Milbrey Wyrick Bullard, Harriman
Milbrey Wyrick Bullard, 75, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017. She had been under
hospice care, residing at Signature Healthcare of Fentress County, Jamestown, TN, near her daughter’s
Milbrey is survived by daughter, Virginia Adams; grandsons, Jared Adams and Julian Adams; brother,
Arnold Wyrick; and many close brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, along with a multitude of beloved
nieces and nephews. Her husband of 49 years, Virgil Allen Bullard; parents, Joseph Frank Wyrick and Anna Isham Wyrick; sisters, Jewel Wyrick and Joyce Chastain; brothers, Orville Wyrick and Clay Wyrick preceded her in death.
Milbrey was born in the Emory Heights community of Harriman, TN on August 26, 1942. Milbrey was the
last-born child to Frank & Anna; most of her siblings were grown or close to it when she arrived in the
world. As a child, she enjoyed playing games with her neighborhood friends and making dolls from sticks
and scraps of cloth. She worked alongside her mother, learning domestic affairs such as cooking and
sewing, to attend to the family’s needs. She graduated from South Harriman High School in 1960.
As a young woman, she worked at Burlington Mills, saving enough money to purchase a new piano &
taught herself to play by ear. She practiced the gospel hymns she grew up singing at the church her
grandfather Foote Wyrick founded, Emory Heights Missionary Baptist Church. Once she learned how to
play those old-fashioned songs, she went on to teach herself the Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Beach Boys
tunes of the day. When her brother Orville arrived home with his growing family from having served
overseas, she moved to Alabama and California to help tend to his children for a few years.
Back home in Harriman, she met Allen Bullard on the front porch of her family’s farmhouse. He had been
hired by her Father to do some work around the farm. They wed in 1968 while Milbrey was working
retail at the Big K. They surprised most of the family by bringing home their adopted daughter, Virginia
Ann Bullard, in 1972. Milbrey stayed at home with her daughter until she started school, then she
became a volunteer at Emory Heights Elementary, where she assisted in the library and Virginia’s
classrooms. When her daughter was older, she returned to retail work, at Family Dollar, where she made
many lasting friendships and had lots of interesting stories to converse about.
Milbrey was a talented and prolific creator. She sewed, did embroidery and cross stitch, quilted and
crocheted. She sewed many of her daughter’s favorite costumes and dresses when she was little and
even made her custom maternity dresses years later. She was extremely talented with her favorite
medium, a crochet hook and yarn. She created many beautiful heirloom pieces for family and friends
over the years. She even taught crocheting classes at her nursing home, helping others learn the art
form, including her daughter Virginia and her Great-God Daughter, Rosie.
Milbrey’s creations became the major source of income when her husband Allen, suffered an injury in
1989 and was no longer able to work construction. They went into business together, a traveling crafts
company, so to speak. She would crochet afghans, embroider household decor items, and sew quilt tops.
Allen would do the quilting, woodcarving and driving to their various locales. They went all over the
region, to craft shows and markets, selling their wares and taking orders for more. They both really
enjoyed this time together and made many friends along the way.
Aside from crafting, Milbrey enjoyed listening to old timey gospel music, flea markets, flower gardens,
birds, country festivals, talking on the phone to her friends, puzzle books and recipes. She also enjoyed
extended visits with her daughter’s family in Florida, “seeing all the sights,” before they relocated back to
East TN for good, in 2010.
Milbrey’s greatest joy came from visiting with her friends and family. She had lots of visitors and phone
calls over the past year, which she called “a blessing beyond measure.”
Milbrey had suffered from COPD & emphysema for several years, giving up cigarettes in July of 2014. She
was diagnosed with lung cancer last February, opting for no treatment. The cancer rapidly spread to her
stomach, lymph nodes and brain, though she kept her appetite and sharp mind until the end. Cancer ate
her body, attacking it from the inside out. She wanted her demise to be a lesson to others to STOP
SMOKING. (She even insisted on the message being part of her obituary!)
The family thanks the staff at Victorian Square Assisted Living Facility in Rockwood and Signature
Healthcare of Fentress County for the excellent care given to Milbrey and her recently deceased
husband, Allen. The staff at both facilities went above and beyond to show each of them love while
providing the best of medical care.
Milbrey’s Memorial service will be at 2:30 this Sunday, October 22nd, at Emory Heights Baptist Church,
326 Emory Heights Road, Harriman, TN 37748. Flowers will be repurposed and delivered to the residents
of Signature Healthcare of Fentress County. Kyker Funeral Home of Harriman is serving the Bullard