CHICKAMAUGA, GA.: Jean Ivy Bice was born December 9, 1937 died September 30, 2021.
Jean was an amazing seamstress by trade, early on in factory work and later as a very successful entrepreneur within the trade. She never shied away from a challenge and always charged in with a “let’s get it done” attitude. Her philosophy with everyone she met was I will like you until you give me a reason not to. She felt everyone should be encouraged to have their own opinion but not to use it to lord it over others. She loved lively debate, but was quick to back away from argumentative personalities. She was a progressive thinker. She always looked ahead and sought what would make things better and more equitable for everyone. She loved her country and believed in democracy. She was quick to defend those without a defender. She always knew what she wanted out of life and consistently headed toward a means to that end. What she wanted was not wealth, possessions or recognition, it was family. She never missed an opportunity to voice her desire to have all of her kids and their families close by.
She loved the outdoors. This was one of the consistencies of her life. As a young woman she loved to sun bathe. She loved flowers, particularly impatiens, coxcomb, day lilies, and in recent years she learned to love zinnias. We planted a bed of zinnias directly out from her chair on the porch where she sat every day. The butterflies flocked to them as did the humming birds and wild parakeets. She kept track of the wildlife and “reported” to us daily. Even in the winter months, we put a heated blanket in her chair on the porch and continued to sit outside. Again, she loved the outdoors.
Mama Jean’s happiest days were family get togethers. Those days always included laughter, good food and likely a lively game of ROOK where banter and teasing always came into play. As kids she always taught us to play to win. When she taught us games she never cut us a break but challenged us to play hard and again, play to win. Another game that has stuck as a family tradition is playing SPOONS. We played it when we were young, and as adults we still enjoy it. We have fined tuned it to only being able to speak when you have your “spatula microphone” to speak through. And it wasn’t unlikely that before the game was over, someone would end up diving over the table and injuries weren’t unusual. She frequently reminded us that we had something not everyone had in this life. We had family that chose to be with one another for fun. Family vacations meant everyone came. Outings included all of us.
Jean was a veracious reader. She ALWAYS had a book at her side. In her prime she would read a novel every day or at best every other day. She loved playing Bridge as well, although this wasn’t a family game, she had friends who regularly played together. The whole family got in on the egg sandwich in the afternoon thing. She liked it heavy on mayo, two slices of cheese and two fried eggs. Even the grandkids got in on this. As long as we can remember this was her standard middle of the day fare!
She was and is loved dearly.
She is a native of Souwilpa, Alabama and of the Episcopal faith.
She is preceded in death by her mother, Minnie Olivia Cunningham Ivy (1908-1992) and her father, William Grover Ivy (1896-1973), her brother Milton Ivy (1931-2013), and her sister Betty Ivy Hicks (1935-1995).
She is survived by her brother, Billy Ivy and her loving children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; daughters, Dorothy Stokley Bice Payne (Roy), Betty Jo Bice Prewitt (Bobby) and her son, Smedlee Bice (Michelle). Her grandchildren, Michelle Payne Murray, (Danny and children Robert, Jessica and Danielle), Matthew Payne, (son Noah) Noelle Payne Batey, (Lebron and children Michael, Daniel, Lillian and Leah), Nathan Payne, and Felicia Bice Earnshaw, (daughter Piper Grace).
And last but not least, Bella, starting out as Roy and Dorothy’s pet but immediately becoming “Mama Jean’s” adopted canine child. Bella was her faithful companion that she graciously shared with all of us.
Additionally, the stray cat that found us, Mama named Soloman. He adored Mama. Near the end, we had to keep him outside because he loved mom so much that she couldn’t get around without him weaving in and out of her legs loving on her.
She was surrounded by love as she passed into the hands of Jesus.
Graveside services will be held at Lake Hills Memorial Gardens Friday, October 1, 2021 at 2:00 PM ET.