April 12, 2021

MORRIS COUNTY AFRO-AMERICAN NEWS

MORRIS COUNTY AFRO-AMERICAN NEWS

Obituary

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Arthur W. Lawrence

Arthur W. Lawrence 77 departed this life unexpectedly on Sunday February 28, 2021 at St. Clare’s Hospital of Denville after a short illness.  He was born July 18, 1943 to the late Joe H. Lawrence Sr. and Mary E. (Roberts) in New York City.

Arthur has resided in Morristown/Denville for the past 40 plus years.  He worked for Champion International, Dairy Pak Division for 28 years before retiring.

Arthur was a one of a kind father and husband, he was funny, silly, soft spoken, giving people person.  Arthur led a very active life; you would never see him just sitting around doing nothing, he was always doing something.  He loved listening to music, dancing, lifting weights, exercising, doing home repairs, playing billiards and always was detailing the cars.  Arthur was a teacher to his kids and grandkids; especially the girls.  Everything he would say or do would turn into a lesson about something, he taught them basic home repairs and basic auto mechanics so that they could be self-reliant and independent.  His words and lessons will forever live on within them.

Arthur was known by many and loved by all.  He leaves to cherish his memory his wife of 56 years Lois A. (Newsome) of Denville, NJ, two sons Ronald “Skinny” Lawrence and Arthur W. Lawrence Jr,. one daughter M. Melissa Lawrence, two very special granddaughter/daughters Taleeya N. Lawrence and Na’Zyia S. Honour.  Arthur also leaves to cherish his memory 8 grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews and friends near and far.

Arthur is preceded in death by two sons Bruce and Donald ” Fats” Lawrence, three brothers Joe Lawrence Jr, Calvin Lawrence and John “Dr. Dirt” Lawrence, two sisters Lorraine Grant and Geneva Owens.

Arthur was the last member of the “Lawrence Clan” to pass, the family is together again.

Leroy Thomas Bass, Sr.

Leroy Thomas Bass, Sr.

May 5, 1933 – March 11, 2021

Leroy Thomas “L.T.” Bass, Sr. was born on May 5, 1933 in Oxford, North Carolina to the late Leroy Bass and Thelma (Satterwhite) Bass. He was called home on March 11, 2021, in which he peacefully transitioned while surrounded by his loved ones.

L.T. received his grade school education through the Granville County Public Schools. He moved to New Jersey in 1951 where he soon met the love of his life. L.T. was united in matrimony to Mary Lee (Aiken) Bass on June 14, 1953.

L.T. spent half of his working career at International Paper. He spent the latter half of his career at Howmet-Dover Casting until his retirement in 1998. He was also quite the craftsman. L.T. loved spending his free time building things, completing different electrical tasks and any other project he could get his hands on.

L.T. was a dedicated servant to the Lord. He was raised in Oak Grove Baptist Church near his hometown of Oxford, North Carolina where he confessed Christ as his Lord and Savior. He was a longtime member of Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, New Jersey before becoming a member of Bethel A.M.E in 2012.

All of those whom have crossed L.T.’s path knew he was a family man. L.T. loved his family. He was a simple man that enjoyed family gatherings, watching his western movies, his Crown Royal and especially his Saturday morning breakfasts with his longtime buddies. He was also an active member and previous Treasurer of Mount Tabor Lodge #71 A.F. & A.M. of Morristown, New Jersey since 1971.

Although he has been called home, we will continue to honor his legacy and cherish the memories of his joyous ways and his bright smile that is forever imbedded in our hearts and minds.

L.T. will be greeted by his preceded loved ones including his wife Mary Lee, three of his children; Bridget Lee, Leroy Thomas Bass Jr., and Dan Bass and all of his siblings; Randolph Bass, Thelma Louise (Bass) Evans, Charles (Mack) Bass Sr., George (Buck) Bass Sr., and Samuel Bass.

