What would have been Mildred Owen Landry’s 100th birthday this Oct. 8, will serve as the day her generous contributions outlined in her final will and testament will be distributed to several Morgan County organizations.
According to Stratton Hicky, executor of Landry’s estate, about $280,000 will be given to various organizations, including The Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, The Morgan County Historical Society, also know as Heritage Hall, The Morgan County Board of Education (specifically for the school system’s music department), The Morgan County Library, The Morgan County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education and Madison Baptist Church.
Madison Baptist Church will receive the largest portion of the estate with a $70,000 contribution. The rest of the organizations will receive about $40,000 each. She also designated an additional $140,000 to be given to two other charities outside of Morgan County, the Georgia Baptist Convention of Collegiate Ministries, in Duluth, Georgia and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Each will receive about $70,000.
Hicky, who cared for Landry during the last several years of her life, is excited to distribute the funds to charitable community groups.
“She had a heart of gold and loved children, even though she and her husband we unable to have any children of their own,” said Hicky. “But in a sense, in Mildred I inherited another mother.”
Hicky’s mother was best friends with Mildred since the first grade in the 1920s.
“I knew her my whole life,” said Hicky. “She is what I could call a classic southern lady. She was raised southern in the Baptist church. She was a very devout Christian and lived a modest life with her husband.”
Landry passed away in September of 201, several years after her husband Sabin Landry passed. Within the next couple of weeks, the last of Landry’s estate will be liquidated before funds are distributed to the groups Landry chose to receive money.
According to Hicky, Landry chose organizations that held special meaning to her.
“She wanted to give to the Board of Education because her father, J.E. Owen, was the superintendent of schools back in the 1930s,” said Hicky.
Landry lived a long and remarkable life, dying just two week shy of her 99th birthday. According to her obituary, “Mildred was born in Locust Grove, GA on October 10, 1918, to Oma Holden Owen and James Erastus Owen. The family moved to Madison, GA in 1924, where her father taught at the old Agricultural & Mechanical (A&M) School and later served as County School Superintendent for all Morgan County schools, as well as selling real estate. Because of her father’s school and real estate work, Mildred met and grew to be friends with many of Morgan County’s residents over the years. Mildred completed all 11 public school years in Madison where she graduated in 1935. She also took piano lessons, starting in the second grade and continuing until 1935, under Mrs. Martha Atkinson Rhodes. Mildred graduated from Tift College in Macon, GA, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree and a music degree in piano in 1939. She was voted the most outstanding student each of her four years at Tift and was listed in the “Who’s Who” among students in American universities and colleges. She was Student Body Vice President all four years and elected as the “May Queen” her senior year. She taught school for a brief time in Morgan County, before being designated the first Associate Baptist Student Director for all Georgia colleges in 1940 with headquarters at the Georgia State College for Women. Mildred also studied for her Master’s Degree in psychology at the University of Georgia during the summers of 1940 through1942, but it was her job that introduced her to Sabin Landry of New Orleans.”
Sabin and Mildred’s Madison wedding was the talk of the town at the time, before the couple moved to other parts of the country before returning to Madison decades later.
“On October 23, 1942, in what many at the time referred to as the “prettiest wedding” they had ever seen, Mildred and Sabin were married at the Madison Baptist Church. They started married life in New Orleans where Sabin was working as a lawyer. In 1943 Sabin joined the U.S. Army to serve in World War II. During the war they moved to San Antonio, TX, Hot Springs, AK, and finally Petersburg, VA where Sabin was stationed when the war ended. Mildred served in several supporting jobs at the various Army camps while Sabin was receiving, and later giving, training. Mildred and Sabin often remarked that the law may have saved Sabin’s life, as every time he got near an overseas deployment date the Army would hold him back to continue teaching Army Law wherever he was assigned. However, after the war Sabin and Mildred went to Louisville, KY where Sabin entered the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Sabin received his Doctor of Divinity and for the next 32 years he taught at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary during the week and on weekends preached in Kentucky or in neighboring states at churches that needed a temporary preacher. While in Louisville, Mildred taught at Parkland Jr. High School until she too retired. Mildred was a member of Louisville’s Crescent Hill Woman’s Club, where she served as Co-Chairman of the Garden Department and on the Executive Board. She also served as President of the Rock Creek Garden Club and Vice President of the Council of Federated Garden Clubs for the Beautification League of Louisville.
After retirement in the late 1970’s, Sabin and Mildred returned to Madison to help care for Mildred’s aging parents. Following Mildred’s father and mother passing in 1989 and 1990, respectively, they moved into the Owen family home on Academy Street and lived there until Sabin passed in 2011 and Mildred moved to assisted living.” Both Mildred and Sabin were members of the local Historical Society, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, the Boxwood Garden Club, the Landmarks Society, and active in the Madison Baptist Church as long as they were able.
Hicky is still hammering out the details for the event to distribute the rest of Mildred’s estate on Oct. 8. “We want to get all the groups together and we will have more information as the date gets closer. Mildred wanted to help her community and we are looking forward to see how these groups will use the money she left them.”