Where were you born and raised? Here in Columbus. I come from a family of five. There are three brothers and two sisters. The boys called us “the little girls.” My mother died when I was about to be 13. But my family stuck together.
Where did you go to church? I started at First Baptist then went to Rose Hill Baptist. I got married in 1950. My sister and I used to entertain the missionaries when they would come through. At one time, we went to Mt. Zion Baptist. I started seeking the Lord. I didn’t think I had found the real presence of the Lord. The charismatic movement came here in the ’60s and I started going downtown to the Gate. I ministered to people, especially to the women whose husbands were in Vietnam.
What happened to the charismatic movement? It’s dwindled out.
What did your husband Jack do? At first he worked for the Enquirer then he went to Emory Law School. One time he was in an accident with my brother and he never did heal and he started drinking.
How did he die? He committed suicide. He shot himself. He had been in Alcoholics Anonymous and was on the board of the Salvation Army. In 1969, I was elected Woman of the Year by the business community, and I guess he figured I would be all right. He had gotten better and we spent a month in Europe. But then another lawyer convinced him he would be OK with just one drink. I started going to Al-Anon. I began to release him; I learned that he was responsible for himself.
When did he die? In 1969.
How did you get involved with Christian Life School of Theology? When we lived in Atlanta, my daughter Emma Jean Alberts gave her life to ministry there. I began hearing about Dr. (Ron) Cottle in Columbus. When we came back here, I started going to his school, Christian Life School of Theology. Dr. Cottle calls it the school without walls. He sends lessons to 23 foreign countries. I enjoyed my classes. I enjoyed the teachers and we’d have lunch. I went every time there was a class. I still do, at 86.
Who are your children? I have three, but Emma Jean — was recently killed. It was a wreck on Second Avenue in May 2005. … My other children are Jack Jr., who repairs airplanes here in Columbus, and Marie Cope. She’s a dental hygienist.
You’re a cancer survivor. I was first diagnosed when I was 62. I had it in the lymph nodes. I lost a breast and a kidney. At one time they thought I was a goner but I said, “I’m all right with the Lord.”
Beacon just gave you the Platinum Regent Award.
Since I’ve been going to Dr. Cottle’s school, I’ve become close to him. Between three and six months ago, I started giving the school all my extra money. This friend of mine left me $5,000 and I gave it to them. I think they wanted to show their appreciation. They gave me the award March 9.