Arola Gardner Sermons was born on June 3, 1926 in Milan to the late Fred and Almeda Gardner. She was part of a large family; six sisters and three brothers proceeded her in death. Arola was educated in the public school in Georgia and then attended Tuskegee University where she received a degree in Home Economics. She later received a degree in Elementary Education from Tennessee State University.
After graduating from college, she married the late Deacon Clarence V. Sermons, Sr. on June 17, 1951. They were married for almost 43 years before his passing in 1994. To their union they had four children: Deborah, Clarice, Lawana and Clarence.
Mrs. Sermons began her career as a Home Economic teacher and ended the 33 years of teaching as an Elementary teacher. She loved gardening and was said to have a green thumb – that gift she passed on to her daughter, Deborah. Mrs. Sermons was a long time member of Magnolia Garden Club and the Eastern Star. She served as a deaconess of Thankful New Jersey Missionary Baptist Church and as a church clerk for many years.
She spent the last twelve years of her life in Miami, Florida under the loving care and supervision of her daughter, Clarice and son-in-law, David. She also received excellent care from Tillman’s Retirement Home (Shonda). Mrs. Sermons attended Second Baptist Church of Richmond Heights whenever she was able.
Mrs. Sermons created loving and happy memories with family and friends and will be missed by so many.
Survivors include four children, Deborah Nails (Larry) of Baxley, Clarice Warner (David) of Miami, Fla., Lawana Ash’Shaheed (Vincent) of Douglasville and Clarence Sermons, Jr. (Lucille) of Sumter, S.C.; two brothers, Sammie Lee Gardner of San Antonio, TX and Eugene Gardner of Columbus; two brothers-in-law, Amos Sermons and Arletha Sermons (Gladys); two sisters-in-law, Sallie Sermons and Arizona Sermons; seven grandchildren, Heather, Jason (Sybil), Clarence III, Jonathan, Brian, Odessa and Zachary; five great-grandchildren; Tyler, Porsha, Bryce, Daniel, Addison and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services were held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, February 11 at Thankful New Jersey Missionary Baptist Church with the Rev. Dr. B. J. Virgil officiating. Interment followed in Rachel Baptist Church Cemetery in Appling County.
Active pallbearers were grandsons and nephews.
Musical selections were rendered at Thankful New Jersey Baptist Church by Odessa Nails and the choir.
Arrangements were under the direction of Paradise Memorial Funeral Home of Richmond Heights, Florida. Local arrangements were conducted by Brown Funeral Home.