Alice Davis McGinnis, a lifelong resident of Martin County, KY, was born September 12, 1928 on Laurel Fork at Davella, KY, the only daughter and baby child, of the late Hodley and Eva Mae (Evie) Goble Davis. She was a child of the earth – she found no greater pleasure in life as a youngster than working in the “new ground” getting seeds in the ground to help with the family’s sustenance. Her whole life through, she loved planting and harvesting and savoring the bounty of God’s good earth. It was the way of life on Laurel Fork where Hodley and Evie where, with their baby girl and two sons, Luther and Cleatis (both now deceased) boldly faced life’s challenges as a family. Alice’s earthly challenges ceased on April 24, 2020 at her home in Inez, leaving behind a legacy of notable accomplishments.
As a youngster, Alice was an eager student. Her first 8 years of formal education were at the one room school at the mouth of Laurel Fork where she enjoyed the walk back and forth each day with cousins and neighbors as well as her studies.
From Laurel Fork, the eager student, ventured out into the world to the “big city” of Inez where she became a proud Inez Indian and graduated with a high academic standing. Her unique gift that classmates seemed to remember most about her was her amazing gift of memorization – recitation. In addition to measuring up to the academic challenges, Alice thoroughly enjoyed competition games she and her classmates frequently engaged in. Her vivacious pursuit of championships continued throughout life into the Senior Olympics where she has been a legendary contender for more than two decades winning dozens of gold, silver and bronze medals in annual games from Elizabethtown to Pikeville and all in between for rivalries in free-throw shooting, horseshoes, corn hole, bowling, pool, and many other events (she even had her own pool stick and custom bowling ball). Year before last, at the age of 89, she brought home 5 medals from the Senior awards banquet. How she loved the games, how she loved life, AND she really loved to win. Shooting pool or bowling with her grandchildren, or squirming through a close rummy game – she competed to win, no matter who the opponent.
From high school, the willing scholar proceeded to Pikeville College where she completed the required curriculum to teach in the rural one-room school system in Martin County after which she held positions at her alma mater, Laurel Fork, and she also taught in the Wolf Creek School which was too far from her home to walk so she rode a mule on her mission to impart knowledge and inspire her students to “give your all in life and be all you can be” – which is what Alice emblazoned in her living as a lasting epitaph.
After a short-lived career as an educator, Alice married Wallace McGinnis, a handsome young veteran who also grew up on Laurel Fork – wife and mother then became her world. They were blessed with six children, all of which are still living. From oldest to youngest they are: Blanchie, Barbie, Normie, Teddy, Patty and Ruby Ann. Their one daughter-in-law is Connie Prater. Their sons-in law are John Kenneth (Doc) Goble, Phillip Kirk, Bruce Young, Garrett Blackburn and John Auxier. Nothing pleased Wallace and Alice more than having the young’uns and the “in-laws and out-laws” gather in for food, laughter and lots of pickin’ and grinnin’ which is as much a part of the heritage in the McGinnis family as the love of good country grub. Alice didn’t play music but she loved to listen for hours and she would join in the singing with her sweet, soft alto voice.
The deep love and the traditions of the family heritage have been instilled and are passing down to the next generations of Wallace and Alice’s offspring, and there’s a bunch of them. Twelve grandchildren: Wally (Shonna) Goble, Alice Marie (David) Alexander, Mandy (Dwayne) Sweeney, Brandon (Arika) Young, David (Stacy) McGinnis, Mark (Shanna) McGinnis, Jennifer (Richie) Blackburn, Stephanie Fields, Bobby Michael (Elaine) Fields, John David Auxier II (fiancée, Jennifer), Eva Susanne (Nick) Leckie, and Jerrad Phillip Auxier. Eleven great grandchildren: Jessie Morrison, LR McCoy, Elijah Fields, Chloe Savannah Fields, Lawson Young, Jagger Davis Young, Rhett Young, Mason McGinnis, Reagan McGinnis, Riley McGinnis, and Connor McGinnis. A special mention of Oretha McGinnis Preece who has adopted Granny Alice this past year and added so much color to her life with crafts, puzzles, walks, academic exercises, even developed their gifts as a singing duo – they’ve laughed and played and even done some work!! And, of course, there’s Sofie Cat who always needs a little TLC.
Granny Alice has been blessed to watch her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren grow. She’s watched the family tree grow from a sprout, starting with the love she and Wallace shared and their common goal to raise honest, hard-working, caring, sharing, think-for-yourself kinda young’uns. Each generation continues to be led by the same example. The tree bears much fruit and Granny Alice has been blessed to live 91 years and share in the bounty of blessings in the Wallace and Alice McGinnis family tree.
Alice once again became a career woman after Wallace passed in 1989. No longer riding a mule to work, she got her driver’s license at the age of 62 and took a position at the Circuit Court Clerk’s Office in Inez where she worked for more than 15 years. She became an icon that everyone looked for on her daily walks to the post office, rain or shine, to get the Court’s mail. For decades she was widely lauded as the “workinest woman” in the county for her gardening feats -- plowing with her miniature Mantis tiller, digging with her short-handled mattock, hoeing, harvesting, even on the hottest of days – 105 degrees – no sweat. Yep, she was a worker. Last year she crashed her daughter Barb’s 50-year class reunion by signing up to help with catering and dishwashing just to visit with everyone – after all, she was just 91 years old. She is survived by one sister-in-law, Nellie Grace Davis, who is now 90 years old and Grace, like Alice, truly believes you’re only as old as you think and age is not a valid excuse for not trying almost anything.
In addition to being the family matriarch for 30 years, Granny Alice has most importantly been “Sister Alice” – a sister by spiritual birth into the Family of God which was the greatest message she taught by her example -- live for Jesus, live like Jesus, and live eternally. This is not the end – only the beginning. She truly loved attending church, the fellowship, studying God’s word, blending her voice with all the other voices in praise and worship to a Holy, omnipotent God. She lives beyond what our eyes can see. We still feel her love. We still see the work she did with her hands. We see her in the faces of her offspring and in her example that has been taught by a faithful mother, “lead by example, fight the fight of faith all the way to the end, live in peace knowing that God is over all and in all and He will never leave us nor forsake us. Neither height, nor depth – not even death can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”
We love you, Mommy. God loves you, and He loves your children. We will be alright. You can rest easy and keep smiling that warm radiant smile that illuminates your lovely face and makes your warm brown eyes shine so bright. Job – WELL DONE!
Funeral arrangements are under the direction Crum Funeral Home. There will be a private outdoor memorial service conducted by members of Alice's family at the Goble Cemetery at Davella, KY.
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