L.T. leaves a host of loved ones to cherish his many loving memories including his children; Ronald Bruce Bass (Adrienne) of Dover, NJ and Carla Bass Robinson (Jerome) of Morristown, NJ. His grandchildren; Daniel D. Bass (Lori) of Randolph, NJ, Anitra “Nancy” Hines (Tyrone) of Las Vegas, NV, Jasmine Bass of Morristown, NJ, Michael Cummings (Ana) of Mount Arlington, NJ, and Ronald Bruce Bass Jr. of Budd Lake, NJ. His great grandchildren; Shakira Hines of Hillside, NJ, Syanne Hines, Tanai Hines, Tyrone Hines Jr. all of Las Vegas, NV, Mariah Rimas, Leeana Cummings, Mila Cummings all of Mount Arlington, NJ, et al. His aunts; Lovely Brandon of Oxford, NC, Erseleen Vaughn of Atlanta, GA, and Ernestine Pete of Durham, NC and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Deborah Clark

March 5, 1958 – February 23, 2021
Deborah Clark

Deborah (Debbie) Howell Clarkdied suddenly on Tuesday, February 23, 2021 in Morristown, NJ.  Debbie was 62 years young. Born in Morristown, NJ on March 5, 1958, Debbie was the daughter of the late Willie Clarence and Mary Ellen (Jones) Howell.  At the time of her death, Debbie resided in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

Debbie worked at Fitzmaurice Community Services, Inc. She was a caregiver by occupation but also a caregiver to all those who knew her.  Her clients were not just clients, but she loved them and treated them like family.  Debbie dedicated her entire life to working in careers that allowed her the opportunity to do what she loved most, which was caring for children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and the homeless.  Debbie’s home was open to those in need of a meal, clothes, or a place to stay.

Debbie was a devoted wife and mother and loved by all who knew her. She is survived by and leaves to mourn her beloved husband Jimmie Earl Clark, Sr., three sons: Jimmie E. Clark, Jr., ofI owa, Sam Clark (Lori) of Bangor, PA, and Dennis Clark of Saylorsburg, PA: two daughters, Crystal Buck (Kyle) of Bangor, PA, Samantha Clark of Philadelphia, PA and her daughter in love Carol Clark of Stroudsburg, PA: eight siblings: Thomas Bolden of Poughkeepsie, NY, Jules Howell of Columbia, SC, Loretta Howard of Doraville, GA, Diane Watkins (Tom) of Oakland CA, Sharon Antoine (Brian) of Fairburn, Ga, Willie Howell Jr. (Abigail) of Morristown, NJ, Darryl Howell of Morristown, NJ, Brenda Howell of Powder Springs, GA.

She is also survived by 15 grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins,friends, and her beloved dogs.

In addition to her parents Willie & Mary Howell, Debbie was predeceased by her twin brother, Dennis Howell, a sister Linda Howell, and a granddaughter Shelly Clark.

Renard Olen Haskins

March 2, 1953 – February 8, 2021

Renard Olen Haskins

Renard attended and graduated from Morristown High School in 1971 where he excelled in wrestling. His honors from 1969-1971 include 3-time NJ State Champ Medalist, #1 in Morristown history, #3 in District Regional 11 history, #17 in Region 3 history, #99 in NJ history and Hall of fame inductee. He received a Full scholarship to the University of Cincinnati.

Renard began his career at JCP&L (Jersey Central Power & Light) on July 10, 1978, a robust 42 years! During his tenure at JCP&L, he worked his way up the ladder from a Meter Reader in the Meter department to a Utility Tech in East Hanover.  This rise in jobs included Meter Reader, Commercial Dept. Clerk, Accounting Clerk, Layout Technician, 2nd Class Meter Tester, Test Technician in the Relay department to his final position as a Utility Technician in East Hanover.

Renard was predeceased in death by his parents Wallace L Haskins and Juanell Haskins (Howell). He is survived by his son Shaun Dortch, of Willingboro, NJ and six grandchildren, his sisters Lowanea Simmons of Savannah, GA and Renata Haskins, of Morristown, NJ. Two nephews Kelvin Martin, of Newark, NJ and Rephel Martin, of Savannah, GA. A niece Crystal Simmons of Irvington, NJ. He also leaves to mourn a Special Aunt & Uncle Sarah & Herbert Cotten, as well as a host of other aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him.

Edward  Taborn

Edward Taborn aka “Bud” was born January 21, 1936 in Oxford N.C to the late Earlie James Taborn and Mattie (Henderson) Taborn.

Bud was married to the late Marjorie Taborn. He was a hard worker and came from a family that was self taught mechanics. Bud was employed at Nova Chrysler Dealership on South Street in Morristown where he was there for many years until retiring.

