On Sunday evening, January 31, 2021, Sarah Anne Bennett Debter, 98, was called to her heavenly home while surrounded by her four children and one grandchild, who were singing the Hallelujah Chorus. Sarah Anne was born on April 26, 1922 in Hartselle, Alabama. She was preceded in death by her husband Edmond Eldon Debter, parents Lucy Anne Stewart Bennett, and Frederick Arthur Bennett Sr., and her two brothers Jimmie Bennett and Fred Bennett, Jr. Sarah Anne is survived by four children, Dianne Debter (Tim Lee- deceased), Ronald Debter (Lisa Adams), Charles Debter (Dawna), and Lucy Courington (Larry Hoagland); grandchildren Ashley Thorne (Mark), Andrew Debter (Lauren), Addison Debter, and Sarah Catherine Courington; two great grandchildren, John Thorne and baby-girl Debter, on the way.
She was a resident of Sheffield, AL and a member of Sheffield First United Methodist Church for 65 years. She had a strong faith in God. For 30-plus years, with close friends, she played bridge and solved the world’s problems. She, like her husband, was an avid supporter and lover of Sheffield and the state of Alabama. Music was of utmost importance to Sarah Anne. She played the piano by ear, sang in the church choir, served on the music committee, played piano for Sunday School, and was a huge supporter of all music in the Shoals area, especially the W. C. Handy Festival! Her eclectic love of music spanned from the 40’s to recent times. While at Auburn, during WWll, she wrote a song called “Lonesome and Blue,” to show her love for her sweetheart who was overseas in the South Pacific. The “Auburn Knights” played her song for the dance lead-out during the Big Band era.
Sarah Anne graduated from Auburn University in 1942 with a degree in Home Economics, where she was a member of Phi Omega Pi Sorority, and worked in Cullman, AL as a Home Demonstration Agent. After WWll, she married Ed while he was a student at the University of Alabama. She then worked for the Bureau of Business Research at the University. After Ed’s graduation, they moved to Monroeville, AL, and later Shelbyville, TN, where she played piano for a dance school. In Sheffield, she worked as a PE teacher for Sheffield City Schools. Later, she was a teacher, social worker, and then Director for Colbert Co. Head Start. She loved to learn and continued her education at UNA in Florence. Throughout her life she was an avid reader, loved words, writing, and doing crossword puzzles. In recent years she enjoyed using her computer, and loved remembering and sharing her Stewart and Bennett family history.
Sarah Anne was a vibrant and loving person to all she knew! She was a wonderful mother and grandmother who lived every day as an example for her children. She found great pleasure in watching birds and enjoying nature on the Tennessee River and the family farm, her father’s birthplace, that we fondly call “The Mountain.” Sarah Anne Bennett Debter will live in our hearts forever.
On Friday, February 5, 2021 services will be held at First United Methodist Church-Huntsville, 120 Greene Street, Huntsville, AL 35801. Visitation at noon; Memorial Service at 1:00 PM in the sanctuary; graveside service at 3:30 PM at Cullman City Cemetery, 812 9th Avenue SW, Cullman, AL 35055. Face covers and physical distancing should be maintained during services.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be given to: Sheffield First United Methodist Church, 701 N. Montgomery Avenue, Sheffield, AL 35660, Sheffield Public Library, 316 Montgomery Avenue, Sheffield, AL 35660, or Huntsville First United Methodist Church, 120 Greene Street, Huntsville, AL 35801.