‘A blessed life,’ family says about 110-year-old Flintstone woman’s passing

Contributed Photo / Gina Little Derryberry is seen here with Thelma Little at the 110-year-old's birthday party about two weeks ago.
Contributed Photo / Gina Little Derryberry is seen here with Thelma Little at the 110-year-old's birthday party about two weeks ago.


About a week after enjoying her 110th birthday with a family party and coverage in the local news, Flintstone resident Thelma Little has died.

"Our hearts are broken, but she lived a blessed life," her granddaughter Gina Little Derryberry said in a text message Tuesday.

Little died Jan. 23. Her birthday was Jan. 17. She celebrated at home Jan. 14 with about 70 in attendence, Derryberry said. Little wore a golden "Birthday Queen" sash along with a tiara.

Little was featured in a Chattanooga Times Free Press article in which she shared some of her longevity secrets.

She credited her long life to abstinence from drinking and smoking, frequent hand washing, regular sleep and having a worry-free attitude. She also advocated using real butter and adding bacon grease to food.

"I read it to her, and she was grinning ear to ear," Derryberry said. "She said, 'It sounds like I'm a famous celebrity.'"

 

Brent Smith, former pastor of Flintstone Baptist Church, said words could not express his love and appreciation for the five generations of the Little family who attended the church with Thelma Little.

"She is going to be greatly missed by the family," he said in a phone call.

Little was a member of the church for mre than 80 years, he said, and enjoyed being around her family and making sure they all sat together in church. Smith served as pastor of Flintstone Baptist for over 20 years.

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Smith said Little's health had been declining recently, but she still had her sense of humor. He remembered her enjoyment of a recent gospel concert, saying she clapped and sang along with The Chuck Wagon Gang, a Texas-based gospel country group, when they visited the church.

He credited the Little family for taking such good care of her and their other elderly relatives.

According to her obituary, Little is survived by three sons: Baxter Little, John Little and James Little and his wife, Brenda; seven grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great grandchildren.

The family had visitation Friday followed by a funeral Saturday.

Contact Andrew Wilkins at awilkins@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

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