Bud always had a big heart for helping those in need. After retiring he could never stay still always looking to do something…so he started his own little hussle driving people to and from work, taking them shopping and also to their doctors appointments. And if you were stuck on the highway he was there to fix your car problem too. Even some of the great nieces watched Bud work on cars and later could fix a car themselves.

Bud surrendered the old man over to the Lord for and became a new man in Christ Jesus. He was a faithful member of Calvary Baptist Church here in Morristown. Constantly giving God thanks for all he has done for him.

Bud leaves to cherish his memories of two sisters. Helen Taborn Oakley of Oxford N.C. Marrianna Taborn Wilkerson (Sista) of Paterson N.J. one brother James Edward Taborn (Dobug) also from Paterson. NJ. A slew of nieces, nephews, great and great great nieces and nephews, cousins and other family members and friends. He also leaves behind his extended family Delia King, Ryanne King, Shekinah King and Jaylen Washington(all from Morristown), Dante Webber and Tyeesha Webber(US Army) from Newark, NJ, a God son Jay Smith and a special friend Marlene Harris(Morristown)

Bud was preceded in death by: his two sisters Gloria Bass, Annie Ruth Taborn and a brother Ernest Taborn (Boot).

Willie Frank Jones

Willie Frank Jones departed life on Feb 15, 2021 in Morristown, NJ.  He was 93 years old.

Born in Kershaw, SC, he lived in Morristown for the last 60 plus years.

Mr. Jones served in the Army during World War II.  Willie worked for the Town of Morristown as a housing inspector until his retirement and volunteered as a chess instructor at many organizations within the community.

Mr. Jones was a lover of chess, nature, golf, gardening, music, family and fun.  He is survived by a sister Beatrice Colbert of Spring Hill, FL; a brother Johnnie Jones of Sumter, SC; twin daughters Nita Whyte of Morristown, NJ and Rita Jones of York, SC; five grandchildren Christopher, William, Jennifer and Jamie Whyte of Morristown, NJ and Samuel Starnes of York, SC; three great-grand children Javon and Jalen Whyte, Asia Reid; and a host of cousins, nephews, nieces, and other family and friends.

Deaconess Beatrice Mae Banks Samuels

Deaconess Beatrice Mae Banks Samuels

May 20, 1929 – January 18, 2021

Obituary

Services will be private, but can be viewed virtually at the link below:
https://4itc.zoom.us/j/548809865
Meeting ID: 548 809 865

Deaconess Beatrice M. Samuelswas a lifelong resident of Morristown, New Jersey. Born May 20, 1929, the second child [little sister to Randall] to the late Herbert and Ella DePew Banks. She was educated in the Morristown public schools graduating MHS in 1946. An avid reader, she was self-educated and possessed vast knowledge on various subjects.

‘Miss Bea’, as she was affectionately called by many, had a lengthy work history. She worked at Bamberger’s as an elevator operator, the Band Box Dry Cleaners; Morristown Electrical Supply, in accounting and Hank’s Children’s Apparel, all in Morristown. She also worked at Biophasics Diagnostic Lab, in Morris Plains, as the office manager.

Her longest tenure was serving as the Registrar for Morristown Memorial Medical Center, until she retired. Not being able to simply relax, she then worked part time at Flair Dry Cleaners.

Our Deaconess has always been philanthropic, and service minded. It was while serving as a volunteer at the Lyons Veterans’ Hospital as a Grey Lady, that she met, fell in love with and later married Edward L. Samuels, a WW II veteran working on the Nursing Staff at the hospital.

In a private ceremony performed by Pastor Spurgeon Harmon, they married on February 21, 1953.  Over time, they became the proud parents of four children: Linda, Ella, Dedra, and Herbert.

Always active in church, Bethel held a special place in her heart.

Serving as a Missionary and faithful member of the Gospel Chorus were her joys.

Ever supportive of her children, she actively supported the ministry of Rev. Linda for 25 years, serving as a founding member of Mount Moriah AMEC, Irvington, Stewardess, Choir member and Missionary at Mount Zion Millburn AMEC, Missionary advisor of Mount Olive AMEC, Flanders and Bethel AMEC, Passaic. The Missionary Society in Mount Olive was named in her honor.

