Woman with heavenly voice still singing at 94
Houston County Courier
Lona Ree English Strange of Crockett is 94 years old and still plays a prominent role in her church community. Even though she likes to garden, her main passion is singing. “My favorite thing to sing is hymns,” said Strange. “When I sing, I feel the spirit of the Lord moving inside me,” Strange said. Every Sunday she leads the musical worship service for the congregation of the church she helped found. In fact, she is the only living founder of the Progressive Missionary Church in Crockett. Strange picks all of the hymns sung on the day of service. She will start singing and then the congregation will follow suit. Strange is considered to be the mother of the church which she, along with four others, built from the ground up. Strange is the president of the mission and she is the only choir member. At one time, Strange held the position of president of the children’s group and she taught Sunday school to the young children. Strange was born in Dodge City, and in 1937 she and her family moved to Trinity when she was was nine years old. Strange’s family went to church every Sunday by wagon and that is where she learned to “sing and shout”. The ladies of the church would sing all the way until they arrived to their final destination, the church, and then they would, as Strange describes it, “shout”. Strange was nine when she started “shouting” with the ladies of the church where her family belonged. Strange met her husband, Jessie Strange, Sr., in Trinity where he worked in the meat market. They were married on Feb. 2, 1937 and moved to Crockett. Strange has four children, Dorthey Smith, Jessie Strange, Jr., Tommy Strange and Vicki Johnson. “All of my children are hard workers and they were good kids growing up. They didn’t cause any trouble and they worked out in the fields with us,” said Strange. We picked cotton, peas, cucumbers, pecans and collard greens, stated Strange. Other than singing, her favorite hobby is gardening and taking care of her plants. According to her daughter Vicki Johnson, Strange also loves to take care of her multitude of beautiful plants. Strange still cooks for herself and picks her own vegetables, fresh from her garden.