Frances Alyeda Harrell

Harrell Alyeda Obit Photo

Frances Alyeda (Gregory) Harrell, 96, of Waco, passed away on the morning of Saturday, January 1, 2022, in Dallas.

Funeral Service: 10AM Monday, January 10, 2022 at Lake Shore Funeral Home Chapel, 5201 Steinbeck Bend in Waco. Burial will follow at Bosqueville Cemetery.

Alyeda, named by an Indian woman, was born June 19, 1925, in a home in China Spring to Charlie and Mary Gregory. She attended China Spring schools until 11th grade at which time she switched to Waco High where she graduated in May 1942. As a schoolgirl, she played shortstop in softball and wanted to play basketball but the superintendent wouldn’t let girls play at the time. Before and after school she was the third ‘boy’, helping her father farm and milking cows every morning and evening, while also helping her mother in the home.

She started dating at 17. Her first (and only) boyfriend was James Cleburne (J.C.) Harrell. They dated for four months before he proposed. After raising ‘billy goat Cain’ (getting very upset) and a calming conversation with her mother, Alyeda’s father went down to the courthouse to sign some legal papers since she was not legally old enough to marry at 17. Alyeda and J.C. were married at a preacher’s house in Bosqueville on Sept. 26, 1942, the same week J.C. proposed.

The following month after her high school graduation, she attended Four-C Business School at Columbus and 7th St., graduating from there in less than a year (which was common at the time), taking bookkeeping and shorthand.

While she was attending Four-C, J.C. was drafted into the army during World War II, leaving for basic training on Dec. 26, 1942. Following her graduation from Four-C, Alyeda entered a government program in Waco during the war effort where she trained in ‘electrical’ before going to the bomber plant in Fort Worth (now known as Lockheed-Martin). She could read blueprints and do wiring on the planes and, despite her young age, was ‘over some people’. A real-life Rosie the Riveter as a teenager.

After the war, J.C. and Alyeda opened Harrell’s Grocery in Bosqueville in Sept. 1946 while pregnant with their only child, Larry. They briefly lived in the back of the store, eventually buying their first home in 1950. They sold the store and retired in 1969. She and her husband were very active in Bosqueville Baptist Church for most of their lives, handling some of the financial business for the church in retirement.

Alyeda was the sole caretaker of J.C. as he lost his battle with Parkinson’s disease on April 3, 1993. Following his passing, she built a new home for herself – monitoring the building every step of the way — about a mile from where she spent almost all of her adult life. Alyeda spent most of the rest of her days enjoying holidays with family, taking care of her yard, playing dominoes on Tuesdays at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, traveling some with friends, enjoying her season tickets to Baylor women’s basketball games and going to church before her health eventually prevented her from doing most of those things.

Alyeda was the last member of the ‘Greatest Generation’ in both the Gregory and (very large) Harrell families. She was preceded in death by her husband, mother and father, two older brothers, Herschel and Thurman; and far too many brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law to count.

She is survived by son, Larry of Dallas; two grandchildren, Christopher Harrell and wife Allison of Bryan, and Katie Llewellyn of Houston; as well as two great-grandchildren, Carson and Luke Llewellyn of Houston.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Bosqueville Cemetery Association, 1650 Lindsey Lane, Waco, Texas 76708.

Place of Service: Lake Shore Funeral Home Chapel , 5201 Steinbeck Bend; Waco, TX 76708

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Condolence Messages

  1. My sincerest and deepest condolences to Larry and the family. May God’s loving Arms comfort you all during these difficult days.

  2. Mary Ann Crutchfield Gustafson

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of a great lady. The Harrells played a huge role in the lives of so many of us who grew up in Bosqueville. Prayers to you and your family, Larry.

  3. Larry, sorry to hear about your mom. I can remember many trips to your mom and dad’s store.

  4. Rebecca Harrell Harry

    Rest in Peace Alyeda. Condolences to Larry and family. I have fond memories of your mother, an impressive woman.

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