When Rev. Linda was assigned to South Jersey to serve Mount Pisgah AMEC in Lawnside, NJ, Miss Bea returned to worship and serve at her beloved Bethel. With regular attendance at Bible Study and Prayer Service she continued to grow in the Lord. Oh. how she loved Pastor Sidney! It was under his leadership that she was consecrated a Deaconess, in the 141st Session of the New jersey Annual Conference Saturday, April 6, 2013, by Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram. A moment she
cherished dearly.

Affectionately called Mema by her grands, she doted on them and lavished them with her love and her prayers.

On Monday, January 18th she peacefully transitioned to eternal rest.

Deaconess Bea is preceded in victory by her husband of 46 years, Edward and her brother Randall Banks and her dearest friend Juanita Suit. She leaves to cherish sweet memories and life lessons, her children: Linda Ellerbe, Newark, Ella {Walter} Jones, Budd Lake; Dedra {Alex} Johnson, Flanders; and Herb Samuels, Morristown; her niece/daughter Cheryl Henderson, Morristown; her cousin/brother George W. Dorsey, Jr. {Carol}, Raleigh, NC; Her Grandchildren: Whitney, Alexandria VA, Aaron, Budd Lake, Willis {Kaitlyn}, Budd Lake, Terrell and Tyler, Flanders, Kayla, Parsippany, Danielle and Jayden, Newark; and her great granddaughter Eliana, Budd Lake; her godson Jeffrey Smith, Dover, “adopted grandson” Anthony Armstead, Morristown and her brother-in-law Charles Morgan, Dunellen, NJ. There are also a host of cousins, nieces and nephews, especially the Morgan clan whom she cherished: Charles, Booker, Tina, Beatrice, Troy and Brock;  many friends, and spiritually adopted family members.

Clarence H. Robinson

Clarence H. Robinson

March 18, 1949 – January 9, 2021

Due to the current Covid policy,  masks, social distancing and attendance restrictions are required.

Clarence H. Robinson, beloved son of the late Mary Robinson Davis and John Henry Robinson was born March 18, 1949 in Warren County, NC. Clarence went with the Lord on January 9, 2020.

He was a devoted father, son, uncle, grandfather, brother, and friends to many.

Housekeeping was his passion, and loved playing the lottery, most of all scratch offs. He loved to make others laugh with all his jokes.

He served the United States Army for many years. He moved to New Jersey to join in holy matrimony with his wife of fifty years Daisy Earnesta. From that union was born their son Andrew.

He was a member of the Masonic Order (PHA) for many years.

He was predeceased by his brothers Archie and Morise Robinson.

He leaves behind many memories with his wife Daisy, his children Andrew and Tanya, three grandchildren, Trezor Robinson, Salimah McCullough and Al’Malik McCullough. His sisters Rose and Kate Robinson of Morristown NJ, and Charlotte Robinson of VA, Mamie Arringtion (Bobby) Dover NJ,his beloved Aunts Betty Williams of Louisburg, NC and Rose Alston of Richmond VA and a host of step brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, family and friends.

Even during times of social distancing, anyone who has suffered a loss deserves love and support more than ever before. Let the family know you care by leaving treasured memories, thoughts and prayers on the Tribute Wall.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Clarence H. Robinson please visit our Tribute Store.

Oscar Theodore Alexander

Oscar Theodore Alexander

July 24, 1931 – December 28, 2020

Obituary

Oscar Theodore Alexander departed this life on Monday, December 28, 2020.  He was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina, to the late Richard and Creola Alexander.  He was the youngest of eight children. After graduating from West Charlotte High School, he went on to serve in the U.S. Army. Upon returning home, he attended North Carolina A & T State University. He graduated in 1963 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was employed at Picatinny Arsenal for 33 years; retiring in January 1995.Oscar enjoyed hobbies such as collecting coins, photography and smoking his pipe. He was an avid chess and poker player. Every Summer and Thanksgiving he would take his family to his hometown of Charlotte to spend time with family.

He enjoyed taking long walks in the evenings. Later on, he would enjoy taking walks with Shaun. He would always be ready and waiting for Shaun so they could walk and chit-chat. He adored his grandson, BJ, he always had a smile on his face just watching him play. Oscar is pre-deceased in death by his brothers; Frank, James (Wash), Marcellus, Harold, and Raymond, as well as his sisters, Thelma Proctor and Eddieola Williams.

