Obituaries week of Jan. 5

Merlene Owen Nesmith 


Merlene Owen Nesmith was born in 1933, the youngest daughter of H.E. Owen and Merle T. Owen, in the Massey community of southwest Morgan County. Her father was a well-respected farmer, and much of her early life was centered around farm life. Her mother instilled in her the importance of family and friends and was quick with a smile and a laugh.  

Merlene attended Massey Elementary and Falkville High School, where she was on the cheer squad and had many friends.  

In 1951 she married Jimmy Nesmith and began a love story that lasted 66 years. Jimmy was in the Army, and they began life together in South Carolina. When he was discharged, they moved back to Decatur, and in February 1953, they were blessed with their first son, Randall Hugh Nesmith.  

Jimmy went to work at Chemstrand in Decatur. In June 1957, another son was born, Stuart Ray Nesmith. While the boys were young, Merlene was a stay-at-home mom.  

In the early 1960s, they built a home on Roan Road in Hartselle, where they lived until 2000. When her children were teenagers, she returned to college and earned a degree in medical records. She worked at Hartselle Medical Center and Parkway for many years. 

Merlene loved her children and grandchildren and was happiest during Christmas, when all of her family was at home. She was a masterful cook and baker and prepared everyone’s favorites.  

She and Jimmy were faithful Christians and were active in Westview Church of Christ and, in their later years, Somerville Road Church of Christ. Many preachers ate at Merlene’s table when they came for a gospel meeting. 

After retirement, Merlene and Jimmy traveled all across this great country, visiting all but two states. They loved being together, no matter where they were. Merlene enjoyed playing cards in her later years and could be counted on for bridge with her friends.  

They moved to a new home in Lake South subdivision in Hartselle, and Merlene really enjoyed being there. Her many friends and neighbors cared for her like she was family. 

After many years of sickness, she passed from this life into the heaven she had prepared herself for on Dec. 27.  

The family would like to thank Keelie Grace Balch, Hospice of the Valley, Alabama Homecare Specialists, Dr. Lindsey Smith and many others who cared for our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. 

Survivors include two sons, Randall Hugh Nesmith and Stuart Nesmith (Rhonda); two grandchildren, Hannah Sistrunk and Robyn Hyler; and four great-grandchildren. 

Funeral service for Merlene Owen Nesmith was held Dec. 29 at Peck Funeral Home Chapel with Gary Patton and Bill Hall officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing. Burial was in Hartselle Memory Gardens.  


Shearie Leigh Surovich Woods 


A memorial funeral service for Shearie Leigh Surovich Woods, 64, was held Jan. 2 at 2:30 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home Chapel, with Bro. Phil Warnick officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing.  

Mrs. Woods died Dec. 25 at her residence. She was born June 3, 1957, in Winston County to Donald R. Surovich and Mae E. Sullins Surovich. 

Shearie grew up in Winston County, graduating from Elkmont High School in 1975. She later became a well-known Realtor/broker for more than 25 years. She loved spending time with her grandchildren and hosting family get-togethers. She and her husband, Stan, had a small farm, where she loved to operate a bulldozer, tractor and mowers and tend to the cows, chickens and her garden.  

She really enjoyed cruises and traveling. Her favorite trip was to Hawaii.  

Shearie was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer in October 2019.  She fought hard against it, but in the end, the cancer won. Shearie went home to be with her Lord Dec. 25. 

She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, Terry Surovich. 

Survivors include her husband, Stanley Woods, Hartselle; daughters, Brandy Thornton (Jason), Laurel, Miss., and Bethany Siniard, West Central; stepsons, Preston Woods and Kevin Woods; grandchildren, Alexia Siniard, Gracie Siniard, Mackenzie Bolan (Payton), Bentley McCart, Andrew McCart and Reagan Siniard; four step-grandchildren; brother, Rickie Surovich (Theresa); and closest friend, Susan Holt.
II Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 


Doyle Dobbins
Funeral service for Doyle Dobbins, 82, was held December 31 at 1 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Cody Landis and Bro. Ralph Henderson officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing. Burial was in Johnson Chapel Cemetery.   

