Pioneer Museum loses matriarch
Published 3:00 am Friday, February 5, 2016
The Pioneer Museum of Alabama has lost the matriarch of its homestead.
The death of Alma Bodiford on Sunday left the hearts of many saddened and an empty place at the museum that cannot be filled.
Bodiford was a longtime volunteer at the museum and was the “lady of the house” at the Demonstration Cabin for many years.
“Alma was, not only a volunteer, she was our docent,” said Kari Barley, museum executive director. “She has years of training in the homemaking skills that she passed along to the children. ‘Miss Alma’ taught children about the daily life of pioneer women and children. She taught them how to cook on a wood stove and over hot coals in the fireplace. She taught them how to make biscuits and cornbread and how to churn. She taught them how to sweep the yard with a stick broom and how to hoe weeds from around the flowers. She showed them how to wash their hands in a pan of water and, then said, ‘do it.’”
Bodiford moved “down the road” to the Reunion Cabin and the late Agnes Johnson very capably stepped into the role as “lady of the house.”
“Alma began to cut back her volunteer hours at the museum and the Reunion Cabin became ‘her’ cabin,” Barley said. “She was there for all the special events at the museum. She baked biscuits for our Syrup Soppin’s and decorated the cabin with live greenery at Christmastime. She made hot chocolate and hot cider for visitors during the holidays.”
During the museum’s Old Time Christmas, Bodiford would be cooking in the kitchen or serving visitors in the ‘parlor’ while her husband, Calvin, would be across the dogtrot leading the pickers and singing with the best of them.
“Alma was a dedicated museum volunteer and a very knowledgeable docent. She brought history to life for many students and relived it with our older visitors,” Barley said.
Bodiford was a well-known Master Gardener. She was a member of the St. Fiacre Garden Club in Crenshaw County. The garden club “adopted” the young women at the Troy Group Home and taught them gardening skills.
Bodiford propagated and patented Alma’s Star Confederate Rose from the cuttings from five different hibiscus plant that she rooted in a Mason jar. A memorial service for Bodiford will be held at 1 p.m. today at Little Oak United Methodist Church near Goshen.