Oscar is survived by his wife, Harrietta (Rhetta), a son, Brian Alexander, Sr. (Michelle), a grandson, Brian Alexander, Jr. (BJ), and a step-grandson, Shaun Evans.  He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Agnes Alexander, Hazeline Alexander, Alice Pearson, and Patricia Fair-Booth; a nephew, Raymond W. Alexander (Inez); two nieces, Deremia A. Witherspoon (Willie) and Renee A. Craft (Howard); as well as one great-niece, Ramine Alexander, three great-nephews, James Alexander, Alexster Witherspoon, and Bakari Craft along with a host of family and friends.

Broncos legend and football Hall of Famer Floyd Little dies at 78

Floyd Little was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a lengthy wait. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

The Denver Broncos and Syracuse University lost a legend. Hall of Fame running back Floyd Little died Saturday at 78.

Little spent his entire nine-year NFL career with the Broncos. He was selected by the team with the No. 6 overall pick in the first draft following the AFL-NFL merger in 1967. In nine seasons with the Broncos, Little rushed for 6,323 yards and scored 43 rushing touchdowns. He made five Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro team once. When Little retired, he was the seventh leading rusher of all time.

Little was inducted in the Broncos’ ring of fame in 1984. He made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

In a statement, Hall of Fame president David Baker called Little “a true hero of the game.”

“Floyd Little was a true hero of the game. He was a man of great integrity, passion and courage. His contributions off the field were even greater than his amazing accomplishments he did on it. Floyd’s smile, heart and character epitomized what it meant to have a Hall of Fame life.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Floyd’s wife, DeBorah, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Floyd’s memory.”

Joe Clark, Paterson, New Jersey’s “Principled Principal,” Has Passed Away

PATERSON, N.J., Dec. 29, 2020

The No-Nonsense Educator was a Mentor for Students to Lean On

PATERSON, N.J.Dec. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Joe Louis Clark, the baseball bat and bullhorn-wielding Principal whose unwavering commitment to his students and uncompromising disciplinary methods at Paterson, New Jersey’s Eastside High School inspired the 1989 film Lean on Me, has passed away. A longtime resident of South Orange, NJ, Clark (82) retired to Gainesville, Florida. He was at home and surrounded by his family when he succumbed to his long battle with illness on December 29, 2020.

Joe Clark, former principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, poses for a photo in the school hallways in February of 1988. (Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images) Joe Clark, former principal of Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey, poses for a photo in the school hallways in February of 1988. (Photo by Joe McNally/Getty Images)More

Born in Rochelle, Georgia, on May 8, 1938, Clark’s family moved north to Newark, New Jersey, when he was six years old. It was in the Garden State that Clark built his legacy through both his accomplished career in education and his children: Olympian and businesswoman Joetta Clark Diggs, Olympic Athlete and Director of Sports Business Development for the Bermuda Tourism Authority Hazel Clark, and accomplished athlete and Director of Track and Field and Cross Country at Stanford University Joe Clark, Jr.

A Legacy of Laying Down the Law

After graduating from Newark Central High School, Clark continued on to achieve his bachelor’s degree from William Paterson College (now William Paterson University), a master’s degree from Seton Hall University, and an honorary doctorate from the U.S. Sports Academy.

Clark’s post-collegiate career as a U.S. Army Reserve Sergeant and Drill Instructor engrained in him a respect for order and achievement, which came to define his more than three-decade career in education.

First serving as a Paterson grade school teacher and the Director of Camps and Playgrounds in Essex County, NJ, Clark soon found his calling in administration as Principal of PS 6 Grammar School. Under Clark’s command, the once failing school was transformed into the “Miracle of Carroll Street.”

Committed to the pursuit of excellence, Clark greeted the challenges presented to him following his appointment as the Principal of crime and drug-ridden Eastside High School with eager optimism. In one day, he expelled 300 students for fighting, vandalism, abusing teachers, and drug possession and lifted the expectations of those that remained, continually challenging them to perform better. Roaming the hallways with a bullhorn and a baseball bat, Clark’s unorthodox methods won him both admirers and critics nationwide. Steadfast in his approach, Clark explained that the bat was not a weapon but a symbol of choice: a student could either strike out or hit a home run.

