Cover photo for Mattie L. Arnold Biggers's Obituary
Mattie L. Arnold Biggers Profile Photo

Mattie L. Arnold Biggers

March 12, 1929 – December 7, 2018


Saturday, December 15, 2018
Family Visitation: 11:00 A.M.
Funeral Service: 12:00 Noon

Bird Street Church of Christ
428 Bird Street
Shelbyville, Tennessee

Hillcrest Cemetery
Shelbyville, Tennessee

Sister Mattie Lousinda Arnold Biggers was born March 12, 1929, at Wheel Community in Bedford County, Tennessee to the late proud parents of Georgia Anna Leftwich Arnold and Clarence Shermon Arnold. Her father was a well-known Mason, Farmer, and a Businessman and taught Mattie (as well as her husband, Ell T.) how to lay bricks. Her mother was a homemaker. Mattie’s parents taught the family about spiritual virtues and morals. Mattie was the fifth child of six boys and five girls of which one child was stillborn at birth.

Preceding her in death: Perry & Frances Ruth (sister-in-law) Arnold, Annie Marie (Ora) Walls, Clarence Sherman (Jean) Arnold, Frances Lorine & Thomas (brother-in-law) Garrett, Charles Avery Arnold, Haile Selassie (Frances) Arnold, and twins (Delmore & Elmo (Elsie) Arnold, two step-brothers (Shermon and Jackie Arnold), and Rebecca Biggers (sister-in-law).

She leaves to cherish her memories to her very devoted husband of 68 years, Ell T. Biggers, Shelbyville, TN, one sister, Rosie Anna Ward, Shelbyville, TN, sisters-in-law: Frances Arnold, Murfreesboro, TN & Jean Arnold, Indianapolis, Ind., and a brother-in-law, Ora D. Walls, Shelbyville, TN, as well as a host of many nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends of whom she dearly treasured.

Mattie was very proud to be the daughter of a farmer. She was baptized into Christ at the “Colored church of Christ” on North Main Street as it was called at that time and under the ministry of Bro. Matthews.

Mattie graduated from Farmington Elementary School and received her diploma from Bedford County Training School with perfect attendance and held the positions of the Queen Attendant and Class President. Thereafter, her life began to flourish with many more accomplishments and awards of achievement; both academic and within the workforce realm. Matt, as she was sometimes called, graduated from Connie’s Cosmetology College as a Registered Cosmetologist. She shortly became a teacher, and owner and operator of her own business, Matt’s Beauty Salon, and was the first black woman to bring special hair treatments to Shelbyville. She received an award from Helene Curtis Institute of Advanced Hair Styling. 

In addition, Matt attended Humbolt Retail School and studied Business Management and auto wheel alignment and balancing, which helped prepare her and her husband for the operation of the Biggers’ Main Street – Exxon Service Station, 76 Service Station & Auto Repair Shop, and a trucking business for many years. She received a certificate of achievement award at graduation. She, also, served as the Class Secretary.

Mattie attended many other colleges and universities. At Peabody College, she took courses in Early Childhood Education, Parent Involvement, Nutrition, Sociology, Human Services, and Social Services which equipped her into mainstreaming handicap children into the classroom settings. At the University of Tennessee, Nashville, her studies were in Educational Psychology with Red Cross training. Other colleges and universities were Western Kentucky, Tennessee A&I State, Motlow State College, U.T. Martin, and Maryville University, whereby, she received many awards of recognition for her achievements.

Colleges, universities, workshops, and training sessions prepared Mattie for Leadership Development. She was instrumental in organizing the Shelbyville Head Start Program along with 12 other counties. Mattie coordinated several summer youth camp programs. She was a proud recipient of an award from the Elk and Duck River Governing Board as well as received an honor award from Judge Dorothy Orr. 

Mattie seriously had a love for Christ. She loved the church. She wore the name Christian as a dedicated soldier on the battlefield for Christ. She worked as a Sunday School Teacher as long as she could and also was the Youth Director at East Cedar Street church of Christ. She lived a thankful, beautiful, and fulfilling life. Her life was built on a foundation of giving, loving, and caring for her fellowmen and family. She loved to care for the sick. Her devotion to caring and sharing her untold good deeds was well demonstrated during her earthly life through her gardening and flowers. She kept an array of beautiful flowers; both on the inside and outside of her home as well as beautifying the grounds at the Bird Street church of Christ.

Just as we are brought into this life through the miracle of birth, so must we be aware of the end of life’s earthly cycle and prepare ourselves for this inevitability. Most people usually do not like to entertain thoughts of death, avoiding any consideration of their own death and the death of the ones they love, but just as birth is the dawn of mans’ earthly existence, death is the night that must follow, for everything there is aseason… a time to be born, and a time to die.

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