Earleen H. Minor

June 8, 2014

Minor, Earleen Obituary

On Sunday, June 8, 2014, God called another of his servants home as she laid peacefully in her bedroom staring out the window, the angels prepared her flight home. 


On June 29, 1925, Earleen Helen Dean was born in St. Louis, Missouri  to parents Edna Lee and John Dean at City Hospital #2, which was the hospital designated for blacks.  Her mother Edna Lee, a stout woman with long thick black hair managed a local restaurant and boarding home.  It was said that “Mama” Edna loved people and she fed anyone who was hungry.  She also “unofficially adopted” a young child whose mother had abandoned him.   The seeds for caring for others was planted in Mom early.   Mom’s father, John, however, was reportedly a ladies’ man and was usually absent.  Mama Edna later remarried Caesar Gorden and that’s who Mom claimed as her father.  She cared for her mother during  illness which resulted in her Mother’s death at the age of 54.   Mom did not have any sisters or brothers.


Mom attended Vashan High School in St. Louis, Missouri.  She worked briefly at a Soda Fountain Shop and was also a local hair model Clairol in St. Louis.  During World War II, she worked for the Defense Department in a bullet making plant, as did many women of that war era.  Her first marriage to Joseph West ended in divorce in 1956 --  from that union a son, Joseph I. West was born.   Around 1958, her best friend, also named Helen, introduced her to my father, Thorney Minor and they married in November 1959.  From their union, 6 children were born, Cheryl, Tina, Keith, Norman, Pamela and Antonio.  They remained married until her husband’s death in February 1989.  


“Ma”, as we affectionately called her, moved to Washington, DC from St. Louis Missouri in 1963, just a few weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination.   She lived briefly on A Street, NE  before finally settling at 2215 Payne Terrace, SE which still remains the family home after 52 years.  My father wanted her  to stay home and take care of the children which she did with love and dedication.   She was a homemaker or to be politically correct, a “domestic  engineer”.   Occasionally, to help make ends meet, she would babysit several children in the neighborhood.   Through the years, she playfully adopted several of our friends as her own – our Mom was your Mom, if you needed one.    Our parents adored children, and they left a legacy of 7 children, 18 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.   She wanted to stay in the home where she “lived with her husband, raised her children and had memories” and that’s where she transitioned.


She was a well-loved neighbor and friend.   Mom had outlived many of her relatives and longtime friends in St. Louis, as well as in the neighborhood (Mrs. James, Mrs. Elizabeth Morgan, Mrs. Pearl Bost, Mrs. Gloria Strange).  The remaining few including, Ma, Chick and Mrs. Tyree were affectionately known as the “Golden Girls” ,  and would sit outdoors having their daily chats. 


Although, Ma was not a regular churchgoer, she remained close to the Lord all of her life.  She visited various churches and later especially enjoyed the services at Matthew Memorial of which her granddaughter, Nicole Minor is a member.  She attended many services there seeing her great-grandchildren get baptized and hoped one day to join, but sickness set in quicker than expected.   Ma kept the Lord in her heart and lived by his teachings daily.  She still blessed her food before she ate.   Months before she passed, she began intensifying her relationship with Jesus, because even in her sickness, she Thanked him with literally every breath she took.  


Ma gave a listening ear and embraced everyone she came across.   You felt at ease talking to her without feeling judged and she’d give you her honest opinion with common sense advice.   On the other hand, she didn’t take any nonsense either and she would easily put you in your place, if it was necessary to do so, but she would never turn her back on you.   She accepted you unconditionally and that’s why she was so loved by everyone.  She had a genuine, down-to-earth nature sprinkled with a lot of sass and a sense of humor.  As she liked to remind us, she came from St. Louis, the “Show Me State”.   She believed in the philosophy of “Live and Let Live.”   Some of her favorite sayings were, “I ain’t seen an angel walking on earth yet, ” or “there’s nothing new up under the sun” and “you might be in the right church, but in the wrong pew”.      

