When Your Mamaw Meets Jesus

Zola “Mamaw” Oliver was a force of nature to be reckoned with. She was strong, fierce, often stubborn, and spoke her mind bluntly.

She was always dressed to the dime, lipstick and all (which would always end up on her teeth), and her snuff was always close by. She loved her hats and wore her favorite Christmas sweater every year.

Mamaw was one of the funniest ladies you would ever meet. She could make you laugh and most of the time she didn’t even have to try.

Mamaw was a lady who lived life with determination and great faith. She accomplished many things in her life of 92 years. She raised five children and reared an extra son who she never considered less than her own. She raised their first daughter for two years while her husband fought for our country. She spent her days in the kitchen, in the garden, and was the headmaster of the barn crew at the tobacco barn. She ran the household, aided the fields, and fed as many mouths that could fit in her kitchen.

Mamaw loved to cook. She could whip up black-eyed peas, creamed corn, and was a master of peas and dumplings.

Mamaw loved paying Rook with friends, and sitting on her porch watching the birds.

Mamaw was a singer with a beautiful voice and passion that could stretch across the world. Mamaw loved to sing her favorite hymns from the top of her lungs. Some of her favorites were Amazing Grace, Victory in Jesus, and There is a Lighthouse written by her youngest son. She spent many years leading the church choir. She loved it when everyone sang along with her, and if you were not singing loud enough she would not hesitate to punch you in the arm. It is an Oliver tradition that Christmas Eve we circle up and sing Christmas carols and hymns with Mamaw directing the choir she and Papaw built proudly. Mamaw was also the best yodeler in the Yadkin Valley, and she could sing T for Texas like no other.

Mamaw never knew a stranger. She truly loved everyone with more love than any human heart could hold. She was overflowing with the love of Jesus that poured into every aspect and person in her life. She gave the biggest hugs that squeezed the breath out of you.

Mamaw and Papaw not only built a life, but they built a family of 50 and growing with one, and probably more, on the way. Together they built a marriage and a life that withstood many storms, trials, and triumphs for 70 years. Their foundation was built on Jesus Christ alone and she clung to that hope when Papaw went to be with Jesus in 2012. God knew he had to go first because he couldn’t have made it in this life without his pride in joy. Those two loved each other more than words can express, and when Mamaw said, “Jump” he would say “How high?” She absolutely loved to be cuddled up next to him while he rubbed her arm.

Her last moments were spent how she spent the majority of her life, singing and praising the Lord with her family by her side.


Our Mamaw was a spit fire with a heart of grace. We loved our Mamaw and she will always hold a special place in our hearts. Her family and her friends will miss her dearly, but are so thankful that she is reunited with Papaw and sitting at the feet of Jesus today and forever.


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