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Fred Bennett

1915 - 2013

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Travis Fredrick Douglas Horton Bennett, (Fred Bennett) passed away in his sleep Sunday, February 17, 2013 at his home in Greenville (Butler County), AL. He was 97 years old. Fred was the 7th of 14 children born in Greenville, Alabama December 30, 1915 to Sammie (Williams) and William Madison Bennett. Sammie was the sister of "Sing" Mary Caroline (Hezzie) Willis. Fred was Sing's nephew.
 
A prominent Alabama farmer. He was a very influential community and civic leader and businessman. He was featured on the May, 1978 cover of Black Enterprise Magazine for his endeavors to stem the tide of land loss. He was also featured in an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL (1990) as one of the most successful small farmers in the Southeastern United States. He was the recipient of the Silver Beaver Award for his voluminous work with Boy Scouts and has received numerous awards for being a visionary and powerful community leader.
 
His family was chosen by Tuskegee University as Merit Farm Family, 1959. Through the years, he was a much sought-after advisor in the area of land acquisition and management, farming and civic affairs. He taught the Adult Bible Class at his church, served as a trustee, choir member and a Mason.
He was proceeded in death by his wife of almost 60 years, Lena Y. Hosea Bennett. His legacy will be cherished by their daughter, Cherrye L. Bennett Todd (Anderson, III) of Birmingham, AL; three grandchildren: Elena Todd White (Kori) of Hoover, AL; Anderson Todd, IV (Stephanie) of Charlotte, NC and Angela Todd of Vestavia Hills, AL, eight great-grandchildren: Greyson B. Todd, Sage A. Williams, Zion E. Williams, Josiah E, Williams, Salah A. Williams, Olivia G. White, Noah K. White and Jonah D. White, all of the Birmingham, AL area; as well as two sisters, Doris Harris, Chicago, IL; Mattie Pearl Frost, brother, Robert S. (Ceola) Bennett, both of Greenville, AL.
 
His homegoing celebration was held Saturday, February 23, 2013 at the Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Greenville, AL and he was interned in the church cemetery. Rev. C.A. Bennett officiated; Rev. Dr. James Hall, Pastor and the services were conducted by Hudson Funeral Home.
 
More information can be obtained at www.al.com; www.montgomeryadvertiser.com; www.greenvilleadvocate.com; and the Greenville Standard.
 
Condolences may be sent to Cherrye Bennett Todd at 768 South 71st Street, Birmingham, AL 35206-5407.

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From Stephanie Samuels (Woods) on April 3rd, 2013
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I met cousin Fred and his family for the 1st time in Greenville as a teenager visiting with my Dad James Woods and Grandmother Donnie Willis Woods. I found him again decades later in 2010 and again in 2011 during my flourishing interest in family history research. Even in his mid-90s, Fred and his memory were astute and clarity sharp.
Fred was a purist. On my 2010 visit, at 94 yrs old, he invited me to eat and then ... cooked for me. But more than that, the entire experience was a fascinating 1st. It fully engaged my imagination in what it must be like to literally, live off the land. I'm of the city, grocery store generation, so I didn't know what to expect when, after the dinner invitation, he invited me into his backyard ... to shop!! I watched as he meticulously touched and examined each separate vegetable on the vine, silently deciding and gently, thoughtfully plucking the chosen ones. "Fresh off the vine" had new meaning. No microwave, canned or processed food in sight, the multi-bean and vegetable stew slowly cooked on a nearby stove, as I recorded our chat about his life, our families and history. Seasoned just right, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal of stew, homemade biscuits and literally, Bennett garden salad. Thinking back, I suppose the Greenville country slower pace of life and the fellowship heightened the meal's flavor and added "amazing," to the experience. I will NEVER forget it, nor him. I continue to enjoy getting to know his daughter Cousin Cherrye and the rest of the family and look forward to future family visits and reunions.
 

Phyllis Bracey (Woods)

1934 - 2012

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Phyllis Woods Bracey passed away Saturday Feb. 11, 2012 in Wadesboro, N.C.
 
Her funeral was held Wednesday, Feb 15 at 3:00 pm at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 612 Salisbury Street, Wadesboro, NC, 28170 - 2027, 704-694-4720. Pastor Tony Barr, officiating.
 
She was buried at Anson Memorial Cemetery about one mile south of Wadesboroby Smith's Funeral Home, 604 Salisbury Street, Wadesboro, N.C. 28170, 704-694-4121.
 
Condolences can be sent to the family at 17 Horton Road, Wadesboro, N.C. 28170.
 
Phyllis was the daughter of the late Donnie Willis and James A. Woods of Lorain, OH. Donnie was the daughter of John Solomon Willis and Ardelia McTyeire (2nd wife) of Greenville, AL.
 
