Eunice Waunell (Nelson) Reichert, a resident of Thomasville since 1944, passed away peacefully just before dawn on Saturday, July 22, 2017. She was 87. Born in Hazelhurst on September 7, 1929, she attended the single-room Oakgrove School until the 10th grade. Later that year, she moved to Cairo, where she graduated from Cairo High School in 1945 at age 15. After attending Joye's Business School in downtown Thomasville, she became a secretary at Watkins Motor lines, where she met her husband, Harvey. She worked as telephone operator for the Southern Bell Company from 1946-1956 and eventually founded the first licensed day care center in Thomas County, ABC Nursery and Kindergarten, which operated for 25 years. Later she began her "retirement" job at Belks of Thomasville, where she worked another 15 years. During that time, she also founded the first Thomasville chapter of the Red Hat Society. At age 80, Waunell embarked on a life-long dream of earning a college degree that she had put off for six decades while raising her family. She graduated from Thomas University in 2014 at age 85, becoming the oldest female college graduate on record in Georgia at the time. In doing so, she inspired others to "not just breathe, but to live." Throughout her life, Waunell exemplified perseverance, a positive attitude, cheerfulness, faith in God and service to others. She was a volunteer for many years for the Thomas County Food Bank and a member of First Baptist Church. Mom participated in numerous 5K and 1 mile walking events as a senior citizen, and enjoyed growing African Violets, playing Bunko, reading, and just being at home.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Harvey William Reichert, 2004; her father, Ertis Lee Nelson; her mother, Pearlie Lee Brock; her brother, Curtis Vernell Nelson, 1951; and a grand-daughter, Melanie Marie Reichert, 2013. She is survived by her sisters, Doris Gilmore (Georgia) and Shirley Pauley (Texas); by her five children, Patricia "Pat" Ellen Cox (Georgia), Rebecca Jean "Jeannie" Williams (Tennessee), Marvin Randal "Randy" (Alabama), Joseph "Joey" Melvin (Kentucky), Brett Mitchell Reichert (Georgia), and by more than 20 grand-children and great grand-children. Arrangements are being handled by Whiddon-Shiver Funeral Home. The family welcomes visitors there on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m. The funeral will take place at First Baptist Church, Thomasville on Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 3 p.m., followed by interment at Laurel Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, Waunell requested donations in her name to support the Miss Kitty Feline Sanctuary of Thomasville.
Published on July 22, 2017