Jan. 31, 1928 – Oct. 25, 2021
Bobby Jean Pope Cumbie, 93, of Greenville, was welcomed to her heavenly home Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. Mrs. Cumbie was born Jan. 31, 1928, to the late Robert Bertram and Mary Calloway Pope near the Bolling community in south Butler County.
Following a happy childhood that revolved around her parents’ country store, Mrs. Cumbie graduated from Greenville High School in 1946 and went on to study music and social work at Huntingdon College. She graduated from Huntingdon in just three years, and on May 29, 1949, married her high school sweetheart, Kenneth Cumbie.
In May of 1952, the Cumbies welcomed their first daughter, Linda Susan, and just 12 months later, their second, Mollie Wess. Their third child and only son, Kenneth Pope, followed seven years later.
Mr. and Mrs. Cumbie were married almost 36 years until his death in 1985. Her extraordinary love and admiration for Kenneth continued another 36 and a half years until they were reunited in Heaven.
Mrs. Cumbie began a career in social work with the Butler County welfare department shortly after her college graduation. At the request of Mrs. Lillian Shell Morgan, Mrs. Cumbie embarked on a new career as a teacher at the one-room Chapman School in 1963.
She would spend the following 39 years doing the work she dearly loved and was clearly called to do. Mrs. Cumbie taught three generations of Butler County children, first at W.O. Parmer Elementary School, then at Greenville Academy and finally, for more than 25 years at Fort Dale Academy.
She took special joy in teaching Alabama history, with particular and equal enthusiasm for the state’s native people groups and the wartime experiences of local World War II veterans. She retired from teaching in 2002.
Mrs. Cumbie was a faithful member of Bolling Methodist Church from childhood until the church closed in the early 2000s. She served the church for decades as pianist and was a driving force behind the annual homecoming celebration for more than 30 years.
Mrs. Cumbie spent the last decade of her life in fellowship with dear friends at Rhodes Chapel United Methodist Church, where she served as pianist until failing health rendered her unable to do so at age 90.
Mrs. Cumbie would be pleased to be remembered for her faith in Jesus Christ, love for her family and excellence both as an educator and a friend. Her family will cherish sweet memories made with “Mamaw” in her favorite places: collecting shells on the beach in Destin, singing along as she played hymns on her living room piano, enjoying pool parties in her backyard and listening to Willie Nelson sing just about anything, anywhere.
Mrs. Cumbie was preceded in death by her parents, R.B. and Mary Pope; her husband, Kenneth Cumbie; and three sons-in-law, Brooks Barganier, Jimmy Gardner and Donnie Pouncey.
She is survived by her three children, Susan Barganier, Mollie Pouncey and Kenneth Cumbie, all of Greenville; seven grandchildren, Matthew Barganier (Oana Cimpean), of Tampa, Fla.; Mary Catherine Gaston (Wes), of Americus, Ga.; Josh Gardner (Hilarie), of Forest Home; Joy Beth Smith (Dominic Sims) of Birmingham; Caleb Gardner (Sarah Ellen) of Greenville; Abbie Ballew (Brad) of Forest Home; and Anne Cumbie Randle (Franklin), of Auburn; 16 great-grandchildren; a special nephew, Larry Cumbie, and numerous other, beloved relatives, friends and former students.
The family extends heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Jeanora Presley of Forest Home, the angel who, alongside Mollie, lovingly and compassionately cared for Mrs. Cumbie throughout her final year on earth. In addition, the family thanks Mrs. Judy Campbell, Dr. Brandon Slagley and the staff of Southern Care Hospice for their devoted care.
A graveside service was held at 11 a.m. in the family plot in the west end of Magnolia Cemetery with Dunklin & Daniels Funeral Home coordinating. Mrs. Cumbie’s grandsons and grandsons-in-law served as pall bearers.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to one of the following funds: the Bolling Methodist Church Homecoming Fund at Whitney Bank or the Bobby Jean Cumbie Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Abbie Ballew, at First Citizens Bank of Greenville.