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Obituary of Alma Lee (Wootton) Selvidge

Alma Lee (Wootton) Selvidge, 90, passed away Sunday, September 17, 2023 at her home in Phenix City, Alabama after a short illness. Alma was born the 28th of August 1933 to Ernest and Elzie (Reiner) Wootton on their family farm located along Big Creek in Hardin County, Illinois in the Shawnee National Forest area. She was the third child which included two older brothers (Louis and Elmer “Cork”) and one younger brother (Jim) and two younger sisters (Shirley and Clara).
Some of her fondest memories were of growing up on the farm with her family. Alma’s character and “can-do attitude” were forged early on as her mom depended on her to help perform many of the daily chores necessary to keep the family going strong. In a world with no modern utilities or conveniences she would help with the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, gardening, canning, etc. and still manage the long walk to and from the Karbers Ridge school and with a perfect attendance record throughout high school in Cave-In-Rock, IL.
During times of planting and harvest, as a young girl, she would walk with her brother Cork to the Reiner Farm above Rose Creek with a sack of Bunny Bread under her arm and spend two weeks with her Grandfather and Uncle Reiner in order to help with all the household chores while they were busy working in the fields. Even so, with all the demands of farm life, she would find the time to go fishing along Big Creek with her brothers, pick berries along the hedge rows, climb apple trees, and play Annie Over with friends from neighboring farms if they could find a ball.
In 1954 after high school, Alma took a trip to visit her cousin in Champaign, Illinois where she happened to meet Lewis R. Selvidge, Jr. at a youth event at her church. The two fell in love and were married that same year. Lew was serving in the Air Force, which took the couple next to Wichita, Kansas where Lew completed his Air Force tour. They spent the next few years in Carbondale, Illinois while Lew was in college and Alma worked at Lincoln National Bank. After Lew took a teaching position, the couple moved to Oswego, New York and then back to Champaign. In 1966-1967 they lived in Washington, DC during which Lew worked for U.S. Office of Education. In 1968, Alma and Lew moved to Statesboro, Georgia where they spent the next 39 years raising their family while Lew was a professor at Georgia Southern University and Alma was a secretary at Marvin Pittman Lab School. Alma and Lew were active in serving at First Baptist Church, where Alma taught Sunday School and had a special ministry serving widows.
When Lew retired in 1997, Alma and Lew enjoyed taking trips back to Karbers Ridge with Mark to restore her parents old country home and visiting her grandchildren in Phenix City, Alabama.
Alma and Lew moved to Phenix City in 2007 to be near their grandchildren and were active in Wynnbrook Baptist Church. Alma has always spoken of her calling by Christ to serve the elderly and especially elderly widows. She would do everything from cooking, baking, delivering food, but probably the greatest service she provided was spending time: listening, talking, sharing, and showing the love of Christ with them and providing friendship.
Alma always had extra love to spare and made every effort to provide encouragement to those struggling with life’s burdens. She showered her family and friends with unmerited love her whole life. As her health failed in recent years, her greatest loss was not being able to serve others the way she could before.
Alma is survived by two sons, Lewis R. Selvidge III (Kimiko) and Mark Wootton Selvidge; three grandchildren, Sarah, Makoto (Libby), and Justin (Lauren) Selvidge; two sisters, Shirley (Wootton) John and Clara (Wootton) Carlisle.
Alma was preceded in passing by her husband, Lew; parents, Ernest and Elzie (Reiner) Wootton; brothers, Louis, Elmer “Cork”, and Jim Wootton.
Visitation (12-2:00 p.m.) and services (2:00 p.m.) will be held Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Good Hope Church, Karbers Ridge, IL with private burial at Good Hope Cemetery.
Floral donations can be directed to The Flower Basket in Rosiclare, IL (618) 285-3518.

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