Myrl McCarley Rackley moved to Altha, Florida from Woodland, Alabama, in 1945 to teach Home Economics for Altha School. A 1945 graduate of Alabama College at Montevallo, an all-girls school at the time, Mrs. Rackley was recruited by her former high school principal who had recently become principal at Altha School.
She married Rudolph Rackley from Altha in 1947 and raised a family of 5 children, 13 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren. Aside from her family, Mrs. Rackley had the privilege of shaping thousands of students during her 36-year tenure as the Home Economics teacher at Altha School.
She is highly regarded by her former students as a person who personified dignity and grace. Former student Alice Marshall states, “she is an inspiration to me since I was a student at Altha High School and she is a role model in my life; one of the most graceful ladies I know.”
She was the inaugural sponsor of Future Homemakers of America (FHA) at Altha School in 1946. Through her teachings, girls and boys became successful homemakers; learning to sew, cook, repair small appliances and anything necessary to successfully take care of their family and home.
Mrs. Rackley stressed the importance of her students always being prepared to properly conduct themselves in any setting. She lived by the principle to be kind to everyone. She wanted her children and her students to be able to adapt to any situation, whether you were invited to dine with the President or interacting with the underserved and underprivileged population; everyone is worthy of the same respect.
Through the years, Mrs. Rackley was involved in many aspects at Altha School. She was responsible for making the cheerleader uniforms for the Altha Cheerleaders, patching the football uniforms and making a large flag for the band to display during football games. These are just a few of her selfless acts over the years.
Growing up in Altha Public School whenever home ec was mentioned, Mrs. Rackley’s name was soon to follow. She ran a top-notch program. I had the privilege of being in one of her classes at Altha and she truly impacted not only me but lots of others throughout her tenure as an educator for the Calhoun County School system,” states Russell Baggett, Altha School teacher.
“I am in awe of the respect shown to my grandmother when former students see her in public. You can tell she genuinely made an impact in their lives,” states granddaughter, Kelly King.
Mrs. Rackley thoroughly enjoys baking and gets much delight by serving others. She always remembers her family and friends’ favorite dishes. She makes a point to cook their favorite meal or to send a piece of cake home with them if she knows it is their favorite. For example, Gary Shuler loved her strawberry cake, so she would always make it for him when they had a family gathering that her sons, Rudy or Jay Hoyt would attend. When her granddaughter Karah was coming home she would have a freshly baked pound cake for her; or if her grandson Jay came from Alabama, a red velvet cake without nuts would be on the menu. Of course, if grandson Brad was going to be there for Sunday lunch, a small pot of rice would be made because he didn’t like potatoes.
Mark Brogdon, former student says, “She’s always been a fixture in the Altha community. I have known her since I was 5 or 6 and she always treated me like one of the family and is like an extended grandmother.”
At 97 years young, Mrs. Rackley continues to enjoy her family, especially the purity and joy of the youngest great-grandchildren Tate Rudolph, Lila Myrl and Rhett Herbert . She continues to travel with her daughters, Harriett, Hilda and Gilda and attends Altha Methodist Church. Thank you for all you have done for Calhoun County and for being the Calhoun County Community Foundation's February 2021 Local Legend.