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Maude McCurry Abbott

Date of Death: July 4, 2019

Date of Birth: February 8, 1920

Biography:

Maude McCurry Abbott died peacefully at her home on July 4th, 2019 at age 99. Maude was born on February 8th, 1920 in Toccoa, Georgia to Dallas Keener McCurry and Horace McCurry. Maude overcame many challenges in her early life. She grew up on a small family farm in Appalachia in north Georgia. Their farm had no conveniences; her family grew all their own food, and raised their own livestock. They fished in the nearby creek for fish. Maude saw her first toothbrush at school at age 16; her family used twigs. Her father rode a mule to the mill to grind their corn so the family could eat fresh baked cornbread at every meal. At five years old (a year early), Maude began making the ten-mile round trip to the local school with her siblings. She often spoke of the kindness of her older brother H.J. who let her ride the mule with the schoolbooks when she was much too young to walk in the hot sun for such a long distance. Maude’s life was greatly changed by one teacher. In 5th grade, the teacher noticed that Maude was reciting the school’s one textbook from memory. Maude was asked to stay after class. “You don’t know how to read, do you?” the teacher asked. The teacher taught her to read and arranged for Maude to go home with books that very day. Soon, Maude gained the notice of the local Women’s Club. They gave her a scholarship to a private school for poor girls, Tallulah Falls Academy. Fresh off the farm and frightened to death, Maude did everything she was told. To her surprise, she graduated valedictorian. She often affectionately remembered how her mother Dallas asked her uncle Carl, who owned a car, to drive her to the graduation. Her mother and Uncle Carl walked in just as she was about to start her Valedictorian speech. By law, Georgia paid for 2 years of college for all valedictorians. Her brother HJ, a carpenter, paid the rest. Maude often talked about how tired she was both working and going to college and how she never wanted her children to experience such hardships. Maude and her husband Farrington Abbott were very generous in paying for a college education for all their children. Maude graduated from the University of Georgia in 1942 with a BA in English. Afterwards, she taught high school English at Blue Ridge High School in Blue Ridge, Georgia. Maude kept for the rest of her life the stuffed donkey with the signatures of her high school English students given to her upon her departure. In 1943, Maude joined the Navy and reached the rank of Lt. Commander. Maude served in the Bureau of Ordnance in Washington, D.C.; her duties included reading action reports, especially write-ups of gun accidents. If there was an accident with a gun, she was responsible for making the decision on whether to send it further up the chain of command. After World War II, Maude used the G.I Bill to get her MS in Library Science at Emory University. For several years, she worked at the University of New Hampshire as Head Reference Librarian. One of the other librarians, Helen Abbott, introduced Maude to her brother Farrington, whom she in married in 1951. Maude and Farrington lovingly raised their four children together until 1979 when Farrington passed away. From the birth of her first child in 1952 until the end of her life, Maude was dedicated to her community and to her family. Maude was an active member of the High Street Congregational Church and other local organizations. Three children survive: Dallas Abbott, Pam Abbott, and Ed Abbott, along with two grandchildren Hannah Menke and Joshua Menke, and son-in-law Bill Menke. Maude’s son Philip passed away in 2008.

 

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