LaVell Welborn, the strength of her family and a dedicated friend, died Friday, Jan. 4, in her home in Mt. Pleasant. She was 84.

She was born Sept. 13, 1934, in Argyle, Texas to Obera (Price) and Archie Alley.

She married Herb Welborn on Oct. 6, 1990, and worked alongside him as a broker and part owner of Herb Welborn Real Estate Co. for 17 years.

LaVell was devoted to her children and later to her grandchildren, committing her life to them from her own adolescence until her death. After her first marriage in 1950, when she was 16, and the subsequent birth of her first daughter the next year in Lewisville, LaVell left high school and dedicated the next three decades of her life to raising five children. But after, as she said, she “graduated from high school five times,” she returned to easily complete her G.E.D. and receive her diploma – an achievement of which she was proud.

After she moved to Mt. Pleasant, she joined Herb at Herb Welborn Real Estate Co. She was a longtime member of South Jefferson Baptist Church and was a former member of the Pilot Club; Women’s Golf Association; and Community Bible Study.

An exceptional story-teller and servant-hearted friend, LaVell will be remembered for the countless lives she touched; for her strength and determination regardless of the circumstances; and for her absolute commitment to her family.

We will miss her smile, her stories, her pancakes, and the knowledge that if ever life wasn’t going our way, we could call her – and she would straighten life out for us.

She is survived by Herb Welborn, her husband of 28 years; her four children: Connie (Bob) Reese, Canton; Johnny McGatlin, Mt. Pleasant; Tony (Kim) McGatlin, Reston, Va.; and Vickie (Dan) Daniels, Woodland Park, Colo.; a daughter-in-law, Suzanne McGatlin, Alaska; three stepchildren, Bobby (Cristina) Welborn, Howey in the Hills, Fla.; Rachel (Randall) Crawley, Mt. Pleasant; and Kevin (Cara) Welborn, Weatherford; one brother, Dale (Susan) Alley, Hutto; one brother-in-law, Frank (Nancy) Welborn, Mt. Pleasant; two sisters-in-law, Pat Myrick, Sandersville, Miss., and Jane Sparks, Lake Jackson; her first husband, Ronald (Barbara) McGatlin, Mt. Airy, N.C.; 34 grandchildren; eight stepgrandchildren; and 43 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and one son, Gary McGatlin, lately of Alaska.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at South Jefferson Baptist Church, 1701 S. Jefferson, Mt. Pleasant, followed by a short visitation in the church foyer. Interment will be private at Nevills Chapel Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Bates-Cooper-Sloan Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to Cypress Basin Hospice, 207 Morgan St., Mount Pleasant, TX 75455.