Elizabeth Sanders O’Briant, a beloved member of the Senatobia community for more than sixty years, passed away Saturday, July 21, 2018, at her home.
Elizabeth was born in Marks, MS, the oldest daughter of Lois C. and Robert P. Sanders. After her mother passed away suddenly at an early age, Elizabeth helped raise her younger brothers. In 1955, she married Thomas Whitley O’Briant, and they moved to Senatobia. They had four children, Angela, Whit, Athena, and Amanda.
Elizabeth became the matriarch of a large, tight knit family which included her children as well as her brothers and their children. The family still gathers every July for the annual Sanders Family Reunion, and celebrated Elizabeth’s 80th birthday the weekend before she died. She was surrounded by the family she loved and helped cultivate – her children, grandchildren, great-children, brothers, dozens of nieces and nephews, and their spouses.
A prolific reader, Elizabeth deeply valued education. She obtained a B.A. in Music as her first degree from The University of Mississippi. When her children were older, she returned to Ole Miss and obtained her B. Ed., and began teaching Kindergarten in the Tate County Schools, both at East Tate and Strayhorn. For many years, she also served the youth of the area in the church music programs of First Baptist Church, Senatobia, and served as a pianist for the sanctuary choir. As a music and kindergarten teacher for more than forty years in the area, several generations were educated and nurtured by “Mrs. O’Briant.”
She is survived by three daughters and sons in law, Angela and Jim Herzog, Athena and Paul Staires, and Amanda and Richard Hall; daughter-in-law Connie O’Briant; grandchildren and their spouses, Jenn & Ryan Frazier of Collierville, TN, Laura & John Herzog of Washington, DC, Stephanie & Blake O’Briant of Germantown, TN, Anna & Blake Jeffries of Oxford, MS, Mary & Dave Corson of Wedowee, AL, Savannah Giles & Robert MacInnis of Madison, MS, Sarah & Ryann Shepherd of Jackson, MS, and Adam, Lauren and Thomas Hall of Southaven, MS; and great-grandchildren Paige and Mackenzie Frazier, Jack and Lucy Herzog, Hailey, Fallon and Aiden O’Briant, Jane Jeffries, and Sanders and Winnie Corson. Her surviving siblings are H.D. “Doc” Sanders of Paris, TN, Hal Sanders of Dumas, MS, Paul Sanders of Knoxville, TN, Bobbye Sanders of Bristol, RI, and Herman Sanders of Peoria, AZ. She was preceded in death by her siblings Tommy G. Sanders, James G. Sanders, Maxine S. Scruggs, and Agnes S. Sides.
Her family finds peace and joy knowing Elizabeth has been reunited in heaven with her husband of 44 years, Thomas, and their son, Thomas Whitley O’Briant, Jr., who passed away in 2014.
The family requests memorials to the church.