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Sarah Alice James Triplett, 93, quietly passed away on January 17, 2024. Born in Florence, Alabama, on June 3, 1930, she was the daughter of John Shelley “Pete” James and Ella Ruth Carter James.
In addition to her parents, those who predeceased her are her beloved husband of 67 earthly years, Retired Major James Carson Triplett; son-in-law, Dr. Steven Ernest Jones; sister, Martha Harriett James; brother, Daniel Carter James; niece, Connie Carole James; and in-laws, Billie Sue Triplett Isbell (Ed), Raymond Rance Triplett, Jr., and Sarah Jean Triplett Caldwell (Jim).
Sarah was eighteen when Jimmy Triplett, a young US Army recruit from Lenoir, North Carolina, drove her brother home for leave. Jim, or “Trip” as Sarah called him, recalled seeing a “breathtakingly beautiful young lady in a red suit.” At first sight he fell in love, offering to take Dan home at every chance. The couple wed in 1950. Over the next few years, they had two beautiful daughters.
Faith and family were her foundation. A lifelong member of St. James United Methodist Church, Sarah’s life reflected love, warmth, patience, optimism, and gentility. Not a passive observer of life, she eagerly engaged herself in it. A dedicated Christian, she read her Bible daily and until her death kept inside its front cover a picture of her husband. She had a grateful heart, aware of her blessings and the source of them.
During her husband’s 24 years of active military duty, the family made homes at Army bases in Winder and Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama; the Presidio, San Francisco, California; the Panama Canal Zone; and Arlington, Virginia, where Trip was stationed at the Pentagon. At each place, Sarah involved herself in a myriad of activities. Many of those revolved around her children’s lives: sporting events, horse shows, gymnastic meets, dance recitals, and field trips. On winter days she would have hot chocolate waiting in the school cafeteria for students who walked to school in the cold. She handmade clothes, including prom dresses, formals, and costumes. The elaborate, beaded wedding dresses she made for both daughters rivaled any haute couture and held special meaning.
Over the years, the close-knit family enjoyed many adventures and activities. In Panama they each had horses and rode them together in the jungle. They enjoyed family time at the stables. When their daughters had children of their own, Sarah and Trip took them and the six grandchildren in their motorhome on 18 summer trips to 48 states. They also cruised to Alaska and traveled to Hawaii to complete all 50 states.
Everyone who knew Sarah admired her. She was the ideal mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother going by the affectionate name of “LaLa”. Yet, she was feisty, a savvy businesswoman, a die-hard sports fan, an avid traveler, an insatiable reader, and an accomplished seamstress and quilter.
In anticipation of her husband’s retirement, while he was serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, she founded Triplett’s Furniture Fashions of Florence, Alabama, and stayed actively involved in the business for 25 years.
Sarah loved all sports. She was an enthusiastic University of North Alabama fan and watched every Atlanta Braves game and most NFL games. As recently as this past fall, she cheered the UNA Lions in person from the stands. With pride she watched two of her grandsons play football at the University of Tennessee and the University of Alabama. Every Monday night she, her mother, and her sister bowled in a women’s league on the Triplett’s Furniture Fashions team.
Sarah enjoyed travel, the beach being one of her favorite destinations. On her 88th birthday she climbed the steps to the top of Ireland’s Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone! Later, she traveled to Ecuador to attend the wedding of one of her grandsons. To celebrate her 93rd birthday within this past year, she, her daughters, and her granddaughter, Bentley, visited Lake Como, Italy, and embarked on a week-long Rhine River cruise. All her life she remained active and vibrant.
Along with her covert candy stash, Sarah kept a book by her side. Voraciously, she consumed, not only the candy, but also books of every genre. From history to religion to mystery to romance, fiction or non-fiction, she welcomed any suggestions to add to her repertoire.
Sarah was an accomplished quilter. She fashioned and crafted intricate, lasting works of art, gifting them to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends. At the time of her death, she was expecting two great-granddaughters. She was already working on new quilts for them.
Sarah leaves a legacy of strength, unity, the creative spirit, and love. Those left to cherish that legacy are her two daughters Rebecca Leigh Triplett Jones of Birmingham, Alabama, and Susan Kaye Triplett Anderson (Terry) of Florence, Alabama; grandchildren Matthew Steven Jones (Valerie) of Birmingham, Alabama, Zoya Kalisto Commer (AnnaLeah) of Birmingham, Alabama, Mark Allen Jones (Sasha) of Smyrna, Georgia, Carson Caine Anderson (Kari) of Corona del Mar, California, Bentley Barbour Anderson of Florence, Alabama, and Keaton Carroll Anderson (Sydney) of Franklin, Tennessee; and great-grandson, Caine James Anderson of Corona del Mar, California. She is also survived by her sisters-in-law Carole Willingham James of Florence, Alabama, and Sandy Trivette Triplett of Lenoir, North Carolina and Afton, Wyoming; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.
Also surviving are her lifelong best friend, Frances Ruth Barnett McGee, and caregivers who became like family to her: Jackie Thomas, Karen Spence, and Natalie Spence. The family thanks Dr. Lyman Mitchell for his exceptional care.
The family will host a casual visitation at Sarah’s home on Monday, January 29th, 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Burial will be beside her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the University of North Alabama Foundation Stadium Fund, “Memorial for Sarah Triplett”, UNA Box 5113, Florence, Alabama 35632-0001 or Riverhill School, “Memorial for Sarah Triplett”, 2710 Darby Drive, Florence, Alabama, 35630, or your favorite charity. An online guest book may be signed at www.greenviewmemorial.com.