Annie Ree (Palmer) Rushing, loving mother, grandmother and great-grandmother known for an unrivaled crawfish bisque and often found with a fishing pole in her hand, died January 29, 2022. She was 93.
Annie Ree was born in Albany, Louisiana, in 1928 and lived most of her life in Baker, where she and her husband Calvin raised their three children.
She was known as "MawMaw" to 12 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren, and no one loved children - especially babies - as much as MawMaw. Her home in Baker, built by Calvin in the 1950s, was the hub of family gatherings for decades. She hosted dozens of Christmas dinners and Easter suppers, plus countless Sunday lunches - just because.
Her grandchildren had many favorites among MawMaw's recipes: roast and gravy, homemade hamburgers, and a variety of pies (pecan, chocolate, coconut). Her crawfish bisque, among her most requested dishes, was a multi-day undertaking involving the hands of many helpers to clean and stuff crawfish heads. It was well worth the effort.
Meals shared at MawMaw's were special not just because of the food (yes, it really was that good). Those meals were how Annie Ree made people feel welcome and how she demonstrated a deep love and compassion for her family. The grandchildren and great-grandchildren who were her frequent visitors remember many weekends spent in her home, building Lincoln Log cabins and bedsheet-and-pillow forts.
Annie Ree could often be found fishing. When her children were young, she and Calvin would rise before the sun, drive to a remote Louisiana waterway and launch a bateau into the bayou. Once Calvin retired, the pair would take their motorhome on trips in search of a great catch, finding favorite fishing holes in Arkansas' Lake Ouachita.
A devoted Christian, Annie Ree and her family attended Faith Baptist Church, Brownsfield Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Baker. Her final church family was at New Life Baptist Church of Baker, led by the Rev. Gary Richerson. Annie Ree spoke often about her faith and was quick to share wisdom from scripture. Her greatest service was to children; she cared for babies in the church nursery every Sunday for more than 40 years.
Annie Ree is preceded in death by her husband, Calvin Kent Rushing; her parents, Benjamin Palmer Sr. and Nancy Alberta Kinchen Palmer; her brothers, Benjamin Palmer II and Huey Palmer; and her sister, Mary Lee Hutchinson.
She is survived by her son Wayne Rushing and wife Cathy; her daughter Linda Rushing Champagne and husband Barry; and her daughter Cheryl Rushing Gagnet and husband Clay. She's also survived by 12 grandchildren: Jeffrey Rushing; Lisa Turner; Amy, Todd and Brian McGrew; Carrie Pitre; Debbie Whitehead; Daryl Champagne; and Kayla, Kyle, Kelsey and Kimberly Gagnet; as well as 18 great-grandchildren: Sydney Rushing; Braedon Smith; Christian, Katelyn and Savannah Turner; Maegan Shows; Madison and Cole Griffin; Sam and Gabriel McGrew; Griffin Fetters; Faith Pitre; Joshua and Julie Whitehead; Paige, Nicholas and Emmy Champagne; and Marlowe Castille.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, Feb. 5, at Baker Funeral Home, 6401 Groom Road. Visitation begins at 11 a.m., followed by a service at 1 p.m.