Nita L. Adkisson, known always to everyone as “Tubby” since an encounter with a mean boy in the first grade at Armstrong Elementary School, died Jan. 27, 2013, at Hunt Regional Medical Center in Greenville.
Born Aug. 30, 1925, to parents R.C. Moore Sr. and Juanita Kaufman Moore, Tubby was 87. She was born in and spent her childhood in Dallas and at an early age became an accomplished pianist and lifelong lover of music, the piano, and the organ.
She graduated from Highland Park High School in 1943 where she was a member of the National Honor Society and secretary of the senior class. She declined a college scholarship to move to Washington, DC where she worked for the U.S. Government for the duration of World War II.
Upon her return to Texas, she met John W. “Jay” Adkisson Jr. on a blind date; and they were married on Valentine’s Day in 1948 and remained married for almost 61 years until his death on Jan. 20, 2009.
Jay and Tubby were business partners and second generation owners of Adkisson’s Florist in Greenville which was established in 1913 by her in-laws. Tubby’s unexpected death interrupted her active planning for the 100-year anniversary celebration of the family business.
A partnership of equals in every way, both Jay and Tubby served a term as president of the Texas State Florist Association (“TSFA”), and each one of them received the TSFA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to a full-time professional career, Tubby had a second full-time career as a community and state volunteer.
She was a founder of the Hunt County Opportunity Center, the Hunt County Association for Retarded Citizens, and the Greenville Hospital Auxiliary and Candy Stripers. She served as president of the Houston School PTA, the GISD Enrichment Association, the Kavanaugh UMC Women’s Society, and the Junior Pallas Club.
She was the first woman board member and president of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce; and at various times she served on the boards of the North Central Texas MHMR, the Texas Association for Retarded Children, Texas Special Olympics, Hunt County Head Start, and Clean Greenville.
She also served on the local boards of the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the American Cancer Society, Leadership Greenville, and the Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation.
Her widely known show business career featured a long-running role as chief laugh-getter in the Greenville Follies and emergency stand-by church organist. In recognition of her lifelong commitment to helping others, she was given the Greenville Worthy Citizen Award, the Outstanding State Volunteer Award from the Texas Association for Retarded Citizens, the Rotarian of the Year and the Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club, and the Harold Curtis Friends of the Foundation Award from the Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation.
Tubby is survived by son Richard Wise Adkisson and daughter-in-law Jan and grandchildren Benjamin Adkisson (Chrissy) and Rebecca Ray (Joe) of Dallas; son John Jay Adkisson of Greenville and grandson Rob Adkisson (Gearl) of Scotts Valley, Calif.; great-granddaughters Bailey Adkisson and Harper Ray of Dallas and great-grandsons Alex and Cody of Scotts Valley; brother-in-law Dr. Mike A. Adkisson and wife Beverly; and numerous nieces and nephews whom she cherished. She is also survived by “The Daughters” — you know who you are.
Visitation is from 5 to 7 p.m. today at Coker-Mathews Funeral Home, 5100 Interstate30 in Greenville.
Interment will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Forest Park Cemetery in Greenville, followed by a memorial service celebrating Tubby’s life at 1 p.m. at Kavanaugh United Methodist Church, 2516 Park Street, Greenville, with Rev. Melva Hill and Rev. Stephen Cotten officiating.
Online condolences may be made at www.cokermathews.com