On December 27, 2020 Mary Ella Cozart Glasscock, the most precious and kind soul, left this world for the arms of her Savior. Her family would like to take this time to honor both her and her late husband, Arthur Glenwood Glasscock, who passed away in 1997. Though they were never elected to office or became rich, they were, what Jimmy Stewart called in It’s a Wonderful Life, “the people in this town who did most of the laughing, crying, living and dying.” They should be celebrated for the lives they lived, and for the many people for whom they brought joy. Here is their story.
Mama and Daddy both worked in the two industries that built Person County: tobacco and textiles. They both were raised during the depression and knew what it was like to lack for many things, but never lacked for the love of their families. Mama grew up in the Allensville community and Daddy grew up in the Oak Hill community of Granville County, not far from the Virginia line. They both accepted Christ at an early age. Mama was the only child of Claude and Eva McCann Cozart. They lived originally in a small home near the McCann tobacco farm. Sadly, when Mama was 11, her father died at the early age of 45, and she moved with her mother to the McCann homeplace. There, she was also cared for not only by her mother, but also her grandparents, Bedford and Margaret Averett McCann, as well as uncles Ed and Roy McCann, and Aunt Annie. Her cousins, William and Julia Davis, whom she loved as siblings, had also come to live in the homeplace when their mother died. She had many cousins to play with nearby and in Virginia. Mama learned to cook on a wood stove and helped make the meals for the men working in tobacco. She also tended a garden and canned vegetables. When Uncle Ed, Uncle Roy and William were drafted into the Army during WWII, she and her mother had to work in the field as the tobacco crop was the main means of support for the family.
Meanwhile, Daddy grew up with his parents, William Berry and Annie Belle Glasscock, as well as two brothers and two sisters that were older. Later, there would be another brother, Carroll, whom he loved dearly. Daddy worked in tobacco and shucked corn. At the age of 18, in 1944, he was drafted into WWII and served in Japan. He talked of seeing the Kamikaze pilots when the war was almost over. Upon discharge, he returned to the farm. Not long after, he met Mama. Her “sister” Julia had married Daddy’s uncle, George Glasscock. Uncle George took Daddy with him on a trip to see the McCanns. Daddy relentlessly teased Mama that the first time he met her she was wearing a dress made from feed sacks. They began dating and when Daddy’s mother died suddenly in 1947, Mama cooked and cleaned for his father. Mama was still in high school and her love of the farm and cooking continued. She won a county essay contest for a story about farming and traveled with her teacher and principal to Raleigh to accept her award. In her high school yearbook, she was voted friendliest. Her hobby was listed as collecting recipes and her ambition was “to cook for Arthur.”
They married in March 1949 and their first child, Claudia, was born later that year. They farmed on the McCann farm and then moved to Union Level, VA when Daddy got a job as “ambulance driver” to take those hurt during the construction of Buggs Island/Kerr Lake Dam to the hospital. He always loved driving, especially driving fast and loved to purchase a new car every two years or so. In the late 50’s, he raced a car at the Occoneechee Speedway. They found employment at Dan River Mills, Danville, VA working 3rd shift, as it paid the most. They drove the 35 miles each night, even when the snow was deep. Claudia was cared for by Grandmother Eva when they were at work. In 1952, they bought a house in Roxboro on Clayton St., which would remain the family home for the next 60 yrs. There was sadness in 1952 when son, Richard was born, but lived only three weeks. Daughter Kathy was born in 1956, and Mama’s Aunt Cornelia came to live in the home to help care for the children. There was sadness again in 1963 when son, Gerald died at three months of age. Doctors determined that both boys had a heart condition, and back then heart surgery on infants was not common. As they continued to work in the mill, they never forgot family and prepared meals and did laundry for those at the homeplace. They also invited relatives and friends over on Saturday night for music, and probably stayed up too late and made too much noise. Daddy and his brother Coolidge played their guitars and sang. Mama continued her wonderful cooking, making a feast every Saturday or Sunday. The man delivering eggs planned his route so that his last stop was Mama’s where she would give him a great meal. Working in the mill took a toll on Daddy’s hearing and Mama’s spine, as there were no OSHA protections then. The mill was a constant grind and there were few sick days, so you worked no matter how bad you felt. You endured periods of layoffs or short hours, followed by times of working more than 5 days a week. Despite their 3rd shift hours, they never missed a school or church event that their daughters were in. By 1971, they had both begun employment nearby at Collins and Aikman mill. They saw that both children went to college and were so proud of everything the girls did.
