Lyda Mae: Voted Best Woman 2019

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Lyda Mae Sharp was born March 10, 1935, to Jasper “Pap” Owen and Sarah Marie Hensley Sharp. She was raised with three sisters and five brothers in Lewis and Lake Counties, Tennessee.

From November 20, 1950 until his death on August 20, 1995, Lyda was married to Herman Hooper. Together, they raised seven children in Lewis County: Martha Ann Hooper Warnken, Wanda Kay Hooper McCann, Herman Lee Hooper, Debbie Hooper Tracy, Sheila Hooper Flowers, Gwendolyn Hooper Shirley, Vicki Hooper Colley. She has been blessed with seventeen grandchildren, thirty-nine great grandchildren including two that will be born later this year, and two great, great grandchildren.

As a child, Lyda Mae went to school in Hohenwald. Her schooling education was put on hold when she married and began a family of her own. However, she continued learning, and at age fifty achieved her GED high school equivalence certificate. She then pursued training in Home Health.

While her children were preschool age, Lyda Mae mostly worked in the home. After the youngest child entered school, she worked outside the home, including Genesco shoe factory, Henry I Siegel’s, Home Health, Discount Treasures and Brown’s Variety/ Cash Quick.

Lyda Mae loves flower gardening. Her family has learned a flower, plant, bush or tree is always an appropriate gift for any occasion. Like her mother, she has a green thumb and can grow anything.

Traveling is also a favorite of hers. The joke is if the car, plane, bus, train or ship is leaving, her bags are packed! She has ridden in all of those plus a motorcycle, helicopter and hot air balloon. She loves life and adventures. Not too many years ago, she climbed ten flights of stairs to go on a zip line in Florida. She needed a birth certificate for going out of the country and didn’t have one, so she had her Uncle Raymond Hensley write a letter vouching for her birth.

Lyda Mae loves her country, honors the military and the flag. She often tears up with pride at any mention of the troops.

She also has a love for sporting events. Whether it is tee ball, little league, high school, college or NFL. If she has a member of family or favorite team, coach or player, she will be supporting and cheering them on. This last LCHS season, her niece, Cricket, left one cold night game to go home only to come back with ear muffs and something to keep Lyda Mae warmer.

Lyda Me loves reading. She is part of a group of friends that pass books back and forth. She has so many books, her son in law, Tom,  built her a special book case for her bedroom. Her favorite television shows are NCIS, MASH and anything with John Wayne.

Entertaining family and friends is one of her favorite things, and she has never let how many she can sit at the table be a factor in who gets invited. All are welcome whether there is a place to sit or stand, inside, out on the porches or in the yard. Life for her is about being together with the ones you love.

Above all, Lyda Mae loves her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She has been a long time member of The Sanctuary United Pentecostal Church on Swan Avenue of which Reverend Walter Droke is pastor. Through the years, she has served the church in the role of Sunday school teacher, ladies’ ministry secretary and women’s director. Her family can confirm she reads her Bible daily and prays for her family and friends, community and her country.

If you are in Lewis County, you may see Oktoberfest, the Natchez Trace, the Wilderness Preserve or the Elephant Sanctuary; but if you are lucky, you will see Lewis County’s 2019 Best Woman, Lyda Mae Hooper.

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