 

Like her husband, she loved music and listened to a variety of artists from Count Basie, to Nancy Wilson, to Mahalia Jackson, to Boney James, to Chuck Brown.   She was proud to be from St. Louis, but she became a die-hard Washington Redskins fan and has the hats, sweaters and blankets to prove it.  She also loved basketball and could quote facts with the best of them.  She loved working crossword puzzles until her hands began to shake.   Ma easily identified with any age group and at one point used to greet everyone by saying  “WASSUP”?    She was funny and enjoyed being silly.  And if you were ever around to see her and Joe tease each other back and forth, it was like watching a comedy show.  Later during doctor visits, they would ask, “Ms. Minor, how do you feel today”, and she would say, “I feel with my hands, how do you feel?”  

 

Ma was also content with what she had, and wasn’t impressed by material things.  She enjoyed the small things in life, especially those that focused on family.  Over her 88 years, she had attended many birthday parties, graduations, births, and weddings.   Even when her health was starting to decline and she needed the use of a wheelchair, she participated in the 2013 Anniversary of the March on Washington and was even interviewed.  I remember her desperately wanting to attend her granddaughter’s Tia’s graduation from high school.  Even though she wasn’t walking as well, she refused the wheelchair, so we took each step gingerly and slowly.   She was no slouch.


My mother, was a woman of great strength and spirit coming from a generation where times were much harder, economically and socially, but they maintained a strong work ethic and didn’t complain.   They were grateful and appreciative of everything and anything they were given and took nothing for granted, because as she’d say, “tomorrow is not promised.”   That’s the legacy she passed on to her family and everyone who came into contact with her. 


I thank God for each and every minute that she blessed our family on this earth with her loving spirit, her style, her humor, and her grace.  Ma touched a lot of people along the way, especially with friends and acquaintances as we grew into adulthood.  I don’t have to tell you that each one of you had your own special relationship with her and held a special place in her heart.  

 

Mommy….Until we meet again,

On Sunday, June 8, 2014, God called another of his servants home as she laid peacefully in her bedroom staring out the window, the angels prepared her flight home. 
On June 29, 1925, Earleen Helen Dean was born in St. Louis, Missouri  to parents Edna Lee and John Dean at City Hospital #2, which was the hospital designated for blacks.  Her mother Edna Lee, a stout woman with long thick black hair managed a local restaurant and boarding home.  It was said that “Mama” Edna loved people and she fed anyone who was hungry.  She also “unofficially adopted” a young child whose mother had abandoned him.   The seeds for caring for others was planted in Mom early.   Mom’s father, John, however, was reportedly a ladies’ man and was usually absent.  Mama Edna later remarried Caesar Gorden and that’s who Mom claimed as her father.  She cared for her mother during  illness which resulted in her Mother’s death at the age of 54.   Mom did not have any sisters or brothers.
Mom attended Vashan High School in St. Louis, Missouri.  She worked briefly at a Soda Fountain Shop and was also a local hair model Clairol in St. Louis.  During World War II, she worked for the Defense Department in a bullet making plant, as did many women of that war era.  Her first marriage to Joseph West ended in divorce in 1956 --  from that union a son, Joseph I. West was born.   Around 1958, her best friend, also named Helen, introduced her to my father, Thorney Minor and they married in November 1959.  From their union, 6 children were born, Cheryl, Tina, Keith, Norman, Pamela and Antonio.  They remained married until her husband’s death in February 1989.  
“Ma”, as we affectionately called her, moved to Washington, DC from St. Louis Missouri in 1963, just a few weeks before President Kennedy’s assassination.   She lived briefly on A Street, NE  before finally settling at 2215 Payne Terrace, SE which still remains the family home after 52 years.  My father wanted her  to stay home and take care of the children which she did with love and dedication.   She was a homemaker or to be politically correct, a “domestic  engineer”.   Occasionally, to help make ends meet, she would babysit several children in the neighborhood.   Through the years, she playfully adopted several of our friends as her own – our Mom was your Mom, if you needed one.    Our parents adored children, and they left a legacy of 7 children, 18 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great-grandchildren.   She wanted to stay in the home where she “lived with her husband, raised her children and had memories” and that’s where she transitioned.
She was a well-loved neighbor and friend.   Mom had outlived many of her relatives and longtime friends in St. Louis, as well as in the neighborhood (Mrs. James, Mrs. Elizabeth Morgan, Mrs. Pearl Bost, Mrs. Gloria Strange).  The remaining few including, Ma, Chick and Mrs. Tyree were affectionately known as the “Golden Girls” ,  and would sit outdoors having their daily chats. 
Although, Ma was not a regular churchgoer, she remained close to the Lord all of her life.  She visited various churches and later especially enjoyed the services at Matthew Memorial of which her granddaughter, Nicole Minor is a member.  She attended many services there seeing her great-grandchildren get baptized and hoped one day to join, but sickness set in quicker than expected.   Ma kept the Lord in her heart and lived by his teachings daily.  She still blessed her food before she ate.   Months before she passed, she began intensifying her relationship with Jesus, because even in her sickness, she Thanked him with literally every breath she took.  
Ma gave a listening ear and embraced everyone she came across.   You felt at ease talking to her without feeling judged and she’d give you her honest opinion with common sense advice.   On the other hand, she didn’t take any nonsense either and she would easily put you in your place, if it was necessary to do so, but she would never turn her back on you.   She accepted you unconditionally and that’s why she was so loved by everyone.  She had a genuine, down-to-earth nature sprinkled with a lot of sass and a sense of humor.  As she liked to remind us, she came from St. Louis, the “Show Me State”.   She believed in the philosophy of “Live and Let Live.”   Some of her favorite sayings were, “I ain’t seen an angel walking on earth yet, ” or “there’s nothing new up under the sun” and “you might be in the right church, but in the wrong pew”.  
    