Joy came in 1980 with the birth of Claudia’s twins, Troy and Kinzie. Though Claudia and her husband Steve Meadows worked overseas as teachers for the Dept. of Defense in Germany, the Philippines and Cuba, they made one or two trips a year to see family. Daddy had begun restoring a 1952 Red Ford that he put in the Christmas parade. Between 1989-1990, Mama and Daddy retired. When they had taken their yearly vacation from the mill, they had always gone to the Maggie Valley or Gatlinburg TN area. After they retired, they would start many trips going only about 3 hours away, then Daddy would announce that he wanted to drive through West Virginia or Kentucky, and they ended up being gone 2-3 days. There was joy again in 1991, when Kathy and her husband Mike’s daughter Lydia was born. Daddy loved the trips they had to Walmart for her to pick out a toy and have some popcorn. They continued to provide meals for Uncle Ed and Uncle Roy. After the passing of Uncle Roy and then Uncle Jim in 1994, they brought Uncle Ed to live at their home. He gained over 15 lbs. the first two months he was there due to Mama’s wonderful meals. By this time, Mama was well known for her cakes, biscuits and stew. Biscuits had to be prepared only one way: She made them up in a wooden bread tray that belonged to her mother. There were no biscuit cutters in the house, as biscuits had to be formed by hand and then baked in a large black pan that looked a hundred years old. She maintained a tradition that biscuits could not be put into the oven until the last guest had arrived. It would be unthinkable to serve a guest a cold biscuit. Her Ladies Circle from Ca-Vel Baptist Church stood at the oven to grab and butter one before she could set them out on the table. She sent biscuits and cakes to sick neighbors and church friends. Grandchildren had biscuit eating contests and the record stands at 11 at one sitting.
Sadly, Daddy endured two heart attacks and a stroke, before a 2nd stroke took his life in June 1997. Mama was heartbroken. In September 1997, Uncle Ed died at the home, and at age 68, Mama found herself living alone for the first time in her life. Though everyone wondered how long she would last, she endured, became even stronger and spoke at a City Council meeting about the problem with people driving too fast on Clayton Street. She taught Sunday School and had great support from neighbors and her church family. She continued to go on family trips to the mountains with Claudia and Kathy. Overwhelming grief and sadness occurred in 2010 when daughter Claudia lost her battle with cancer. Mama bore the pain and suffering of a broken hip and cancer. Ministers would find her in the hospital bed reciting her favorite verse: Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” As the years passed, it became harder and harder for her to walk, even with a walker. She struggled so hard to stay in her home, but in December 2012, she fell again and broke her leg in two places. She had to go live at the Extended Care Unit at Person Memorial Hospital and had finally lost the battle to walk or even sit up by herself. She was asked to come live closer to Kathy, but she declined stating all her relatives and friends were around Roxboro. This generous woman, who showed her love by cooking for others could no longer cook, so she saved bags of chips from her lunch to give away, as well as offering staff and visitors goodies from her large stash of sweets. So many people loved her that at her birthday parties at Ca-Vel Baptist Church, she would draw a crowd of nearly a hundred, with a band that included Charlie Moore and Mack Lee. Her faith kept her going. She wore out her Bible and after Daddy died, she wore out his Bible. She wrote encouraging cards and letters that always ended with asking God that the recipient have strength, good health and happiness. She became the Chairperson of the Resident Council at Extended Care and advocated that more seasoning be put in the food, including the “baptized green beans,” as she felt they were just dunked in some hot water. She loved the staff that took care of her at Extended Care and they loved her. She was blessed with many relatives and friends who came to see her, bring her food she loved and spend time with her. She survived a heart attack in 2020 but began to lose her spark and smile. We were all saddened by the limited amount of time we had with her in her last days. Mama and Daddy lived a life devoted to hard work and a never-ending love and devotion to family. They were part of the “Greatest Generation,” whose members are fading fast. We should love them and thank them while they are still here.
The family would like to thank all those who kept her going with their calls and visits: Brother-in-law Rev. Carroll Glasscock (Louella), Cousin Faye Whitfield (Richard) and Flora Ann Hudson (Kent), friends Raymond and Louise Smith, Joan and Stanley Reaves, Lib Cole, members of Ca-Vel Baptist Church and the staff at the Extended Care Unit. Special thanks also go out to Pam Moore and Reba Wesley for their many works of kindness during her last week.
Surviving are daughter Kathy Hitchcock (Mike) of Clemmons, NC, son-in-law Steve Meadows (Carol) of Huntersville NC, and grandchildren Lydia Wiggs (Thorne) of Franklin, TN; Kinzie Meadows (Erin) of Asheville NC, Troy Meadows (Natalie) of Petaluma, CA and great granddaughter Ella Meadows of Asheville, NC.
Due to the risks posed by COVID, she will lie in state at Strickland and Jones Funeral Services on January 2, 2021 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Please mark your calendars for January 19, 2021 which would have been her 92nd birthday. On this date, do something nice for someone or bake some biscuits and think of Mama. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Ca-Vel Baptist Church, 1885 N. Main St. Roxboro, NC 27573.
Arrangements are by Strickland and Jones Memorial Funeral Services, 1810 Durham, Road, Roxboro, NC 27573. Online condolences may be made at stricklandandjonesfs.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Mary Ella (Cozart) Glasscock, please visit our floral store.
Ca-vel Baptist Church
1885 North Main Street, Roxboro NC 27573