By Kristin Finney
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Betty Thomas has been in the Madison, Lee area all of her life. This is where she was born and raised. She grew up south of the interstate in the Midway community. She went to elementary school at Lee and then later she graduated from Madison High.
While she was in high school, Betty worked for the Van. H. Priest Dime Store. Betty said of working at the Dime Store, “I enjoyed working there very much. It was working there that got me through high school.”
Not long after graduating from high school, Betty married her husband, Elvoye. Elvoye had worked as a farmer with his dad growing up. After they got married, the two then moved to Madison. Elvoye worked for Winn Dixie for a short while after they were married. He then went to work for W.C. Copeland Gas Company. He worked there for 41 years. He later retired from Suburban Propane.
After getting married, Betty took a job in Madison working for Larry and Emma Pinson at Madison Cleaners. She worked in the front of Madison Cleaners and did check in for laundry and dry cleaning and check out. After working at Madison Cleaners, Betty went to work for Cohens Store. Cohens was a variety store that came to Madison for a while. She worked there and became manager for a while.
Then she decided to stay at home and start her family. She and Elvoye had two children: a son, Keith, who currently lives in Lakeland, and a daughter, Revonda Frith, who lives in Madison. Elvoye, Betty, Revonda and her husband Glen, are now all co-owners of Studstill Hardware and Lumber.
After starting their family, Betty went to work at several different places in town. It was then that she began working at Madison Primary School. “I was one of the first aides that they hired to be an aid to a teacher. I worked with a teacher for two years, then became secretary and bookkeeper for the school,” said Betty. She retired from that position after 35 years.
Betty remembers a Madison quite different from the one we know today. “The town was booming back then. All of the stores were full. Up and down the streets was filled with people. Even though country folks didn’t go to town but about once a week, I always looked forward to getting to do that. The streets are so bare in Madison now compared to what they used to be.” She then added, “I love Madison County with all of my heart.”
Anyone interested in being interviewed for this article can call 973-4141 and make an appointment with Kristin Finney, or may drop by Greene Publishing, Inc. any day before noon. Those interviewed must have lived in Madison for a large portion of their life, and be able to recall a few things that have changed since that time.