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Death Notice: Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin

Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin, 94, died Tuesday, October 20, 1987, at the Pioneer Lodge. Survived by sons, Delmer (Buck), Wilmore; Wendel, Tucson, Ariz., daughter, Helen Flory, Mesa, Arizona.

Service will be held Friday Oct. 23, 1987, at 2 p.m. in the Coldwater Christian Church. Burial will be in the Wilmore Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to the American Heart Association.

(Page 9, The Western Star, Vol. 104, #12, Oct. 22, 1987, published at Coldwater, Comanche County, Kansas.)

Funeral Service Folder
The Hatfield Funeral Home

Mrs. Nellie May Ferrin
Date of Birth: Jan. 8, 1893
Date of Death: Oct. 20, 1987
Services Held: Christian Church, Coldwater, Ks, Friday, 2 pm, Oct. 23, 1987.
Minister: Rev. Arthur Peterson
Organist: Mrs. Hazel McMurray
Songs: "When They Ring Those Golden Bells". "Rock of Ages".
Interment: Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Ks.
Pallbearers: Dan Ferrin, Mead Ferrin, Mike Flory, Jerry Ferrin, Brent Ferrin, Weldon Trummel.

Notes from Jerry D. Ferrin's Journal

18 October 1987: Conversation with Dad: Buck just called Dad and said that the nursing home called to tell him that Grandma Nellie is in a coma, is being fed intraveneously and may die anytime. They want to have her grandsons as pallbearers.

19 October 1987: Dad just called to say that Buck just called: Grandma Nellie just died. I got the call from Dad at 11:50 p.m., 19 Oct 1987. She was in the Pioneer Nursing Home in Coldwater, Kansas.

When I was a child, Grandma Nellie was probably the most important person in my life after my own mother in terms of forming my character - or the good parts of my character, anyway.

I remember the letters she wrote to me when Buck first put her in the Siesta Nursing Home in Pratt, Kansas. She kept writing that she was wanting to go home to the farm, hoping to go home, planning to go home -- and then there were the letters where she said she wished she could have died rather than have lived to be in a nursing home. Then sometime in 1977, she wrote saying that she found out Buck sold her car without her consent, said she wanted to hire a lawyer and said she wished that I was there because she thought I could help her get out of the rest home. It tore me up to get those unhappy letters from her but I kept on writing to her regularly and making my letters as cheerful as possible. Grandma felt bad about writing "poor me" letters, as she called them, and finally quit writing at all in late 1977.

Trapped in the nursing home, she retreated into her memories, then gradually the memories blurred for her until she didn't remember if she had seen or done things or had just read about them. Finally, she started failing to recognize people, and Uncle Buck was the first of her family she didn't know. She recognized and responded to Mom longer than she did to anyone else in her family, I think.

I visited her in the nursing home in Pratt, Kansas, in 1981 when she at first mistook me for a nursing home attendant. I identified myself, of course, and she started talking about her life and how she had always done the best she could in the faith that everything does work out for the best, even if we aren't able to see good in it ourselves. She called me by name as I started to leave the room to go to my car to get some photos to show her. I was SO pleased to be recognized by her! For just a moment, she seemed to see clearly through the haze of age. I sincerely believe she knew she was talking with me.

Grandma Nellie was such a wonderful woman, always "looking for the good" and finding the best about about people and events. She had a poem or saying for almost every occasion. She read Ben Hur to me because Mom and Dad left me with her and took Darrel with them to see the movie in Coldwater; I was disappointed because I was "too young" to see the movie so, to console me, Grandma got out a copy of the book and started reading it to me even though it took all that evening and many more evenings before we finished the book. I recall how she used to read Peter Rabbit to me, my siblings and my cousins at bedtime when we stayed overnight with her when we were young.

Grandma let me drive her 1959 Ford car to Wilmore from my house on Sunday mornings when I'd go to church with her, starting when I was about 10 years old. I had to drive very slow, but she was willing to take the time to let me drive. Grandma Nellie always seemed to have time for me, though - at the time when I was a child - it just seemed that her always having or taking time for her grandchildren was the natural order of things.

She told Darrell and me that Poppy died in the back seat of their car on the way to a doctor's appointment in Medicine Lodge, Kansas. She said he had always driven anythime they went anywhere in their married life but, that day, she came outside to find him sitting in the passenger seat of the car and she, without comment, drove for the first time when he was in the car with her. After a while, he said he wasn't feeling well so she stopped the car so he could lay down in the back seat. She said she talked to him from time to time as she drove and that, after a while, he quit answering her and that she slowly realized that he had died. She said she didn't stop to check on him, just drove as fast as she dared to Medicine Lodge hospital where he was checked and pronounced dead.

Darrell and I just missed seeing him by one day; we were on our way to Kansas to visit him and Grandma when Poppy died. We didn't hear the news until we arrived. When we pulled up in their front yard, Grandma came to the door to meet us and told us then. We stayed nearly two weeks with her at night and worked on Uncle Buck's ranch during the days, then I had to leave to return to Tucson and report for U.S. Navy boot camp.

