Home Local News Hamlet centenarian transported to funeral by horse-drawn carriage

Hamlet centenarian transported to funeral by horse-drawn carriage

The body of late centenarian Sena Mae Parker is pulled past Hamlet City Lake by a team of horses on the way to Pemberton Temple Church of God in Christ for her funeral late Monday morning.
William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

HAMLET — Traffic came to a halt late Monday morning for a sight not often seen: a funeral procession led by a team of horses.

The body of late centenarian Sena Mae Parker was carried along U.S. 74 Business and N.C. 177 before the carriage came to a stop at Pemberton Temple Church of God in Christ on Monroe Avenue.

Bystanders at Hamlet City Lake had their cellphones handy as the two white Percheron horses passed by. Several videos and photos were also taken by funeral goers at the church before and after the casket was removed from the carriage, provided by Gold Leaf Carriage out of Fuquay-Varina, and taken inside.

According to her obituary from Nelson Funeral Home of Rockingham, Parker was born Jan. 14, 1918 in Lancaster, South Carolina, to the late Jesse and Maggie Barnes. She attended grade school in Hamlet and later received her GED at Richmond Community College in 1978.

Throughout her life, she worked on numerous farms and later worked as a housekeeper, seamstress and hatmaker, and in encyclopedia sales and retail.

Parker joined Pemberton Temple in 1963 and served as president of the Missionary Circle and Missionary Choir and as a Sunday School teacher. She also ministered in the community by visiting nursing homes, senior centers and other homebound residents, as well as rendering worship service every fourth Sunday to those incarcerated in prison.


“Her home was a place of refuge for hurting and lost souls,” her obituary reads. “Many have attended Bible study in her home … When working with lost souls whenever and wherever needed, she crossed denominational lines and continued to follow her God-given commission.”

Parker also volunteered in the local schools to encourage struggling students.

She married Prince Albert Terry Sr. in 1938 and the couple had eight children. After Terry died, she married again, this time to the Rev. Vernell Parker, who also preceded her in death, along with two children and one grandchild.

One of her grandchildren, Tony Terry, went on to be a soul singer who landed several hits on Billboard’s R&B charts.

Parker died Jan. 1, two weeks shy of reaching the age of 101.


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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.