Impressed by the expeditious changes imparted on the troubled school, President Reagan offered Clark a White House policy advisor position. Clark’s dedication to his students and community led him to decline the prestigious honor, and his larger-than-life career continued to spark conversations across the country. Clark appeared on programs including 60 Minutes and The Arsenio Hall Show and was featured on the cover of Time Magazine before the motion picture Lean on Me starring Morgan Freeman memorialized his work.

After he retired from Eastside in 1989, Clark worked for six years as the Director of Essex County Detention House, a juvenile detention center in Newark. He also wrote Laying Down the Law: Joe Clark’s Strategy for Saving Our Schools, detailing his methods for turning around Eastside High School and how they can be applied to combat crime, permissiveness, and academic decline in schools nationwide. Nearly thirty years after his retirement, Clark’s captivating career offered inspiration to executive directors John Legend and LeBron James for a television series, reflecting his philosophies’ generational transcendence.

Predeceased by his wife, Gloria, Clark’s legacy as an influential educator and father of New Jersey’s most storied track and field family lives on through his children, Joetta, Hazel, and JJ, and grandchildren, Talitha, Jorell, and Hazel.

Obituary of Darryl Love

Darryl Love was born on July 30, 1960 to the late Leroy P. Hayes, Jr. and Dolores D. Love.  He quietly slipped away to be with his Heavenly Father on December 22, 2020.

Darryl (fondly known as Zeek) was raised in Madison, NJ where he was educated in the Madison School District.

He joined the United States Army after High School finishing basic training at Fort Dix, NJ.  He completed two enlistments: one in Hawaii and one in Fayetteville, NC.

He worked at Signature Flight Support located at the Morristown Airport in Florham Park, NJ for the past 14 years as an Air Concierge.  He did his job with excellence and left a positive impression on everyone he met.

He was a member of First Baptist Church of Madison.

Darryl loved spending time with his children, grandchildren and family.  Darryl will be remembered for his humor, always fooling around and joking with people.  He always had a smile on his face!

He leaves to cherish his memory one daughter Tasha Love Davis (Marcus) and one son Darryl Love, Jr. (Verniece); two grandsons (Mekhi and Aiden Love); six sisters: Candice Love Ferguson (Gregg), Jacqueline Love, Helen Love Richardson, Lori Stokley (Fletcher), Rachelle Hayes, Dawn Hayes and one brother Leroy P. Hayes, III (Dumpy).  He also leaves his fiancé Vera White; Aunt Janet Winston; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family members and friends.

Darryl was predeceased by two brothers Ronald Preston Love and Dean Hayes.

Darryl was deeply loved and will be sorely missed by everyone.  He will always stay in our hearts.

A Memorial Service will be held at a later date. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Madison Memorial Home.

photo

George E. Kelley

Morristown – On Friday, December 18, 2020, George E. Kelley, loving husband, father, brother, and uncle, passed away at the age of 87.

George Edward Kelley was born on October 23, 1933 in Enterprise, Alabama, to Reather Kelley and Edmond Copeland. He was a devoted big brother to younger sister, Dorothy.

George spent his formative years in Canton, Ohio, where he quickly developed an interest in sports and music. He lent his beautiful tenor voice to a barbershop quartet that regularly performed in churches and other venues throughout the state. While he was loyal to the McKinley High Bulldogs football team, he preferred playing baseball. He was so sure of his talent that he convinced the coach to let him try out as a freshman, and he played on the varsity team during all four years of high school.

After graduating from McKinley High, George joined the United States Army and was honorably discharged in 1955. While working in Canton, he was invited to audition for the choir director at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He subsequently won a full vocal scholarship to UAPB and sang as a tenor for the UAPB Vesper Choir.

George developed his political chops in college while serving as President of the UAPB Student Government Association. In 1960, he led a campus-wide rally to protest the state’s attempt to take over the college administration during a time of rising racial tension. The effort landed on the front page of the New York Times and almost resulted in his expulsion. Fortunately, he was able to remain at school, and he graduated with a degree in Sociology from UAPB.