Phyllis leaves her daughter, Dr. Lisa Bracey Cash (Sherman) of Wadesboro, N.C.; son, Michael Bracey of Columbus, OH; sister, Joyce Woods Sansbury of Toledo, OH; and, a host of loving nieces, nephews and other family and many, many friends and associates.
 
 

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From Bernadine Robinson on February 16th, 2012

Bernadine Robinson, Isaac McTyeire, Renee Cooks, Gregory Cooks
Send their condolences and our prayers to the family.  We will miss her laughter, her smile and caring about others. 

 
From Jean Tucker Mann on February 15th, 2012
I am a member of the Baltimore Bon Bons as was Phyllis before she moved to NC. I will remember my friend and club member as an intelligent, insightful woman with a contagious sense of humor.  She was a caring, loving mother and I know Lisa and Michael will miss her.

I am sorry to hear of her death.

Jean Tucker Mann
 

Carlene Brown (Cook)

1912 - 2012


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Carlene Cook Brown passed away Sept 17, 2012 in Ypsilanti, MI.

She was cremated as per her wish.

A memorial service will be held 2:00 pm  Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 (which would have been her 100th birthday) at:
 
James H. Cole Home for Funerals, Inc.
2624 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48235
313-835-3997.

You may send condolences to the family at:

700 Ferris Street
Ypsilanti, MI
48197-5305

Carlene was one of three children born to the late Robert and Jimmy (McTyeire) Cook. She was the granddaughter of Millie Smith McTyeire and Isaac McTyeire Sr.

 She leaves a son, Clarence Brown (Arbedella) of Ypsilanti, MI, a daughte-in-law, Joyce Brown (Kenneth) of Detroit, MI, 8 grandchildren, 19 great-grand children and one great, great grandchild,  and other family members and friends.

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From Bernadine Robinson on September 30th, 2012
Carlene will be missed.  She was kind and  a very sweet person Everytime I went to Detroit she would have me over for dinner.

I remember talking with her over the phone in her earlier days. She would tell me many stories about the McTyeires and we would have a GOOD LAUGH.

The last  time I saw her, she came to visit us in California.  Saundra, Carlene and I went to visit Cousin D and we went to lunch.  It was so wonderful.

I loved her dearly and will miss her.  She will remain in our hearts forever.
 
From Roderick Brown on September 30th, 2012
 My Grandmother Brown will be missed but not forgotten. She was so close to the 100 year old mark, but I like my Uncle Clarence remarks to me stating: I'm going to give her that 100 mark anyway... The lasting memories that span from my early childhood when Grandmother Brown use to take me to plays around the city of Detroit to her last travel in 2003 to visit her (4) grandsons Jon (Las Vegas), Rodney (San Diego), Terry (Sacramento) and me (San Jose) will live on in my heart. I still have the letter she wrote me when she returned to Detroit. RIP G.Brown, I know you are in a better place...I Love You, your grandson Roderick.
 

Charles and Beverly Cook

We love and miss you

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Steven Charles Cook

1966 - 1988

We love and miss you

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James B. Franklin, Jr.

1923 - 2013

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James B. Franklin, Jr. was born June 27, 1923 in Port Huron, MI to the late James B. and Nellie (Willis) Franklin, Sr. He passed away February 13, 2013 and was 89 years old. His mother, Nellie (Willis) Franklin was the daughter of John Solomon Willis and Nancy Harrell Willis (1st wife) of Greenville, AL. Nellie was the sister of Green and Hezzie Willis. Nellie died when James was a very young boy. His father, James B. Franklin, Sr. remarried and raised James and his older sisters, as well as other siblings from his 2nd marriage.
 
The family moved to Flint, Michigan when has very young. He attended Flint Community Schools, graduating from Flint Northern High School in 1941. He was a U.S. Army Veteran where he served in WWII and was honorably discharged. He worked for and retired from Buick Motors, a division of General Motors with 30 years of service, and was a member of UAW Local #599.
James was a faithful and long-time member of Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle faithfully attending Sunday School, weekly. He was a member of the John W. Stevenson Lodge #56, P.H.A. Saginaw Valley Consistory #71 and Oman Temple #72 A.E.O.N.M.S.
 
Affectionately known as "Brother," James enjoyed fishing, bowling and was a voracious reader who relished the chance to discuss history, politics and the Bible. He was also quite the dancer in his day, recounting in a recent family history interview on how he enjoyed taking the ladies for a spin on many a dance floor and even winning dance competitions.
 
