|Born in Cotton Valley, March 12, 1895, Mrs. Alford was graduated from Cotton Valley High School, Mansfield Female College, and Nursing School in Waco, Texas, in the ‘20’s. A graduate of Scarritt College for Christian Workers in Nashville, Tennessee, she was cornmissioned as a missionary nurse to China. In July of 1931 she went by ship (three weeks) to Shanghai and from there to Huchow Methodist Hospital for language study, also teaching English to Chinese nurse trainees. Later she had the job of training student nurses in Huchow and other hospitals. She served in China (having one furlough) until forced to evacuate in 1941 because of the increasing risk caused by the Japanese invasion of China.
Ava Morton continued to serve in the mission field, working in several of Louisiana’s mission institutions, finally working in Charity Hospital in New Orleans. It was there that she met “Brother Jay”, Methodist Chaplain in the hospital. After what she called a “whirlwind courtship” they were married and established a home in New Orleans, remaining there until their move to Minden in the 1950’s. She was widely known over the conference, having spoken in local churches and at conferences during furlough, and serving in summer camp as camp nurse.
Ava and Jay were devoted to and served in the Pine Grove United Methodist as long as physically able. She continued to attend and serve there after her husband’s death and until her health failed in 1981. Truly, as James Poole quoted at her funeral service, she was a “handmaid of the Lord.” (Luke 1:38)
Services were conducted at Rose-Neath Funeral Home in Minden, May 30, with Reverend James Poole of First United Methodist Church, Minden, officiating, assisted by Reverend Franklin Chlastak of the Pine Grove Church. Surviving were nieces - - Margaret Morton Davis, Mary Vashti Morton Taylor, Frances Hilburn Utz, Mildred Hilburn, and nephews - - Dale and James Morton, Meredith Hilburn, and Robert Morton, grand nieces and nephews, and cousins.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1984; p. 200 By Mary Searles, friend of 55 years|