Tennessee Records Repository

Decatur Co. TN


From Lillye Younger, People of Action (Decatur County Printers, 1983).

Special thanks to Constance Collett and the estate of Lillye Younger for permission to make this web page.

Lillye Younger

"If I had it all to do over, I'd choose the role of a teacher," a versatile Decatur County School Marm explained after having served 46 years in the educational field.

 Mrs. Allie Mae Stevens retired September 1st, one year shy of her anticipation, "I retired to help my sister, Mrs. Sue Carrington, nurse my father, Mr. J. A. Tinker, who is 96 years young and bedfast."

"I love the contact with students," the dark haired, brown eyed teacher admitted. "I know that I am going to miss them tremendously."

The experienced personality explained that the generation of today is more knowledgeable than in the early days and the method of discipline is quit different from the "Peach tree limb" of the yesteryears. "Each individual has to be dealt with differently," she has observed. "It is of utmost importance that a student see the need of changing his attitude and realize that his teacher is only trying to help him in the field of education."

When speaking of discipline. Mrs. Stevens turned and said, "When I served as principal of Riverside High School, the discipline problem was more demanding than in the role of a teacher." She admits that she used a lot of counseling in order to show the student a better way to do things. She proudly boasted that the discipline problems were at a minimum during her teaching career.

A native of Decatur County, Mrs. Stevens was born at Bussell Town where her father was a teacher, merchant and a farmer. The family moved to Perryville when she was five years old and she attended school here until she became old enough to ride the train with her two older brothers, Ray and Herman and sister, Ruth. "I can recall the thrill of riding the "PeeVine" train from Perryville to Parsons and hopping off and walking to school," she explains. Here she completed elementary school and graduated from high school in 1928.

Despite the fact that times were very hard at this period and the depression spiraled soon, the determined school girl refused to be defeated. She entered Union University at Jackson where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree. Not being satisfied with part of an education she continued to climb the educational ladder until she received a Master of Arts degree in Administration and Supervision from George Peabody College in Nashville. Not only can she boast of holding a Master's degree but she has 31 hours above the degree in Guidance and Counseling from George Peabody College.

She holds the distinction of being the first Guidance Counselor in Decatur County when she served in this capacity at Riverside High School. "The Orientated Program has proven (very successful in relation to "teacher-student contact." "It gave us a chance to help students with their problems," she smiled and revealed. "I thoroughly enjoyed this type of work," she added.

Mrs. Stevens didn't start at the "Top of the Pot" in the teaching profession. She taught school in one teacher schools when the teacher taught grades ____ [line and a half unreadable] really was an experience," she jokingly admitted. "So different from present day schools." Also she has served as principal of country schools, classroom teacher in larger schools, teacher of public school music, grades one through twelve, Librarian of Parsons High School, Guidance Counselor at Riverside High School and later principal of Riverside High School.

At the time of her retirement she was serving as supervising teacher of Decatur County Schools and had completed 22 years in this position. She served under Superintendents C. A. Palmer, Jack Stevens, Guy Kennedy and Billy J. Stevens.

The softspoken retired teacher held professional membership in Teachers Honor Society of Delta Kappa Gamma, Supervisors of Tennessee, Tennessee Education Association, West Tennessee Education Association, Decatur County Education Association and she is a life member of National Education Association.

She holds the honor of having been elected by the Tennessee Education Association as a delegate from the 7th Congressional District to the National Education Association meeting in New York, N.Y. Other offices she had held are president of the D.K.G. and Decatur County Education Association, Secretary Treasurer of the area, Principal of Schools group and Reactor for the West Tennessee Education Association Administrators group.

Not only has she held offices in the educational field but she has taken a very active part in the civic and social clubs of the county. She holds membership in the Parsons Book Club. Parsons Home Arts Club, Parsons Garden Club, United Daughters of the Confederacy and is now serving as Regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

She was instrumental in the organization of the Decatur County Business and Professional Women's Club, organized at her home on April 6, 1967. She was elected to serve as temporary chairman and later served as president elect for two years and then as the second president of the club.

A member of the First Baptist Church in Parsons, she has served many years as teacher of young people's classes and Adult Ladies Classes.

She has been a member of the choir for a number of years and served as choir director for seven years.

"The greatest reward I received from my teaching career," she shared, "is looking around me and seeing those I have taught in places of responsibility, many are in the teaching profession," she concluded. "The satisfaction is worth it all."

Mrs. Stevens is the wife of B. J. Stevens, Superintendent of Decatur County School System, and the daughter of J. A. Tinker and the late Mary A. Tinker of Parsons.

Out of her 40 years in the teaching profession, all of them were spent in Decatur County with the exception of four, which she served in Panama City, Florida.

"Hats off to an educator," who has touched the lives of many students and made life much easier for them as they stroll down the pathway of Life.

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