On January 25, 1925, Charlie and Priscilla Brock Brooks celebrated something even greater; the birth of their oldest child, a daughter they named Minnie Ola. For most African Americans in 1925, however, life was hard but manageable. Minnie Ola was born and raised in Okolona, a small yet friendly community made up of mostly “kin folk”; where everybody knew everybody. At a tender age, she joined Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
Minnie Ola met Jerry C. Furlow, they married and started a family in Delight. Jerry C. was blessed with Roy Lee Reed, whom he loved as his own son. Their union was blessed with four children: Jerry, Maude, Mary, and Janice. The family became members of Harrison Chapel Baptist Church where she remained a member until her passing.
She loved her church reading her lessons to prepare for Sunday School. Those she touched and those who knew her witnessed her untiring love for God. She was a believer in “treating others, as you would have them treat you”. Being raised in a large family in those days, education became secondary, while surviving was primary. Like so many others she had to help her mother with her siblings. Minnie Ola was smart and ingenious. She learned from the land and possessed a strong work ethic. She picked cotton, was an impeccable housekeeper, and mastered babysitting.
Her home was the gathering place for get-togethers with family and friends, as well as, Sunday dinners. She was a soul food “boiling pots” cooking type of woman. She is best known for her fried chicken that she would flip in the skillet with her fingers.
She first developed her talent for cooking at Rosenwald School. She later took her talents to Pike County Memorial Hospital where she later retired after 42 years.
Ms. Minnie loved to fish on Womack’s Pond and Antoine River. She enjoyed watching Walker Texas Ranger, Wheel of Fortune, Gunsmoke, and all other “westerns”. Although Ms. Minnie never played any sports a day in her life, she and her best friend, the late Ollie Fae Richardson were known as the #1 fans and referees at ALL the Delight Bulldogs basketball games. She was a die-hard Arkansas Razorback basketball fan and rarely missed watching a game. She enjoyed talking on the phone with friends and visiting the Murfreesboro Senior Adult Center.
She passed into the Lord’s embrace on Friday, September 8, 2023, at Murfreesboro Nursing Center in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jerry Calvin Furlow; sons, Roy Lee Reed (January 13, 2019) and Jerry L. “Pluke” Furlow (July 22, 2017); two granddaughters, Shanika R. Martin (2015) and Malissia Reed Tolliver (2023) and two great-grandsons, Daniel Tolliver and Darius Martin (2011); and two siblings, Charlie L. Brooks, Mae Zola Brooks.
Her strong legacy will live in the memory of her daughters; Maude E. Nelson (Ralph) of Hot Springs, AR, Mary A. Penny (Rickey) of Delight, AR, and Janice M. Snowden of Fitchburg, MA; her daughter-in-law, Catherine Reed of Delight, AR, and sister-in-law, Rosie J. Thomas of Okolona, AR; 10 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great-grandchildren. She also leaves several nieces, nephews, cousins, and special friends, Florestine Edwards, Wanda Dreher, Mae Sue Williams, Dorothy Meeks, Minnie S. Hunter, Fadie Gentry, and Charlene Leeper.
Visitation will be from 1:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the funeral home. The family will greet and receive friends from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. at Harrison Chapel Baptist Church. A Celebration of her life will be shared at 12 noon on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at Harrison Chapel Baptist Church with Rev. Travel Green, eulogist and Rev. Richard Dixon, officiant. The interment will be at Harrison Chapel Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Claude Gentry, Aundray Gentry, Dedric Jones, Adrian Meeks, Chris Rourk and Winston Tolliver.