Alma Ruth (Piercy) Meredith, (b.1923), 93, died in New Orleans on Feb. 5, 2017. Alma, who also went by Betty, retired in 1994 from Hillsdale Middle School after 20 years as a social studies teacher. Mrs. Meredith was preceded in death by her husband Olin Meredith (1975) and sons, John Meredith (1967) and Eric Meredith (2012). Among her survivors are her sons, Olen Meredith of St. Augustine; Robert Meredith of Andes, New York; and Paul Meredith of New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Alma is best remembered as a teacher, a mother of five boys and a world traveler. But her unlikely journey began as a child in abject poverty. After she married her husband, Olin, in 1941 it was still years before the family escaped the coal mines of southern Illinois. In 1964, Ciba-Geigy hired Olin as supervisor of maintenance for its new chemical plant and the family moved to Mobile. That same year Alma's youngest started school and Alma started college. She was 41-years old. Passionate about education, she completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of South Alabama and made it a point to enroll in at least one class with each of her five sons. Alma started teaching at age 50 and lost her husband at 52. The next year, she took graduate classes at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria. Travel liberated her. Thereafter, each fall, she reported her latest expedition to her social studies students. Alma was among the first modern Americans to tour China. She hiked the jungles of Central America, she slept in yak-skin yurts in the Gobi desert, and completed the long difficult journey from Peking to Moscow using buses, cars, camels and the Trans-Siberian Express. Later, Alma was honored at a banquet given by the U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union in the American Embassy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her world travels continued into her 80s. With a jaunty walk, a quick wit and an irrepressible smile, Alma traveled long and far. She finally comes to rest in Mobile at Radney's Funeral Home on Dauphin Street.
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