BERTIE ANN CURENTON April 27, 1929 – February 1, 2018
Bertie Ann Curenton peacefully completed her earthly journey in the morning hours of Feb. 1, surrounded by her loving children and in the familiar surroundings of her beloved home in Laurel Hill. Bertie Ann, lovingly known to many as Nanny, is liberated from recent illness which set in following a broken hip at the beginning of December. She leaves behind her sister, Margaret Neal of Tallahassee, and little brother Daniel A. Campbell (Jean) of Crestview; children Leon Jr. of Crestview, Mark of Apalachicola and Tracy Curenton of Laurel Hill; numerous loving nieces and nephews, for whom she was often a second mother; dear “adopted” children Jessianne Fortune and Brian Hughes; and members of her Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church family, of which she was a longtime member. She was preceded in death by her husband of 41 years, Leon Curenton Sr.; her parents; and sisters Palmer Lee and Catherine. A lifelong Presbyterian, Bertie Ann practiced the teachings of her Lord, Jesus Christ, quietly sharing her loving concern for all whom she encountered, offering wisdom when asked, a gentle nudge when needed and always a radiant and sincere smile that soothed everything from frayed nerves to skinned knees. As a longtime elementary school teacher, Bertie Ann lovingly, and, when necessary, firmly touched the lives of many hundreds of children, especially at Bob Sikes and Northwood Elementary Schools. Many of her former students continually approached her in public, even many decades after she retired following a 21-year career, to thank her for her love, care, guidance and instruction. She was born on April 27, 1929, in Galliver to Allie Lee and Palmer Campbell. When her father died while she was five, her mother gathered her five children and moved to Laurel Hill to live close to her mother, building a family home next door out of materials and fixtures brought from the Galliver house. After 13 years living in Crestview, the Curenton family moved to the home in Laurel Hill in which Bertie Ann grew up and where she lived for the rest of her life. There she continued family traditions started by her mother, including gatherings at Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, sometimes with more than 80 guests arriving laden with good Southern cooking for Thanksgiving. The family Halloween party has continued uninterrupted since 1954. Each get-together finds older family members gathered on the porch, weather permitting, sharing stories about the family with younger generations, peals of laughter following tales of older relations’ humorous adventures, just as they did over each previous telling. Asked at her 80th birthday party to relate the biggest change she’s observed in her life, rather than listing conveniences and technological advances such as widespread electric service, television, telephones carried in one’s pocket or the internet, Bertie Ann instantly replied, “My children.” It was indicative of the outlook of a proud Christian mother, wife and homemaker, for whom church, home, family and friends were priorities. A funeral service for Bertie Ann Curenton will be 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3, at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, 8115 Fourth Street, with the Rev. Mark Broadhead officiating. Nanny’s son, Leon Jr., will play the pipe organ for his mother. Burial will follow at Almarante Cemetery. A visitation will be Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Whitehurst-Powell Funeral Home, 436 James Lee Blvd. W. in Crestview.