Sophia was raised on a farm in rural Mammoth Springs with a family of five brothers and five sisters. It was there she accepted the Lord into her life at the Church of Christ. She was a homebody who loved being surrounded by her family and loved ones.
On June 26, 1936, she married Leonard Briggs at Simmons, Missouri. This union lasted 52 years before Leonard’s death in 1988. Two daughters were born to the couple, Modene and Barbara.
In 1942, the family moved to the Mt. Pisgah community outside Cabool, where they operated a dairy farm. They joined Mt. Pisgah Church and were members for many years. Sophia was very involved with Mt. Pisgah Ladies’ Aid and particularly enjoyed quilting. She also taught Sunday school, and many of her former pupils continue to be active in local churches today. Singing hymns was also a source of great joy, from the Briggs’ Family Quartet where the family performed together to the Mt. Pisgah Quartet where Leonard and she sang with their good friends Floyd and Wilma Walls. She had a beautiful alto voice that always rang out in the choir. Eventually, they moved to town and during their later years they attended Cabool Free Will Baptist Church. During these years many hours were spent volunteering at Cabool Senior Center and watching St. Louis Cardinal games.
Sophia devoted a great amount of time to her grandchildren, teaching them card games, reading to them, preparing them meals, giving piano lessons, and she was famous for curing each grandchild’s ailments with his or her own special dish. Her Bible was filled with newspaper clippings and photographs of their accomplishments and she never forgot a birthday, even as there were great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her brothers, Delbert, Sherman, Ernest, Clint and Austin; her sisters, Susie, Annie, Ora, Alta, and Dorothy; one grandson, Terry Hobbs; and one granddaughter, Lorna Gay Tate.
She is survived by her daughters, Modene Smith and Barbara Tate, both of Cabool; her grandchildren, Jeri Welch of Houston, Missouri, Lana Brown and husband Shawn of Houston, Barry Tate and wife Phaedra of Fair Play, Missouri, Brad Tate and wife Caren of Springfield, Missouri, Sandy Cremer of Houston, and Stacey VanNatta and husband Clint of Willard, Missouri; great-grandchildren Cory Clark, Megan VanNatta, Brigg Pierson, Melanie Welch, Ashten Holman, Kendra Welch, Preston Tate, Sydney Cremer, Celina Tate, Shelby Cremer, Jonathan Tate, Mackenzie Tate, Kaylee Tate, Brett Cremer, Colton Tate, Justin Brown and Shelby Brown; great-great-grandchildren Lauren, Bryson, Kaily, Kyran, Aubree and Lyla; sisters-in-law Faye Pulley and Esther Faye Bridges, both of Springfield; in addition to many nieces, nephews and friends at Pineview Heights and Landmark Villa.
Services were Monday, January 19, 2015, at 11:00 a.m. in Mt. Pisgah Free Will Baptist Church, Cabool. Speakers were grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Pallbearers were Cory Clark, Brigg Pierson, Preston Tate, Jonathan Tate, Colton Tate, Brett Cremer and Clint VanNatta. Burial was in Cabool Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Multiple Sclerosis or Providence Church. Services were under the direction of Evans Funeral Home.