Hearts Love 23

Otha Lee Jennings

August 23, 1934 ~ July 2, 2021 (age 86)

Obituary

Mrs. Otha Lee Jennings, 86, of Youngstown, transitioned to eternal rest on Friday, July 2, 2021 at Mercy Health St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Otha Lee Jennings was born to the late Thomas and Florine Watkins on August 23rd, 1934, in Indianola, Mississippi. She was the eldest of four children which is where she began her love for caretaking and cooking.

Otha graduated in 1952 from North High School and went on to attend Youngstown State University. She graduated in 1954 from Beatrice School of Cosmetology and attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio with a degree in accounting. She began her professional career as a teenager working for Watkins Construction Company which was owned by her father. Otha worked for the Youngstown Board of Education, Ohio Department of Taxation in Columbus, and was the first black woman to hold a position in the accounting department at Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company and worked there for many years. In 1974, she developed the Kiddie Haven Early Childhood Preschool Center that expanded in 1981, to become Watkins Christian Academy a K-12 private school on the east side of Youngstown. In 1988, she engaged in a joint venture with her daughter Crystal and opened Little Lambs Christian Preschool in her home. In 1992, she decided to become a foster parent, and in the same year she opened a home for at risk teenage girls and infants. Otha retired from her administrative duties after a long career serving children and families in August of 2012.

In May of 1969 she married the love of her life William Jennings. Both Otha and her husband were faithful members of Temple Emmanuel Seventh-day Adventist Church and were married for 32 years until his passing in 2001. She enjoyed traveling, camping, and feeding those in need.

She leaves to cherish her memory two loving daughters, Lesa Jennings and Crystal (Derrick) Moffett; two beautiful sisters, May Stewart and Ethel Searles both of Youngstown; and five stepchildren, Jim (Gloria) Gilmer, Russell Jennings, Sandra Jennings, Rosalyn Jennings, William (Terri) Jennings Jr. She also leaves six adoring grandchildren, Sommer Womack, Catrice Moffett, Courtney Moffett, and Sharlene Thomas all of Youngstown, Cynthia (George) Wilson of Cleveland, and Derrick Moffett II of Cincinnati; eighteen wonderful great-grandchildren whom she loved dearly; four great-great grandchildren who kept her on her toes; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents Thomas and Florine Watkins; her husband, William Jennings; her son, Robert Jennings; her brother Thomas Watkins Jr.; and her grandson Sterling Floyd.

Visitation will be 11:00 a.m. - 12 noon on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at the Temple Emmanuel SDA Church, 108 W. Indianola Ave., Youngstown. Funeral Services will follow at 12 noon. Due to the pandemic, guests are asked to wear masks and observe social distancing. A service of Love and Dignity entrusted to the L. E. Black, Phillips & Holden Funeral Home.

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Services

Visitation
Tuesday
July 13, 2021

11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Temple Emmanuel SDA Church
108 W. Indianola Avenue
Youngstown, Ohio 44507

Funeral Service
Tuesday
July 13, 2021

12:00 PM
Temple Emmanuel SDA Church
108 W. Indianola Avenue
Youngstown, Ohio 44507

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