Margaret Modena Anderson, age 96, of Allen, Texas, was welcomed into the arms of Jesus on Thursday, May 20th, 2021. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend.
Modena was born in the small town of Cooper, Texas, on November 10, 1924, to Amos Charlie and Margaret Lou Vernie Gibbs. Modena was the youngest of 12 children, six girls and six boys, who have all preceded her in death. The large family always said that Modena was the “glue” that held all the families together. She kept in touch with each and every sibling and their respective families. She had a wonderful extended family that loved her as much as she loved them.
Modena met her true love, Emory Vernon Anderson in Dallas, Texas, where she worked at Safeway Grocery. They fell in love and married on May 4, 1944 and celebrated 73 years of marriage before Vernon “Poppy” passed away.
After longing for children her whole adult life, Modena and Vernon were blessed with “two precious adopted daughters,” Lisa Kay and Karen Elaine in 1965 and 1966. Being able to raise them at First Baptist Church, Dallas, and sending them to Christian universities was one of the greatest blessings of their lives. Modena and Vernon also prayed for Christian husbands, and He answered their prayers with Steve Collins, Jr. and Michael Berry: one a pastor and the other a surgeon. God blessed them with beautiful grandchildren: Stephen Collins III (Kinsey Collins), Sheridan Berry Wilks (Braxton Wilks), Hannah Collins Jacobs (Kevin Jacobs), Christian Berry, Sarah Collins and Charlotte Berry. Modena was thrilled to know her two great-grandchildren, Slade Stephen Collins and Lynnlee Kay Collins.
Modena loved working and serving others. She was a dedicated employee with a strong work ethic that she passed down to her children. Modena started out as a cashier for Safeway Grocery, then later moved to Denver, CO, and worked for the Federal Reserve Bank. When they moved back to Dallas, she worked for Blue Cross/Blue Shield for 16 years. They joined FBC-Dallas in 1958 and were members for over 63 years. For more than five decades, Modena and Vernon volunteered their time at First Baptist Church teaching in Vacation Bible School and in 6th grade Sunday School/Training Union, chaperoning choir tours, and working as advisors at Junior Camp. Over the years, Modena served in every age group at church from bed babies to senior citizens. Because Modena was so faithful and effective in her service at the church, she was asked to become a member of the church staff and was employed in various positions for over three decades with the church. From 1996-2005, Modena worked as the Class Coordinator for Mrs. Criswell’s Class. This was the most enjoyable job she ever had, as she loved working for Mrs. Criswell and loved the members of her Class. Modena was known for her love of people, and for her famous “Chocolate Sheath Cake.” She lost count of the number of cakes she made for others. They were lovingly made and given to those celebrating birthdays, those in grief or those who were sick, or those having family celebrations. They were her signature calling card and you knew you were blessed when you received her cake.
In addition to baking, Modena sent out hundreds of cards, emails, texts, and phone calls over the years to cheer someone up, to wish them well, to offer hope and encouragement, or to console in grief. Modena was known for her kind word and quick wit. She loved to laugh and make others laugh, but mostly she just loved people. You knew you were loved when you were in her presence. Even at the age of 96, she had more friends from all ages and backgrounds than could be counted! Everyone loved Modena, because Modena loved everyone!
Modena loved the Lord Jesus Christ and never lost an opportunity to share the Good News to those who were willing to listen. She constantly prayed for others and was an ardent student of the Scriptures until she passed away. Sitting on the table beside her recliner was a hand-written synopsis of every book of the Bible. At 96, she was still reading, studying God’s Word and writing out prayers. She even shared the Gospel with her anesthesiologist before heading off to her last surgery in April. She was a faithful member of the President’s Class at First Baptist Dallas and was greatly encouraged and inspired by their love for her. Often, she would ask why she lived as long as she did. She was lovingly told by her family and many friends that she had a job and that was to pray for and encourage others, which she did every single day.