Vivian Phillips Free, age 92, died on Sunday, March 10, 2019 at St. Bernard’s Medical Center surrounded by her family. Vivian was known to her family and friends as “Bibi.” Vivian was a resident of Craighead Nursing Center. She was of the Baptist faith. Vivian moved to Arkansas in 1992, but lived the majority of her life in Ruleville, Mississippi. Vivian was born in Gadsden, Alabama on October 2, 1926. She was preceded in death by her parents, Clan and Lessie (Jefferson) Phillips, husband, William Free Sr., one sister, and five brothers. She is survived by one sister, Ona Phillips, also a resident at Craighead Nursing Center, her daughter, Janis Stacy (Tommy), and a son, William Free (Melanie), three grandchildren, Tanya Morris (Larry), Jennifer Biggers (Mark), Jarrett Free (Angela), and five great-grandchildren, Jeff Morris (Ashley), Mallory Freudiger (Daniel), Isaac Biggers, Elijah Biggers, and Anne Harper Free.
Vivian enjoyed working puzzles, fishing, playing cards and Bingo, and listening to Bluegrass and “real” country music. Her family often referred to her kitchen as “Bibi’s Kitchen,” and she always enjoyed preparing homecooked meals for them. Vivian was known to others as having a servant’s heart. She lived to serve others. During her younger years, Vivian would prepare and deliver soup to her neighbors when they were ill, and she regularly visited the Ruleville nursing home as well as the elderly who were homebound. Vivian faithfully and dutifully took care of her husband who was severely and permanently disabled due to a World War II combat injury. She made numerous trips from Ruleville to the VA hospital in Memphis while working a full-time job at Baxter Laboratories in Cleveland, Mississippi. Vivian grew up in the Depression Era and knew hard times well. This grit and endurance would serve her well as she persevered through ovarian cancer at the age of 35, two rotator cuff surgeries in her late 70’s, and four strokes requiring extensive rehabilitation at HealthSouth in Jonesboro. Although her passing leaves an enormous void, her family is comforted with this verse: Matthew 25:23 “[Her] master said to [her], ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
Graveside services will be Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. at Lehrton Cemetery in Ruleville, Mississippi with Bro. Tommy W. Stacy officiating under the direction of Faith Funeral Service, Manila, Arkansas. In lieu of flowers, the family would suggest a donation of large piece puzzles or monetary donation to the Activity/Bingo account at Craighead Nursing Center, 5101 Harrisburg Rd., Jonesboro, Arkansas 72404.
Also, flowers can be sent to Faith Funeral Service, 2658 Hwy 18 west, Manila, Arkansas 72442. Florist: Leachville Florist (Gail), Leachville, Arkansas, 870-215-6829.