Mr. Dobbins died Dec. 28 at Cullman Regional Medical Center. He was born Aug. 12, 1939, in Morgan County to Bill Dobbins and Daisy Geneva Gamble Dobbins. He was a truck driver for Patrick Industries prior to his retirement. He loved his trucking career and farming with his John Deer tractors.  

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Charles, Tommy and Patrick Dobbins; and sisters, Martha Ann Newlin and Brenda Wynn. 

Survivors include his daughters, Donna Dobbins Shipley and Ca’Sandra “Sandy” Dobbins Wilson (Joseph); son, Wayne “Buddy” Dobbins (Dana); special friend, Beverly Dobbins; sister, Billie Way; sister-in-law, Rose Mary Dobbins; grandchildren, Jeremy Shipley, Reagon Rucker, Scott Dobbins, Brenda Dobbins, Travis Dobbins (Brianna), Jamie Meyer (Paul), and Samantha Gorney (Brandon); and 15 great-grandchildren. 

Pallbearers were Doyle Travis Dobbins, Scott Dobbins, Jeremy Shipley, Jeremy Shipley II, Kirk Randolph and Kevin Long.
Honorary pallbearers were Bud Burchell and Jerry Randolph. 


Dennis Stephenson
Funeral service for Dennis Stephenson, 56, was held Jan. 1 at 3 p.m. at Peck Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Joe Nuss and Bro. Mike Eaton officiating. Peck Funeral Home directed. Burial was in Mt. Zion Cemetery. 

Mr. Stephenson died Dec. 29 at Decatur Morgan Hospital. He was born Jan. 27, 1965, in Wayne County, Michigan, to Joseph Carl Stephenson and Velia Mae Prater Stephenson. 

He was employed by Nucor Tubular Products, as a slitter operator, prior to his passing. He was a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Hartselle. He loved his family and children and enjoyed playing ball and other sports.   

He was preceded in death by his father. 

Survivors include his wife, Lynne Stephenson, Hartselle; mother, Velia Mae Prater Stephenson, Falkville; son, Eric Stephenson, Hartselle; brothers, Kenny Stephenson, Falkville, and George Stephenson, Falkville; and sisters, Sue Kimbril (Jerry), Vinemont, Gloria Hogan (Danny), Falkville, and Wendy Sinyard (Bryan), Crane Hill. 

Pallbearers were Mike Lott, Stephen Hogan, Darrell Avans, Tim Moore, Cade Grimes and Michael Staten. Honorary pallbearers were Blaine Sinyard and Marty Prater. 


Joe Mack Edmondson 


A graveside funeral service and interment for Joe Mack Edmondson, 87, was held Dec. 31 at 10 a.m. at Piney Grove Cemetery with Bro. Stephen Cannon officiating and Peck Funeral Home directing. 

Mr. Edmondson died Dec. 30 at his residence. He was born April 8, 1934, in Cullman County to Thomas Arthur Edmondson and Berith Ann McCroskey Edmondson. 

He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Falkville, a member of the Falkville Volunteer Fire Department and a member of the Morgan County Baptist Association Disaster Relief Team. He also volunteered with the Huntsville Botanical Garden Galaxy of Lights.  

Mr. Edmondson was a veteran of the United States Air Force. He was employed by Wolverine Tube as a crane operator prior to his retirement. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Arthur Harold Edmondson. 

Survivors include his wife, Frances Richards Edmondson, Falkville; sons, Gregory Edmondson, Falkville, and Michael Edmondson (Denise), Good Hope; daughter, Maria Edmondson Whitmire (Brian), Hartselle; and six grandchildren. 

Pallbearers were deacons of First Baptist Church of Falkville. 

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to MCBA Disaster Relief, 1410 State St. NW, Hartselle, AL 35640. 


Ricky Ballenger
Funeral service for Ricky Ballenger, 67, was held Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. Peck Funeral Home Chapel with Bro. Ben Bates officiating. Burial was in Double Springs Cemetery. 

Mr. Ballenger died Dec. 31, 2021, at Decatur Morgan Hospital.
He was born Nov. 21, 1954, in Walker County to Arthur Clifford Ballenger and Hettie Francis Day Ballenger. He was employed as a foreman for the Golden Road Chicken Processing Plant prior to his passing.  

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and three sisters. 

Survivors include a brother, Michael Ballenger, and numerous extended family members.
Pallbearers were family and friends.




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