Like her husband, she loved music and listened to a variety of artists from Count Basie, to Nancy Wilson, to Mahalia Jackson, to Boney James, to Chuck Brown.   She was proud to be from St. Louis, but she became a die-hard Washington Redskins fan and has the hats, sweaters and blankets to prove it.  She also loved basketball and could quote facts with the best of them.  She loved working crossword puzzles until her hands began to shake.   Ma easily identified with any age group and at one point used to greet everyone by saying  “WASSUP”?    She was funny and enjoyed being silly.  And if you were ever around to see her and Joe tease each other back and forth, it was like watching a comedy show.  Later during doctor visits, they would ask, “Ms. Minor, how do you feel today”, and she would say, “I feel with my hands, how do you feel?” 
   
Ma was also content with what she had, and wasn’t impressed by material things.  She enjoyed the small things in life, especially those that focused on family.  Over her 88 years, she had attended many birthday parties, graduations, births, and weddings.   Even when her health was starting to decline and she needed the use of a wheelchair, she participated in the 2013 Anniversary of the March on Washington and was even interviewed.  I remember her desperately wanting to attend her granddaughter’s Tia’s graduation from high school.  Even though she wasn’t walking as well, she refused the wheelchair, so we took each step gingerly and slowly.   She was no slouch.
My mother, was a woman of great strength and spirit coming from a generation where times were much harder, economically and socially, but they maintained a strong work ethic and didn’t complain.   They were grateful and appreciative of everything and anything they were given and took nothing for granted, because as she’d say, “tomorrow is not promised.”   That’s the legacy she passed on to her family and everyone who came into contact with her. 
I thank God for each and every minute that she blessed our family on this earth with her loving spirit, her style, her humor, and her grace. 
 
Ma touched a lot of people along the way, especially with friends and acquaintances as we grew into adulthood.  I don’t have to tell you that each one of you had your own special relationship with her and held a special place in her heart.     
Mommy….Until we meet again,

 




Day:
Time:

What:
Venue:

Where:
June 16, 2014
9 a.m.

Visiting
Matthew Memorial Baptist Church

2616 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Get Driving Directions

Day:
Time:

What:
Venue:

Where:
June 16, 2014
11 a.m.

Funeral Service
Matthew Memorial Baptist Church

2616 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Get Driving Directions


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