April 3, 2021
Martha Ann Nixon Puckett, age 81, passed away peacefully at home early on Good Friday, April 2, 2021, after a five-year struggle with dementia and additional recent complications from Parkinson’s disease. Ann was born on April 17, 1939, at her parents’ home in the Snow Hill Community of DeKalb County, a community in which she lived her entire life. She was known by many as Mrs. Puckett, the school teacher, and Miss Ann, the preschool Sunday School teacher and Girl Scout Leader.
Ann was a lifelong teacher, having started her professional teaching career at twenty years old at Laurel Hill in Lancaster, Tennessee, which was a one-room schoolhouse and where she taught students in all grades from primary to high school. Next, she and her husband, Hearon, moved to Bedford, Indiana, where they both taught at different local high schools for three years. When they moved back to Tennessee, Ann began teaching business and office education at DeKalb County High School, a job which she dearly loved.
After a 13-year break from teaching when her own children were young, Ann returned in 1983 as a Fifth Grade Science teacher at DeKalb Middle School, and continued teaching at DMS and later Northside Elementary until her retirement in 2002. During her science teaching years, Ann was well-known for her hands-on approach to learning and her classroom rabbits, baby chicks, hissing cockroaches and other critters. Ann also taught preschool Sunday School and Vacation Bible School at Indian Creek Baptist Church for over fifty years, a position that brought her great joy.
Ann became a passionate Girl Scout Leader and impacted the lives of many DeKalb County girls beginning when her daughter, Tecia, was in 2nd grade, and continuing until her younger daughter, Mary Ann, graduated high school. Ann especially loved directing the Jolly Jungle Day Camp every Summer, singing camp songs, and leading the friendship circle around the flag pole.
Ann was a 1956 graduate of DeKalb County High School, a 1959 graduate of Tennessee Tech University and later obtained a Master’s Degree in Business Education from the University of Tennessee.
Ann loved animals, nature, and cooking. She enjoyed gardening and preserving her harvest and also was an avid collector of recipes. She loved music and playing the piano, ukulele and autoharp, especially with her preschool Sunday School class.
Ann was an encourager, who always saw the good and the potential in everyone and everything. She loved nothing better than spending time with her family. She was a devoted wife, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, teacher, and friend, who will be sorely missed by all who knew her.
Ann is survived by her sister, Sue N. Puckett-Jernigan of Dowelltown; daughters, Tecia Lou Puckett Pryor and Mary Ann Puckett of Smithville; sons-in-law, John Pryor and Bill Harpole; grandchildren, Harrison Puckett Pryor, Tess Annabel Barton, Ben Jackson Barton and Camille Kate Barton; nephew, Jason Paul Puckett; former son-in-law, Jack Barton; and a loving team of in-home caregivers. Ann was predeceased by her husband of 61 years, Richard Hearon Puckett; her parents, William Hubert Nixon and Winnie Pearl Turner Nixon, and infant daughter, Kecia Ann Puckett.
Visitation will be on Monday, April 5, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, and Tuesday, April 6, 2021, from 12:00 until 2:00 p.m. at Indian Creek Baptist Church on Hurricane Ridge Road. Ann’s Celebration of Life Service will be held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021, at 2pm at Indian Creek Baptist Church, with burial to follow at DeKalb Memorial Gardens, all in Smithville, Tennessee.
Food will not be accepted in the funeral home kitchen at this time. We appreciate your understanding during this time of transition.
Donations in memory may be made to Indian Creek Baptist Church, Gideons International, DeKalb Animal Coalition, or to the charity of your choice in memory of Ms. Ann.
Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements