Rose Petals: Jency McMurrey Runnels & a New Centenarian
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
It is my pleasure to pay tribute to my mother-in-law, Mrs. Frank (Jency) Runnels, who recently turned 100! She is an amazing woman, still very alert, wise, cheerful, relatively healthy, and full of life. She has lived in the same house since 1940, in South San Antonio; and she lives alone, with someone going in to care for her just three mornings a week!
In July, Albert Flores featured her on WOAI San Antonio Living, and we gave her a delightful birthday party which was attended by some 100 people whose lives she has touched.
Mrs. Runnels, (Mamu to all her grandchildren), was born Jency Bernice McMurrey in Sweethome, TX, just a little outside the town of Yoakum. Her parents, Martha Williams and Arthur McMurrey, had grown up in that same community and married in the nearby Pilot Grove Church. Eventually, the young McMurrey family settled in Charlotte where they began farming. An interesting note, the Williams’ had family members, the Keys, who lived in Floresville. There were three brothers and a sister who had moved there from Virginia to farm. They settled in a triangle to protect one another, and the sister taught school in the country around Floresville. One brother, Bob Key, died, and the children were too little to take the buggy to school, so Martha Williams went there to live for a year to take the children to school, and subsequently, she finished high school there in Floresville. Then she went back home and eventually married Arthur McMurrey.
In Charlotte, the McMurreys farmed for several years, but draughts and then a hurricane made farming less than prosperous, so the family moved to South San Antonio, TX, where Arthur McMurrey went to work at Kelly Field. Jency was twelve and her younger sister, Doris, was eight at the time; and she hasn’t left that community since 1924!
Jency graduated from South San ISD and went on to attend college at Mary Hardin Baylor. She began teaching in the same three-story building where she had attended school. And in that building, she met and soon married Frank C. Runnels, who left his own legacy in San Antonio as a successful basketball coach and administrator. Mrs. Runnels taught third grade for 41 years, most of those years in South San. One cannot begin to count the number of lives she touched, with her strong sense of values, love of the children, and talented method of teaching. And throughout the years, beginning at age 13, she played the piano and organ for her church and countless weddings and funerals.
Mrs. Runnels has two children, Franklin, (another successful basketball coach, administrator, and educator) and Martha, four grandchildren, eleven great grandchildren and two step great grandchildren. They all love their Mamu, a wonderful mother, grandmother, and mother-in-law, and all of our lives are so richly blessed by her love and presence.