By Jim Kitchens
The Kitchens family’s celebration of the century of their matriarch’s extraordinary life continued during this past weekend.
Edith Kitchens, whose 100th birthday occurred on July 24, was honored by a family barbeque at the home of Warren and Rebecca (Kitchens) Thornton on Saturday evening, August 2, followed by a second family gathering at the home of Mary and Jim Kitchens on Sunday, July 3.
Present for both occasions were Mimi’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren: Suzy Finch, Grant (7) and James (2); Matt Kitchens, Trax (5) and Emma (3) Matt’s wife Casey and daughter Eydi were attending a family wedding in TN; Mollie and Dan Kitchens; Rebecca and Warren Thornton, Will (11) and Wes (10); Jessica and John, Gracie (9), Jack (6), and Luke (2) all of Crystal Springs.
Out-of-town guests included Connie Coit Kitchens and Dr. Ben Kitchens of Dallas, TX, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Kitchens and Mr. Brandon Kitchens, all of Huntsville, AL, Mary Eleanor Trepagnier of Covington, LA, Mr. and Mrs. David Wilkinson and Mr. and Mrs. Joey Greer, all of Brandon, MS, and Angel Greer of Hattiesburg, MS.
Edith Fullilove Kitchens was born in Vaiden, Mississippi, in 1914, and has lived in Crystal Springs since her marriage to the late Lloyd Wade Kitchens in 1939. She and Mr. Kitchens had three sons: Jim Kitchens, Dick Kitchens, and the late Dr. Lloyd Wade Kitchens, Jr. Before and after Mr. Kitchens’s military service in World War II, Edith and Lloyd operated several businesses and farms in and around Crystal Springs and Mr. Kitchens served multiple terms as a member of the Board of Aldermen and as Mayor. Mayor Kitchens died in office in 1976.
In addition to working in family businesses, Mrs. Kitchens has served as an elementary school teacher, a piano teacher, and she set upon a lifetime of ministry as a church musician when she began playing the piano for services at Vaiden Baptist Church at the age of twelve.
Her musical activities at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs commenced in 1940 but were interrupted during the Second World War. When she and Mr. Kitchens returned to Crystal Springs to resume their lives, they also resumed their church lives, which included Mrs. Kitchens’s regular presence at the organ and at the piano (the latter being her preferred instrument)
Well known throughout Mississippi as a superb piano teacher, she has taught countless children and adults to play, retiring at age 99 due to failing eyesight. Nevertheless, she still has two students: a grandson and great-granddaughter. She remains active in the McDowell Music Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, her family, and her church.