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April 25, 1922 - April 29, 2022

Madge Cross Brinson, age 100, went home to be with her family on April 29, 2022.

She was born on the Cross farm in Chatham County, N.C., near Corinth in 1922. She lived on the farm with parents James Cross Sr. and lula (Dickens) Cross and brother James Cross Jr. and sisters Hazel, Mary, and Helen. The farm never had electricity or running water. The kids all helped in the fields, and at night the family would play a variety of musical instruments and sing. Madge’s father died in 1935, leaving Iula to maintain the household and raise five children. Their strong faith helped them through these tough times.

We believe that Madge’s good health was a result of working on the farm, eating “organic” food and spending a lot of times outdoors. They drank milk from the cow, raised pigs for meat, and had eggs from the chickens. They grew all their own vegetables. They felt grateful to have food from the farm to eat, given the food shortages in the cities during the Great Depression years. The tight-knit community also came together and helped each other out, often trading resources during these tough years. When Madge was 4 years old she contracted polio. She was treated by their country doctor who had no other patients with this disease and knowledge of the disease was very limited. She was very lucky to survive, and we believe she was the oldest living polio survivor in 2022.

During Madge’s 100 years, she saw a huge amount of change. From her humble start on a farm without running water or electricity, she went on to adapt to the many technologies that developed over her lifetime, and learned to play bridge on the computer, create personalized cards, use a cell phone and use a GPS device to travel around town. Most recently, she learned to use Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends spread far and wide and loved seeing everyone’s family photos.

Iula, Madge and little sister Helen eventually moved from the farm to a small house in Corinth across from their church. Madge left home to work at Fort Bragg, N.C., and lived with four housemates near the military base. She enjoyed her work, and loved sharing a big house with these four girls. She stayed in touch with them over the years. She met her future husband, Leo T. Brinson Jr., a student at North Carolina State University, who was pursuing a career in large diesel engines and gas turbines. They subsequently moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of a few places that was manufacturing large diesel engines at the time. Leo’s engineering career then took them to St. Cloud, Minnesota, followed by General Motors Locomotive near Darien, Illinois.

In 1987 Madge and Leo retired to Leo’s hometown of Arapahoe, N.C., where they enjoyed many good times with Leo’s relatives, especially Gladys and Jack Lee. Over the years, they spent many wonderful days fishing and boating, traveling to local theaters, going to clambakes, and taking the grandchildren to Atlantic Beach when they came to visit. Madge had a huge garden, and enjoyed her gorgeous lawn filled with magnolia trees, azaleas, dogwoods and gardenias. In 2000, after Leo passed away, Madge moved to Madison to live near her two children. Throughout her many moves, she gracefully adapted to new climates and new places, quickly making new acquaintances and lasting friendships. Her interests included singing in church and women’s groups, piano playing, sewing and crafting, cooking, gardening, bowling, and playing Bridge.

Over the last 22 years in Madison, she enjoyed the friendship of many people in her wonderful apartment complex, Sauk Gardens, in Madison, especially Sally, who was by her side in both good times and in bad.

Madge passed four days after her 100th birthday at St. Mary’s Care Center in Madison, where she resided for one year. She out-lived all of her siblings and most of her friends. Madge is survived by her two children, Edward (Susan) Brinson and Linda (Barry) Fox; her three granddaughters Meghan Fox, Molly Fox (Gili Vaknin) and Lana Fox (Johnny Uelmen); and her two great grandchildren, Eliana Vaknin and Liam Vaknin. Madge is also survived by many special nieces, nephews, and cousins residing in North Carolina, California, Illinois, Arizona, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia.

Besides being a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, our matriarch was a lover of animals and people, an optimist, cookie baker extraordinaire, ukulele, guitar, accordion and piano player. Most of all we will remember her for her goodness, her kindness, her generosity and abundance of love. She was always up for anything, and she lived life to the fullest. She was an inspiration to all who met her.

Her cremains will be buried with her family at Buckhorn Methodist Church Cemetery at Corinth, N.C., at a date yet to be determined.

For anyone wishing to honor Madge’s life, please consider a contribution to Buckhorn United Methodist Church, 2438 N.C. Hwy. 42, Moncure, N.C. 27559.