She leaves behind the influence of her forty years of teaching on students too numerous to number, and the example of a life lived with joy, purpose and service. For her influence on so many, we are eternally grateful. She said to me, a motherless girl of fourteen, "You can do anything you set your mind to do." I found her advice worthy of following. Many could give a similar testimony to mine on the influence she had upon them in school and beyond as she "kept up with her own" and loved and encouraged us.
Memories flood our minds as we think of the happy occasions we have spent with her. I have set on her porch at her home in Choestoe and admired her flower gardens, as lush and bountiful as any horticulturist could produce. I have thought often of how her life was like an unfolding flower, lifting thoughts like petals to sunshine in the early morning as she sought the Lord's guidance for the day. She was a mainstay at our wonderful Class of 1947 Reunions, and this could be said of any class she nourished at Union County High School. She was the eldest present at our Dyer- Souther Reunions each year after Cousin Watson Dyer died, himself reaching nearly 104, until this past July when she was not able to attend. She loved family and encouraged me to record and publish the history of our noble ancestors. "Salt of the earth," she would often say of them, being hesitant to own up to the fact that she, too, was of that salt that had not lost its savor, even to the ripe age of 104.
Now she is a legend in our time. Each time we think of her it will be with gratitude. As recently as October, she was part of a documentary film which will open the Byron Herbert Reece Center. Our poet/novelist was one of her students and she spoke lovingly about his time in her classes. Aunt Dora was honored by Truett McConnell College through having the four-year School of Education named in her honor. The first graduates from the school finished in May, 2008, and are now somewhere in schools beginning careers that will honor the name of this master teacher. It is one of my aims to continue raising funds to complete the endowment and scholarships for the Dora Hunter Allison Spiva School of Education. It is one way I can say "thank you" to Aunt Dora for inspiring me to become a teacher. Anyone wishing to donate in her memory may send contributions to Truett McConnell College, 100 Alumni Drive, Cleveland, GA 30529.
My prediction is that she will remain alive in the hearts and minds of those who loved and admired her, continuing to wield her positive influence, eliciting sweet memories of many associations with her; indeed, a legend in our time.
Mrs. Dora Allison Spiva, 104, native and lifelong resident of Blairsville, Ga., died Tuesday, February 24, 2009 at Union General Hospital in Blairsville.
Mrs. Spiva was born Friday, February 10, 1905 in Union County, Ga., to the late Jim Hunter and the late Martha Souther Hunter. She graduated from the Blairsville Academy, Young Harris College and The University of Georgia. She was the oldest living member of Choestoe Baptist Church and had been very active in the church all her life, and was a founding member of the WMU at Choestoe.
Mrs. Dora was retired from the Union County School System and was a member of the Georgia Retired Teachers Association, a charter member of The Blairsville Garden Club, The American Legion Auxiliary, and Union County Historical Society. The Dora Spiva Educational Program is a scholarship program at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, Ga., named in honor of Mrs. Spiva. She was preceded in death by first husband, Frank Allison and second husband, Dan Spiva. She was an inspiration to many.
Surviving family members include special nephew, Charles "Buddy" and Bobbie Hunter of Blairsville; many other nieces and nephews, and a host of friends. Funeral services were held Friday, February 27, 2009 at 11 a.m. from the Choestoe Baptist Church with Rev. Stacy Dyer and Rev. Ken Zollinger officiating. Music was provided by Rev. Stacy Dyer and Bill Collins and Linda Thornton. Pallbearers were Daniel Hunter, Chris Souther, Josh Lewis, Eddy Alexander, Barry Collins, Phil Hunter, Ken Hunter and Lesly Hunter. Interment followed in Choestoe Baptist Church Cemetery.
If you wish, the family has suggested memorial contributions be made to Choestoe Baptist Church Building Fund, 4455 Choestoe Church Road, Blairsville, Georgia 30512.
Arrangements entrusted to Cochran Funeral Home - Blairsville Chapel. You are invited to view Mrs. Dora's Life Tribute, send condolences to the family and sign the guest register at www. cochranfuneralhomes.com.