Mary Elizabeth Jennings

February 13, 1920 ~ November 16, 2018 (age 98)

Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Whitman Jennings was born February 13, 1920 in Sylacauga, Talladega County, Alabama, the eldest daughter of John and Rosa Murray Whitman.  Mary departed this life on Friday, November 16, 2018.

            She attended Mignon and Interurban Heights High School in Fairfield, Alabama, where she was raised by her maternal aunts and uncles, John and Phyllis Murray Wallace and Fannie and Clifford Elder.  She married William Wheeler Jennings on February 11, 1940, and raised seven children and a special nephew, John Whitman.

            Mary obtained her GED through a joint program with the Youngstown City School System and Youngstown College in 1967.  She was employed as a teacher’s aide. 

            Mary began playing the piano at the age of 8 and dedicated her talent to God’s service in Alabama and Youngstown.  She served at St. John’s Community Church in Alabama; St. Andrews A.M.E., World Fellowship Interdenominational  and New Hope Baptist Churches in Youngstown, where she organized the Rosebud Choir and the Gospel Chorus, retiring in 1990.  She loved sewing, art, writing poetry, cooking, working crossword puzzles, playing Scrabble, the Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers, watching Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, CNN and MSNBC, but most of all she loved her church, family and people.

            Mary lived a full life of 98 years and touched the lives of so many.  She leaves to celebrate her legacy, three daughters, Rosa Jennings of Maple Heights, Delores “Dee” Crawford of Youngstown, and Mary Cornwell of Columbus; two stepdaughters, Rev. Sylvia Jennings of Youngstown and Everleana (Mike) Davis of Cleveland; two daughters-in-law, Elaine Jennings and Janet Combs of Youngstown; two nephews, John Whitman of Youngstown and Charles (Dyann) Byrd of Columbus; three special nieces, Louise Springer and Jackie McKenzie both of Pittsburgh, PA, and Altheria (Edward) Freeman of Chattanooga, TN; a “special son”, Jerry Tatum of Columbus; 60 grandchildren; 43 great grandchildren; 7 great great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, other family and friends.

            She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Helen (Charles) Byrd; four sons, William Clark, Edward Arnold, Clifford Lawrence and Fred Wayne; sons –in-law, Boyd Crawford and Edward Cornwell; a granddaughter, Stephanie Denea Bryant; her niece and Scrabble partner, Sylvia Pasley Whitman; grandmother, Mary Murray Wallace; and great grandfather, Anthony Wilson.

            Visitation will be Saturday, November 24, 2018 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. at the New Hope Baptist Church.  Funeral services will follow immediately at 10:00 a.m.  Arrangements entrusted to the L. E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.

            Mary loved the words of her favorite song…..”I may not have reached perfection, but I tried”.

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