Carol Farish Vickers
A private graveside service was held Friday [August 21] at Cedarlawn Cemetery in Philadelphia for Carol Farish Vickers of Decatur, who died August 19, 2020.
Rev. Walton Jones, Rector of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Starkville, officiated. Milling Funeral Home in Union was in charge of the service.
A well-known quilter and author, Vicker’s professional talent and greatest career achievement were as a classroom English teacher in the Decatur public schools from 1966-1982 and as an instructor at East Central Community College from 1983 until her 1992 retirement. She had a true passion for developing the minds of not only young learners, but also adults. Toward the end of her career, she gave many older learners a brighter future through her Adult Basic Education and GED preparation courses and once said, “That’s what I do; try to build their confidence and tell them ‘you can do this.’”
A three-time Star Teacher at DHS, she was very involved with her students outside the classroom as well, serving as a high school Beta Club and class sponsor, and as a coach for the national Boys’ State Spelling Championship. She later was an ECCC yearbook advisor and tutor for the men’s basketball team. In 1974, she was named a national Outstanding Young Educator and, in 1983, became a U.S. Department of Education Presidential Scholar Teacher. Delta Kappa Gamma and Daughters of the American Revolution were among the professional and civic organizations in which she held officer positions.
Born in Hazlehurst, Vickers grew up in the Stallo community in north Neshoba County and graduated “across the line” from Winston County’s Noxapater High School where she was named the “Sweetheart” of the Future Farmers of America organization. She then graduated from East Central Community College in 1958 where she met her husband of 59 years, the late Ovid Vickers, who was in his early years as an English instructor. She also received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Taught to quilt by her mother at a young age, she developed and maintained a passionate interest in the history of quilts and was a member of the Mississippi Quilt Association. In 1994, she was appointed chair of MQA’s Mississippi Heritage Quilt Project which documented more than 1,600 quilts made prior to 1945 with the research culminating in the book Mississippi Quilts that includes an introduction by Vickers. The project also became the backdrop for the book Threading The Generations which she co-authored.
Prior to this in 1984, Vickers and her mother were invited by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History to represent the state’s quilters in the Mississippi Pavilion at the New Orleans World’s Fair. With traditional quilting frames, they exhibited their skills and discussed the pastime with visitors from around the world. She attended MQA’s organizational meeting in 1991 and traveled the state for this group and the Mississippi Humanities Council sharing her knowledge of quilting and its history. She even penned a children’s book in 1998 called The Llama’s Pajamas about a fictional pack animal and its attachment to a quilt.
Other activities she enjoyed were reading, antiquing and collecting, and she donated her extensive compilation of Little Golden Books to the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at USM. Because of her curiosity with historic places, she traveled many times overseas and was fascinated by the extraordinary churches. In Decatur, she was an active member in Decatur United Methodist Church throughout her adult life, serving on several committees and leading the women’s group and a Sunday School class.
An avid sports fan, Vickers especially took pleasure in cheering for the underdog team in college athletics and also was an avid fan of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. Every year, she looked forward to spending time with family and friends at the Obe’s Acres cabin at the Neshoba County Fair, but her most constant activity was accompanying her husband to his many speaking engagements around the state and region. She also was his editor, critic and closest friend.
Predeceased by her husband who died in March and her sister Sue who died in 2019, she is survived by two sisters, Becky Smith of Louisville, and Peggy Tucker of Waco, Texas; a brother, Obe R. Farish of Dothan, Alabama; three children, Nona Vickers of Birmingham, Alabama; Harriet Vickers Laird of Starkville; and Ovid Vickers III of Raymond, along with six grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Pallbearers include Maj. Jon Creel Jr, of Whispering Pines, North Carolina; Jerry Smith of Louisville; Matthew Smith of Starkville; and David Addy, Rick Smith and Randall Lee of Decatur.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ovid S. and Carol F. Vickers Scholarship through the ECCC Foundation, P. O. Box 129, Decatur, MS 39327.