George also met fellow choir member, class Treasurer, and love of his life, Margaret Weathers, at UAPB. They graduated together in the class of 1961 and married in 1963 in McGehee, Arkansas. They settled in Morristown in 1963, quickly becoming involved in civic and community work. George earned a Master’s degree in Education from Newark State College (now Kean College).

George’s career was devoted to children. One of his first jobs in New Jersey was at the Janet Memorial Home for children in Elizabeth, NJ. The Home served children in need of extra emotional and educational support and direction to stay on track in school.

George served as the first Black teacher in the Dover public school system and later became the first Black Director of Special Services for the Mt. Olive Township School District. He was exceptionally proud of his work with the special education community. During his 33-year tenure, he built the special education department and spearheaded a number of initiatives for exceptional children that were the first of their kind not only in the district, but in the state. George founded the group Parents of Exceptional Children to give parents a voice and a means to advocate for their children during a time when special needs children were overlooked and underserved in the education system. He was also awarded a grant to start a pre-school program for handicapped children in Mt. Olive – a first for Morris County. The program incorporated occupational, physical, and speech therapy – something not typical during that time and still, sadly, uncommon today. That program, now known as the Mt. Olive Childcare and Learning Center, is now in its 46th year.

George served as President of the Morris County Urban League in 1971 and 1972. He was also involved in the Morristown chapter of the NAACP for many years. During his tenure, he served at various times as 1st Vice President, and Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Education Committee. George was also a member of the Morris School District Board of Education. At the time, the Board was charged with merging the Morristown and Morris Township school districts in order to achieve racial balance pursuant to an order from the Commissioner of Education. George worked with the Board, the Superintendent of Schools, and other district personnel to help ensure a successful merger. George also spearheaded a successful effort to establish an SAT program free of charge for Black children in the Morris School District. Under George’s leadership, all materials were donated, and teachers volunteered their time. George also served on the Education Scholarship Committee at Union Baptist Church, where he and his family have been members since 1963.

George’s love for the arts continued throughout his life. He and Margaret immersed the family in music, theatre and other creative arts. His booming tenor voice and his performances as a member of the Masterwork Chorus, with which he performed the Messiah at Carnegie Hall, will never be forgotten. Impromptu harmonizations were commonplace. It only took one person to sing a bar of a piece of music to get his attention.

George loved his family and never missed an opportunity to celebrate with and uplift them. Epic family trips he planned to the Outer Banks and Hershey Park Resort and Spa, where friends also often joined, will be fondly remembered. His leadership both in the community and in his family, his exceptionally kind and generous spirit, his lively political conversations, his famous pancake breakfasts and collard greens, and his early morning conversations with Margaret will be sorely missed.

Loved ones who predeceased George are his parents Reather Kelley and Edmond Copeland; his sister Dorothy Jones and his beloved sister-in-law Thelma Barnes. Those who will forever miss him and his loving and consistent guiding hand are Margaret, his wife of 57 years; his daughters Palisa Kelley (South Orange, NJ), Audrey Kelley (Los Angeles, CA), and Candace Kelley (Bound Brook, NJ); his grandson David Strachan III (South Orange, NJ); his uncle John Kelley (Prattsville, AL); cousins Alice Kelley (Enterprise, AL), Sonja Robinson (Atlanta, GA), Clifford Copeland (Conyers, GA), Rev. Chet Hayes (Columbus, GA), and Karen Eutsey, Joe Eutsey, and Gayle Eutsey Dean (Miami, FL); in-laws Rubye Hickerson (Edison, NJ), Charlie Mae Thompson (Southfield, MI), Verdell Hickerson (Morristown, NJ); nieces and nephews Oreon Jones (Canton, OH), Keimani Jones (Canton, OH), Celetta Jones (Canton, OH), Marcus Hickerson (Edison, NJ), Cedric Hickerson (Bethlehem, PA), Adele Hickerson (Edison, NJ), Ila and Charles Thomas (Lawrenceville, GA), Paula Barnes (Lawrenceville, GA), Courtney and Cleydy Barnes (Auburn, GA), Michael Barnes (Greenville, MS), and a host of other in-laws, extended family, friends, and sisters and brothers in music and the struggle for civil rights.

