In Memory of
Lillian Myrtle Brasel Shannon Wilson
10/16/1899 - 2/13/1997
Final resting place: Sunset Cemetery - Clinton, TN
Youngest child of Benjamin and Sarah Brasel.
Born and raised in Morgan County, Tennessee
Widow of Lee Henderson Shannon (7/10/1897- 4/4/22)
Widow of Jack Wilson (1906- 4/27/76)
Mother of Robert Lee Shannon, Jr. (1/25/22 - 4/22/78)
After my grandmother was widowed in 1922, she won a Model-T Ford in a subscription-selling contest sponsored by the Morgan County Press. She learned to drive and on the country roads of Morgan County, surely became a force to be reckoned with! After Lillian remarried, she gave up driving altogether, preferring the passenger's seat so she could watch the scenery. I will always remember those Sunday afternoon drives; it was one of her favorite things to do.
Lillian's second husband, Jack Wilson, always kept his automobile (usually a new Buick) immaculate. As grandchildren, we were permitted to ride, but never to eat or drink in Granddaddy's car. Even though Jack did the actual driving, it was Lillian was did the piloting. Apparently those few years of driving her Model-T left her with some definite opinions about how one should operate a car. Every few miles, we'd hear: "Jack! Jack! Slow down! Lordy have mercy, you're going to kill us all!" And my grandmother was a backseat driver until the day she died. On our final Sunday afternoon driving excursion, three weeks before her death, I remember her hollering at me to slow down; I was driving at the excessive speed of 30 mph.! Believe me, driving Miss Daisy was nothing compared to driving Miss Lillian!
Jack died in 1976, and my father Robert Lee Shannon, her only child, died two years later. So, while still in college, I became Lillian's designated driver. Even though I'd get really mad at her because she wouldn't allow me to run the air conditioner or play the radio, I kept driving her. We'd go to the White Store, the liquor store, the bank, or wherever. I was a history major at Maryville College, so I asked her to tell me about the "olden days". She told me some wonderful stories about growing up in Wartburg! When Alzheimer's started taking its toll on her memory a few years later, and she couldn't remember what had happened the previous hour, she would amaze me by remembering exactly what had happened in the early decades of the century!
Lillian always liked driving on a "good smooth road with no bumps, water, or holes". Her favorite time of year was spring because she loved to see the dogwood trees in bloom. Before we sold her home in Fountain City, we would drive the dogwood trails in Knoxville. Later on, after I moved her down to Atlanta, we'd drive up and down West Paces Ferry, past the governor's mansion, which incidentally, she thought was a fine house - for Georgia.
Grandmother often told me that the dogwood was God's holy tree, but I never understood why. Several years before her death, as I was packing up her things for the move to Atlanta, I found an old clipping in her bible that helped me to understand what she meant.
Legend of the Dogwood
Long ago the dogwood was as large as the other trees of the forest.
Its wood was firm, and because it grew so straight and tall,
it was used as timber for the Cross. The trees of the forest cried
out in their grief that the dogwood should be used for such a cruel purpose.
And Christ on the Cross, in His pity for the trees spoke: "Because of your regret
and sorrow, never again shall the dogwood tree grow straight and tall.
Henceforth, it shall be slender and its blossoms shall be in the form of the cross.
And in the center of the bracts, there shall be wounds, brown with rust, and
above each flower there will be a crown so all will remember".
I believe that my grandmother felt especially close to Jesus every spring when she saw the dogwoods in bloom. I miss our drives and I even miss her telling me how to drive. Though she won't be here to see the dogwoods bloom again on this earth, I know that she will always have springtime in Heaven.
Eulogy by Melinda Shannon Freels
Granddaughter of Lillian Wilson
Submitted by Malinda Shannon Freels
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