For more than 57 years, laughter sprang from Vernell’s Beauty Shop, a salon in the home of her Duncan Road residence in the small, yet friendly community of Curtis, Arkansas.
The beautician who cut, colored, curled, pressed and styled hair there for hundreds of customers and families over the decades, Vernell Middleton Boozer passed away on Saturday, February 21, 2015 at Arkansas Hospice in Hot Springs, Arkansas after a brief illness.
She was born in Curtis, Arkansas on August 1, 1937, to the union of Louie and Geneva Murchison Middleton. She accepted Christ at a young age and united with Clayborn Chapel AME Church in the Springhill Community. She later moved her membership to St. Paul AME Church in Arkadelphia after the church closed.
Vernell began her career early, going to Hollywood Beauty School in Hot Springs upon graduation from Peake High School in 1956. She started “fixing hair” at an early age for her sisters and extended family. She completed all branches of beauty culture under the direct teaching of Madame Hayes on June 30, 1958. Vernell loved fixing hair because she wasn't doing it just for the money. She would spend countless hours with her select clientele; catching up with the latest news and happenings around town.
She married Willie Boozer; they settled in Curtis and raised their daughter Tasha. He worked at International Paper and she worked in her beauty salon. Working from home gave her the advantage of preparing home cooked meals every day, a chance to garden and raise her chickens. Her pantry was stocked with her famous chow-chow.
Vernell and Willie equally loved to fish. They spent many days and hours on the banks fishing and reminiscing about the good old days. Tasha was the apple of their eyes. They both worked hard to make sure that she had everything she needed. Vernell opened her doors to many nieces and nephews, whom she raised and loved as her own children.
She was energetic, smart and independent; friends and relatives were drawn to her presence. Widely known for her wit and quick response to any comment, she developed her own trademark “sayings” that were capstones of her loving personality. Vernell would never leave one to wonder or think about how she felt. She was outspoken and was known to “tell it, like it is”!
Vernell was most famously known for her home remedies. She had a remedy for joint pain, high fever, bad vision, no vision, sore throat.., etc.; if you had it, she had a remedy for it. Friends and family would call from all over looking for a cure to their ailments. Her main ingredient was “lemon juice”. She believed with all her heart that lemon juice was the cure everything. Whatever she did, it was done with love, tenderness and care. To know her was to love her and had she tarried longer, many would have been a recipient of that love.
Besides her husband Willie, and her beloved parents, she was preceded in death by two sisters, Louise Harris and Bobbie Lynn House. She will be forever missed by her daughter, Tasha Boozer of Curtis, AR; one sister, Leanner Willis of Little Rock, AR, and her brother, John (Earline) Middleton of Monticello, AR. She also leaves her nieces and nephews, Johnny, Donald, Angelia, Phyllis, Jackie, Pamela, Kelvin, Emmett, Wanda, Cynthia, Raymond, Renee and Shaveeta; several great nieces and great nephews; a multitude of cousins, many friends; her best friends, Pat McGhee, Bobbie Lee Pratt and Mary Jane Cooper.
Funeral services will be held at Mt. Canaan Baptist Church in Gurdon, Arkansas on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 1:30pm. Her nephew, Rev. Johnny Harris, will officiate. Burial will follow at Springhill Cemetery. Friends may visit at the funeral home on Friday, February 27, 2015 from 12noon until 7pm. The family will receive friends from 6-7pm.