Mrs. Essie Mae Whitaker, 104, of Raleigh, NC departed this earthly life on Wednesday, October 1, 2020.
Essie Mae Whitaker was born in Tipton, Georgia on October 15, 1915 to the late Mitch and Cora Donaldson. She married Leonard Lynwood Whitaker, Senior on August 10, 1941 in Dillon, South Carolina and they were blessed with two children. Always having a compassionate spirit, Essie’s priority and passion was caring for others. After the death of her husband, she helped raised her grandsons and provided a loving and warm home for them. She balanced hard work and family time with love and dedication. She was a faithful and long-time member of Poplar Springs Christian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Essie worked for the State of North Carolina in environmental services for 31 years before retiring in 1976.
Essie loved cooking, gardening and indulging in all kinds of desserts. Some of her favorite foods were fish, fried chicken, chitterlings, fried pork chops, fried oysters, collard greens and homemade corn bread. Her favorite past times were watching Sanford & Son, The Jefferson’s, In the Heat of the Night, Walker Texas Ranger and Perry Mason. She also enjoyed western movies. In her later years, she enjoyed visits from and spending time with her great-grandchildren. She was well-loved at Hillcrest Raleigh at Crabtree Valley nursing home and known to all simply as, “Grandma.”
During her lifetime, Essie was amazed to see significant advancements; to have electricity, to vote for and witness the inauguration of the first African American President, to see the progression of women, and lastly, the evolution of technology with cell phones.
Essie was preceded in death by her husband, Leonard Whitaker, Sr., both sons, Leonard Whitaker, Jr. and Joseph Whitaker, her parents, five brothers and a sister.
Essie leaves to cherish her memories, her grandsons, Chris Whitaker (Julie) of Raleigh, NC; Roderick Whitaker (Lynetta) of Grovetown, GA; Corey Jeffries (Courtney) of Raleigh, NC; Chad Jeffreys (Lexi) of Cary, NC; niece, Margaret Evans of Raleigh, NC; nephew, Otis Ingram of Raleigh, NC; cousin, Charles Whitaker (Shirley) of Raleigh, NC; nine great-grandchildren (Britney, Alexus, Jermaine, Juliane, Faith, Elijah, Christian, Aubrey & Skylar); great-nieces, Barbara Robinson, Johnnie Sue Evans, Mary Evans, Linda Baker, Shirley Evans Hickman and Laquasha Ingram; great-nephew, Otero Ingram, and a host of loving family and friends.
Essie Mae was a loving, feisty and independent spirit, who leaves many rich and cherished memories for those of us who loved her. Through her, we know what resilience and perseverance truly looks like. We honor her today as a woman of faith, wisdom, compassion, humor, integrity and commitment, who treasured her family and friends. It was our privilege and blessing to have her as our Grandma. We praise and thank God for her life and the time we had to spend with her.
Funeral service at 12:00 noon Thursday October 8, 2020 at the C.A. Haywood, Sr. Memorial Chapel preceded by an 11:30 AM visitation. Interment will follow at Poplar Springs Christian Church Cemetery. Viewing from 2:00 - 8:00 PM Wednesday October 7, 2020 at Haywood Funeral Home.
***Please Note: We are requesting that all in attendance wear a face covering or mask for the viewing and service. Please understand that we are limited to accept a total of 50 individuals per the State guidelines for any indoor services due to the COVID-19 Pandemic! .... Thank you for understanding.
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