Grandma Nellie came with Mom and Dad to see me graduate from basic training at the U.S. Navy Basic Training Depot in San Diego. I was on the "All States Flag Drill Team" in Company 928 and, though I wasn't supposed to be looking at the crowd as the flag team did our part of the show, I did spot Grandma with Mom and Dad. I was really pleased and proud that she was there to see me graduate and we had a lot of fun when we went out to eat seafood that evening. That was the last time I saw Grandma before Buck put her in the rest home, and I think it would be accurate to say that's the last time I ever saw her when she seemed happy with the way her life was going.

Grandma Nellie was a good friend to Mom and Mom has been really upset over the past few days to know that Grandma has been close to dying. She said this evening, before we'd heard that Grandma died, that when she was 19 years old and had just married Dad and moved to the farm, she became friends with Grandma Nellie, who lived just a mile south down the road. Grandma and Mom used to take long walks and talk as a pleasant way to pass the time. Mom said that Dad called her a few days ago to let her know that Grandma was dying and that she told Dad about Grandma telling her while they were on one of their walks many years ago that Grandma wanted "When They Ring Those Golden Bells" sung at her funeral. Dad told Mom he'd call Buck and arrange to have that song be part of the service.

01 August 1990: Bonnie Frazier sang "When They Ring Those Golden Bells" at Grandma Nellie's funeral at the Coldwater Christian Church on 23 Oct 1987. To me, hearing this song that Grandma herself had chosen many years before was the most memorable and moving part of the service.


There's a land beyond the river
that we call the sweet forever,
And we only reach that shore by faith's decree.
One by one we'll gain the portals,
There to dwell with the immortals,
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

Can't you hear the bells a-ringin'?
Can't you hear the angels singin'?
It's a glory hallelujah jubilee!
In that far off sweet forever,
just beyond the shining river,
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

When our days have known their number,
When in death we sweetly slumber,
When the King commands the spirit to be free;
Nevermore with anguish laden,
We shall reach that lovely Eden,
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

We shall know no sin or sorrow
In that haven of tomorrow,
When our barque shall sail beyond the crystal sea;
We shall only know the blessings
Of our Father's sweet caressing,
When they ring those golden bells for you and me.

Repeat Chorus

FERRIN, Nellie M.: January 8, 1893 - October 20, 1987 : Order of the Eastern Star
Note by J.F.: Wife of Ernest Leroy Ferrin. Nellie May Barnett was the 2nd of two daughters born to Milton and Anna Aurelia (Allender) Barnett. She is the author of the Report of the Wilmore Church of Christ, August 23, 1953. She loved poetry and had a gift for reciting a poem or gospel verse at just the right moment to make her point, which was something especially notable about her to Alzina Baker. The poem, Walking in the Heartland, was written in honor of her: dearly beloved "Grandma Nellie".
Comanche County History, p. 374.
Comanche County in Pictures, pp. 34, 38, 40, 47, 50, 51, 61, 62, 63, 67
Lot #122, Powell Township Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.

FERRIN, Ernest L. 'POPPY' : February 8, 1886 - May 13, 1974 : Mason
Note by J.F.: Ernest Leroy Ferrin was the husband of Nellie May Barnett and the son of Loren & Alcana (Wagner) Ferrin. His grandparents were Reuben & Hannah Philura (Murch) Ferrin and Daniel & Mary A. (Horner) Wagner. He was generally known as "Ernie" Ferrin. He was called "Poppy" by his grandchildren and by most of the children in the Wilmore Community. He was fond of having "watermelon feeds" and "weinie roast" picnics for his grandchildren on their birthdays and would go to the Wilmore School to pick up his grandchildren and their classmates for a ride on a tractor-drawn hay wagon out to a picnic ground he maintained beside Spring Creek on his farm. He was fond of practical jokes. The poem, Poppy & the Zoo, was written in honor of him. Incidentally, the death date I have recorded for him is 10 May 1974.
Comanche County History, p. 374
Comanche County in Pictures, pp. 38, 40, 47, 51, 56, 59, 62, 63, 67
Lot #122, Powell Township Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.

Gravestone of Ernest Leroy and Nellie Mae (Barnett) Ferrin,

Wilmore Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas. 

Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock, 
used with permission of Janet Schrock Hubbard.
Gravestone of Ernest Leroy and Nellie Mae (Barnett) Ferrin
Lot #122, Powell Township Cemetery, Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas.
Photo by John Edward (Ed) Schrock.

Also see:

Anna Aurelia (Allender) Barnett, mother of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

Geneva Barnett, sister of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

Delmer Lee "Buck" Ferrin, son of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

Ernest Leroy Ferrin, husband of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

Wendel Gene Ferrin, son of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

Glenn Allen Moreton, first cousin and foster brother of Nellie (Barnett) Ferrin.

A Reunion of Former Residents of Wilmore, Comanche County, Kansas
held 10 March 1991 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona.

Family History Interview with Gertrude (Fisher) Cobb, Mary Lee (Cobb) Hough, Gladys (Rose) Wood, Bob Wood, Karen (Healen) Hammel, Alice (Norton) Ferrin Wilson and Janet (Ferrin) Elmore by Jerry D. Ferrin.

Web design by Jerry Ferrin, grandson of Nellie May (Barnett) Ferrin. This page was last updated 11 November 2003.

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