In the last few years before his death, he attended two Willis family reunions reuniting with old and new family members from Pittsburg, Pa and Los Angeles, CA. He was one of the featured family elders at the 2011 Willis-McTyeire Family Reunion in Los Angeles where he answered family questions about his life and times in the family history learning session "At The Feet Of Our Elders."
 
James was preceded in death by his wife Esther; five sisters and three brothers.
He leaves to cherish his memories: daughter, Mary Coleman of Flushing, MI; nephew, Dr. J.B (Janet) Elzy, Jr. of Beloit, WI; niece, Francine Houston of Flint; Grandchildren, Angela (Marvin) Hughes of Starkville, MS, James B. (Jeanine) Franklin III of Flint; sister-in-law, Selidos Franklin; three great-grand children, many great nieces and nephews; other relatives and friends.
 
The family gave special thanks to the Avalon Hospice staff, Pastor Carlos D. Williams and the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle Church family, and good friend Jessie McKelry for the many acts of kindness, care and support of James.
A special thanks was also extended to Mary for her loving service to their Uncle James from Jay, Francine and Stuart.
 
Condolences can be sent to the Family of James B. Franklin, Jr.,  2022 Oxford Lane, Flint, MI 48503.

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From Stephanie Samuels (Woods) on April 3rd, 2013
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I  so enjoyed meeting, interviewing and getting to know Uncle James. He had such an engaging personality and his stories were enthralling. He was funny too. I enjoyed laughing with him. Uncle James will be missed, but I am so glad the Willis-McTyeire Family got to connect, meet, know and enjoy him.
 

Carolyn Gibbs (Hinson)

1958 - 2012


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Carolyn "Jo Jo" Gibbs, eldest daughter of Bernard Hinson Sr. of Santa Ana, CA, passed away Sunday, April 29, 2012.

A truly standing-room-only memorial service was held Saturday May 5 at Rock of Faith Church in Los Angeles. Loved ones, family, friends, associates and admirers were standing in lines outside the church, sitting and standing in the church isles and in corridors. They filled the choir loft and even the pulpit. One visitor sat in the pulpit minister's chair. There was not one empty seat, as the packed house listened to  tribute after tribute of how Jo Jo touched their lives and the lives of their family and friends.  One speaker described the gathering as like the United Nations, as all races, colors and creeds gathered together to honor, pay tribute and remember Jo Jo. It was an AMAZING gathering.

Please leave your tribute here for the family and send condolences to:

Bernard Hinson, Sr.
1421 W Carriage Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Saundra Willis adds "For those of you who don't really know Bernard, Sr., he has always been our local photographer at our family gatherings.

Bernard wants to thank everyone "so very much for your support and your prayers". He adds "I can feel your LOVE in my heart and throughout my entire being. The Family thanks you  also."

Carolyn Hinson Gibbs was the oldest daughter of Bernard Hinson Sr., son of Nellie Mae Willis, daughter of Green (Chrissie Simpson) Willis, son of John Solomon (Nancy Harrell) Willis (Greenville, AL), son of Isaac (Kissiah) Willis.
           
Website password is: wmct2011

 

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Graham "Eddie" Hayes II

1965 - 2011


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Affectionately known as “Eddie”, Graham Edmondson Hayes II, 45 of Upper Marlboro, MD., passed away Friday, September 16, 2011. A native of Wichita, Kansas, Eddie was the husband of Jennifer Umbles Hayes and father of Graham III, Jasmine and Zoe Hayes. 

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From Theresa Drew on September 24th, 2011
Dear Jennifer and Family,

Our condolences, prayers and love to you.  
May God bring you comfort during this
difficult time.

Love,

Theresa Drew & Family


 
 
From Stephanie and Jack Samuels on September 23rd, 2011
We will miss you and your big, broad, warm smile.
 
From Chloe Brooks Velasquez on September 23rd, 2011
My condolences to Jennifer and her family.  Tragedy should not strike us, ever.
 

Slade Kevin Morrison

1965 - 2010


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Slade Kevin Morrison was the youngest of Chloe Morrision's two sons. He was an accomplished artist and musican as well as a published author.  He co-author a series of children's books with his mother.

A memorial service  reception was held for Slade in the  Carnegie Room of the Nyack Library  where his art, music  and books were on on display. Many, many  family members and friends attended the reception Monday, March 14 which was also Slade's birthday, to remember him and enjoy his work.

Slade's art will be on public display at the library March 14-18, 2011.

