"She has fought the good fight, she has finished the race, she has kept the faith," II Timothy 4:7.
Nona Cook Milstead, 78, of Tyler passed away on Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. Although her body weakened, her spirit remained strong and confident in her Lord.
After a private graveside service at Rose Hill Cemetery in Tyler, there will be a memorial service and celebration of Nona's life at Stewart Family Funeral Home on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, at 11 a.m. with Dr. Paul Powell officiating.
Nona was born May 29, 1935, in New Boston, the only child of Gladys Barron and John James Cook of Whitehouse. She graduated from Whitehouse High School in 1953 and Tyler Junior College in 1955. She also attended Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches where she majored in education. Nona worked as a volunteer and subsequent director of The Opportunity Center, a preschool for special-needs children in Tyler.
She married James Lyle Milstead on June 17, 1955, and they spent their first year of marriage in College Station while James completed his degree at Texas A&M University
. After a brief time in El Paso where James served in the U.S. Army
, they returned to Tyler. Nona was an active member of Green Acres Baptist Church, the Junior League of Tyler and numerous other community, school and service organizations. She was a devoted friend and counselor to many who often sought her wisdom when in crisis or just in need of a friend to listen. She was always generous with her time and resources, fiercely loyal and devoted to those she loved. Nona was blessed with the gift of hospitality and enjoyed nothing more than opening up her home and entertaining friends and family.
Nona was preceded in death by her parents, and an infant daughter.
Nona is survived by her husband of 58 years, James Milstead; daughters, Jameye Gardner and husband Ron and Amy Pinto and husband Ben, both of Dallas; son, John Milstead and wife Pam, of Houston; seven grandchildren, Reed Gardner and wife Jessica, Sarah Gardner Roberts and husband Casey, Seth Gardner, Megan Milstead, Michelle Milstead, Beth Pinto Price and husband Conner, and Emily Pinto. Her grandchildren will especially miss their "Mimi" as she was always their biggest fan and partner in crime. Nona is also survived by her dearest friend and spiritual sister, Gayle Simpson, of Tyler; her sister and brother-in-law, Jill and Charles Milstead, of Houston; and three nephews and their families.
Pallbearers will be Larry Price, Dale Eppler, Harold Lee, Dr. Tom Lyles, Ricky Barron and Paul Lilly.
The family would especially like to thank Nona's special cousin, Rick Barron, who spent countless hours visiting with her these last few years, and also Eva Bailey and Sandra Araiza who lovingly cared for Nona the last few months of her life. We are forever grateful to you for your tenderness and devotion.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to St. Paul's Children's Foundation, P.O. Box 1238, Tyler, 75710. For more information, see www.stpaulchildren.org.
"This hope we have as an anchor for the soul, a hope both firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us," Hebrews 6:19-20