By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
World War I hadn’t even broken out yet when Aloise Hines was born in the small rural town of Hahira, Ga., on March 9, 1914. Her parents, Amos and Rebecca Hines, soon moved their family to Madison, where she has lived ever since, until recently, when she moved to Jacksonville to stay with some of her family members.
But Madison still holds a special place for her, as does her home church, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. She comes back to Madison once a month to attend church services there. One of her grandsons, Octavious Tookes, is also a minister, in addition to serving as the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Coordinator for the Madison County School District.
It was here in Madison that Aloise Hines met Joe Bevel, fell in love, got married and raised 11 children with him. In time, they would be blessed with 15 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and 14 great-great grandchildren.
After four of her own children had graduated from high school, she went back to high school herself and earned her high school diploma alongside two of her other children, but she didn’t stop there. She went on to continue her education at Suwannee River Junior College. After graduating from there, she worked for the Madison County School District for 24 years, finally retiring in 1996.
“I remember working with her in the guidance office at the Central School,” said Jo Willis, a retired educator herself. “She was a jewel.”
Her faith was always a big part of her life; she accepted Christ at a very young age and went on to serve her church, Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, for over 70 years as the church clerk. She also loved music, and spent many a Sunday singing in the church choir. She served as the choir president for 14 years.
With a century’s worth of family members, spanning multiple generations and now spread out to other towns, it took two birthday celebrations, one in Jacksonville on March 8, and the other here at the United Methodist Cooperative Ministries Center just a few days ago, so all her family members would have a chance to see her and wish her a happy birthday. A 100th birthday is something that not very few people get to celebrate, so both celebrations were very special occasions indeed.
In acknowledging the special quality of her milestone birthday and of the extraordinary life she has led, centered around her family and her faith, “a life well-lived,” the Madison County Commission adopted Resolution No. 2014-04-23 in her honor.