at

Charles William Lee


Charles William Lee, 80 of Woodmont Drive in Brewton, passed away Thurs., April 20, 2017, in a local hospital after a brief illness.

Funeral services were held Sun., April 23, at 3 p.m. at Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home with the Rev. Doug Darby officiating.

Interment followed in Springhill Cemetery in Lenox, with Williams Memorial Chapel Funeral Home directing.

He was a native of Repton, and a long time resident of Brewton. He was a member of the Spring Hill Methodist Church, a graduate of Repton High School, a U.S. Army veteran, and a retired lead lineman from Alabama Power Company with 43 years of service. He enjoyed farming, fishing and hunting.

He is survived by his wife, Beth Purnell Lee of Brewton; son, Jeffery Lee of Pensacola, Fla.; three brothers, Johnny Lee of Greenville, James Lee of Repton, and George Lee of Navarre, Fla.; two sisters, Venaro Kendrick of Panama City, and Sara Plunkett of Arab.He is preceded in death by parents, George and Mazie Bradford Lee; and brother, Lowell Lee.

Condolences may be sent and obituaries can be read at