Viewing: Thursday, December 24, 9:00 am to 10:00 am. Homegoing Service: Thursday, December 24,10:00 am to 11:00 am Union Baptist Church, 89 Spring Street, Morristown, NJ 07960 Arrangements have been entrusted to Rowe Funeral Home, Morristown, NJ.

God has gained an angel

By Joseph Green-Bishop

The Rev. Mamie Althea Williams was an angelic servant of God who during nearly a half century of ministry profoundly and selflessly improved the lives of people throughout the world.

A powerful orator and effective church and civic leader, Rev. Williams, who died recently in her Baltimore County home, performed a major role in progressive social change movements in the United States, Africa, Europe and in the Caribbean.

A graduate of Claflin University in her native South Carolina, and the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., there was little Rev. Williams did not do to help others during her lifetime.

It almost seemed as if she never slept. Her energy and her compassion were boundless. At the root of her work were faith, prayer and an intense belief in the goodness of people.

Annually, she organized a reception for the widows of ministers who had pastored United Methodist churches in the Baltimore-Washington area.

While some had forgotten these women, Rev. Williams insisted on acknowledging the roles they played in ministry.

She helped raise money to build and open Africa University in Zimbabwe, recognized as one of the finest academic institutions on the African continent.

When the AIDS epidemic first arrived in this country she worked closely with health organizations, and with medical professionals such as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Levi Watkins to educate members of the public about the disease.

Among her friends and mentors were Bishop Desmond Tutu, Reverend Joseph Lowery, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Dr. Dorothy Height, the Rev. Frank L. Williams, the Rev. Alfreda Wiggins, Dr. Benjamin Hooks, Congressman Parren J. Mitchell and others too numerous to list in this writing.

She was born into a God-centered family in Sumter, South Carolina. She and her surviving sister, Mary Mayhan, spoke by phone each evening.

“Mamie was my rock,” said Mrs. Mayhan, a resident of Georgia who like others said the world will miss Rev. Williams immensely.

Nearly two hundred people viewed a memorial service in Baltimore at the Howell Funeral Home honoring the life and deeds of Rev. Williams.

Written tributes were presented to the family by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Rep. Kweisi Mfume and the city of Baltimore. Numerous faith organizations and individuals also presented tributes.

“Her life was a sermon,” said the honorable Robert M. Bell, former Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.

“Rev. Williams was a true servant of God who took her religion seriously,” said Judge Bell, whose mother and brothers had been eulogized by Rev. Williams.

“She helped those she encountered in life,” Judge Bell said. “The life and work of Rev. Mamie Williams will be forever celebrated in the hearts and minds of those she touched. She shall live on.”

Elizabeth A. Johnson

Morristown – Elizabeth Johnson passed away on Saturday, December 12th after a long illness. She was 81 years old. Elizabeth was born in Charleston, South Carolina and was the eldest of eight children to the late Janie Alston and Edward Moultrie Alston, Sr. She attended Burke High School in Charleston and moved to Morristown in the late 50’s. She was employed at Atlantic Health System for 20 years until her retirement. She is predeceased by her husband Frank Johnson, and brothers Edward Moultry Alston Jr. (Barbara, Morristown, NJ), and Arthur Alston. She is survived by her three children, Denise Elizabeth Johnson of Washington Township, NJ, Janie Delores Johnson of New Providence, NJ, Franklin Johnson of Morristown, NJ and step-daughter Louise Varner of Sicklerville, NJ; and is also survived by her siblings Kenneth Alston Sr. (Vera) of Morristown, NJ, Delores Alston-Smith (Hilton) of Morristown, NJ, Melvin Alston Sr. (Jeanne) of Morristown, NJ, Carolyn Robinson of Ledgewood, NJ , Jnorow “Raleigh” Alston of Morris Plains, NJ, “Sisters in Love” Antoinette Robinson of Ledgewood, NJ, Lorraine Veal of Montclair, NJ, 11 grandkids, 12 great-grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, friends and loved ones who affectionately called her “Aunt Liz”. A viewing will be held from 10 am – 12 pm, followed by a private ceremony at 12 pm on Friday, December 18, at Rowe Funeral Home, 71 Washington Street, Morristown, NJ. The interment will take place at Evergreen Cemetery at 1:15 pm. Please note COVID 19 event guidelines will be followed. Online condolences can be made at www.rowefuneral.com

 

   Evester Foote

1937 – 2020

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