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Carlene Polite (Hatcher)

1932 - 2009


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Carlene Hatcher Polite, Novelist, Dies at 77

(Daughter of John & Lillian Cook Hatcher, grand daughter of Jimmie McTyeire & John Cook, great granddaughter of Millie Smith & Isaac McTyeire, Sr.)
Published: December 31, 2009
 
Carlene Hatcher Polite, an experimental novelist of the 1960s and ’70s whose work focused on the uneasy confluence of racism and sexism in the lives of black people, died on Dec. 7 in Cheektowaga, N.Y. She was 77 and lived in Amherst, N.Y.
The cause was cancer, her husband, James Patrick, said. From 1971 until her retirement in 2000, Ms. Polite taught creative writing at the University at Buffalo.
Originally trained as a modern dancer, Ms. Polite wrote just two novels. They were known for their lush, poetic language and extensive use of monologues. Thematically, they anticipated the novels of Toni Morrison and Alice Walker in their unflinching examination of violence in the relationships of black men and women.
Ms. Polite’s first novel, “The Flagellants,” appeared in France in 1966 and in the United States the next year, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. It centers on the turbulent affair between a couple, Ideal and Jimson. Over the course of the book, the two deal each other repeated physical and verbal violence. As the novel makes clear, it is a reflection of the violence that the larger culture does to black people.
In an essay in The New York Times Book Review in 1986, Mel Watkins called “The Flagellants” “a complex, scathing and often brilliant depiction of the disintegration of a black couple’s relationship,” adding that it “was among the first fictional works by a black woman to focus directly on the theme of the sometimes bitter antagonism between black men and women.”
Ms. Polite’s second novel, “Sister X and the Victims of Foul Play” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1975), concerns the investigation into the death of a black nightclub dancer in Paris.
Carlene Hatcher was born in Detroit on Aug. 28, 1932. Her parents, John and Lillian Cook Hatcher, were officials of the United Auto Workers. As a young woman, Carlene Hatcher studied in New York at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance; she later danced professionally in New York and Detroit.
After doing civil rights work with the Detroit Council for Human Rights, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other organizations in the early 1960s, Ms. Polite spent much of the decade living in Paris.
Her first marriage ended in divorce; she adopted the surname Polite from a later relationship. Besides her husband, Mr. Patrick, whom she married in 2003, she is survived by two daughters, Glynda Morton-Bennett and Lila Polite, and a grandchild. Another grandchild died before her.
Though Ms. Polite’s novels were often called works of social protest, she resisted such handy pigeonholing.
“I’m of that generation which thought that because we were Negroes we had to write or paint or dance as Negroes,” she said in an interview quoted in The Times Book Review in 1968. “To be accepted by white publishers or producers we had to be ‘Negroes’ in quotation marks. But I’d rather divide up my writing to do creative literature and editorial protests at separate times.”
A version of this article appeared in print on December 31, 2009, on page A24 of the New York edition.

From the Internet - New York Times

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Cazzie Pryor, Jr.

- - May 9th, 2010


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Cazzie Jr. was the son of Cazzie Sr. and Violet McTyeire.

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Edward and Audrey Willis

We love and miss you both!

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From Jennifer Hayes on November 11th, 2010
Two of the best and most beautiful people and one of the most loving couples I've ever known.  Miss you both Uncle Dee and Aunt Audrey !!!
 

Donnie Woods (WILLIS)

December 25th, 1908 - September 9th, 1999

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From Terri Dandridge on August 27th, 2011
 Grandma, even though so many years have passed since you passed away, I still feel your love and remember so much of what you taught me. I remember the fun times we shared with you and Granpa in Lorain...climbing the cherry tree, baking pies and cakes, learning to do yard work, and playing games of scrabble, bid whist and pinochle. I love you so much and I can still feel your loving influence in my life. Oh, how can i forget singing around the piano and the laughter. I miss you so much and I thank you for always loving me.
 
From Jennifer Hayes on November 11th, 2010
This is my grandmother.  The best grandmother in the whole wide world.  I will never forget the time I spent with my grandmother, from playing Scrabble, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit (and she knew all of the answers) watching TV shows with her like, Carol Burnett, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, the News and Johnnie Carson, singing in her piano room and her playing at home and at church, sitting on the front porch with her, baking and cooking with her to her holding my children and playing the piano with Graham, and the many, many family gatherings that we had.  And, of course, there are the stories that she had to tell.  So many memories of a loving, caring, laughing and fun grandmother. I miss her very much, but I know that she is with me and will be forever because I see so much of her in the things and around me in my house, my family my friends and my children.  She will always be a part of me.  Love you Grandma  !!
 

James "Ronnie" Woods

1933 - 1993

We miss you Dad!

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From Jennifer Hayes on November 11th, 2010
One of the BEST uncles in the whole wide world !!! I remember the fun, the road trips, the  music and most of all the laughter !!  Miss you Uncle Ronnie !!!
 
From Terri Dandridge on July 17th, 2010
You were the greatest Uncle and a wonderful friend. I love and miss you!