|Lena Owens Sibley, a native of Tangipahoa Parish, was born February 24, 1906, and after an extended illness, passed away on December 7, 1984. She had been married to the Reverend Pleasant W. Sibley for fifty-nine years and nine months. Six children were born of this marriage——four boys: Pleasant, Jr., Howard, Glenn and Ralph, and two girls: Gloria Yvonne Morel and Katherine Behrman. Prior to his call to the ministry, Reverend Sibley worked as a machinist in a sawmill. Answering the call was not easy as he and Mrs. Sibley had two children and he was faced with the job of going back to high school. Although her husband was not a preacher when they married, she quickly adjusted to life in the parsonage.
She never sought places of leadership in the local church, choosing rather to support her husband and be a good mother to her children. The ministry of this family was quite unique in that Reverend Sibley never served a charge outside of what is known as the Florida Parishes, and most of the charges he served had three or four churches on the circuit. The ministry of this dedicated couple was begun in the early 1930s, at the very heart of the depression. These circuits only paid from two to four hundred dollars per year, so Mrs. Sibley’s job was to stretch the few dollars they received as far as possible. A garden was a must so the entire family pitched in to help make it one of the finest in the community. Needless to say, Mrs. Sibley spent much time in canning vegetables and preserving fruit.
Indicative of the quality and effectiveness of this parsonage family is the fact that they served one circuit four different times; another three different times, and most of their pastorates were for five or six years. Preachers’ kids, and I am one of them, do not always make the best church members when they grow up, but when they do it is usually due to the training they received at home. The fact that these six children are substantial members of the church in the communities where they reside is a tribute to this dedicated mother. Those of us who were close friends over the years know that she was more than just a housekeeper and mother. Upon occasion she talked with my wife about how much she had relied upon her faith and how much prayer had meant to her. She was never one to make a show of her love and 1oyalty to her Lord, but one only had to be around her a little while to know that her life had quality and depth that came only from a closeness with her Lord.
A loyal and devoted wife and faithful mother has now moved up to a full time enjoyment of her Lord and His Kingdom.
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1985; p. 255-256 By A. Jerome Cain|