Jessie Mae White, 93, of Tottenville, a beloved sister and aunt who loved the Lord, was known for her kindness, hearty laughter, and her devotion to family, died Sunday in her home. Born in Halifax, N.C., her parents were Garfield Williams and the former Maggie Pierce. Jessie was born into a large family of twelve children, which included eight brothers and three sisters.
She later moved to Harrellsville, N.C., but then followed in the footsteps of several of her brothers and sisters relocating to Staten Island in 1952. While here, she lived in Port Richmond, Silver Lake, and New Brighton before settling in Tottenville, living in the same home she bought when she first came to the area and becoming one of the few black families living in Tottenville at the time.
Jessie's life changed forever when she met William E. White. The two married on June 18, 1949; they remained inseparable for the next 62 years. Together, Jessie and William took in Jessie's niece, Peggy Harris, whom they raised as their daughter.
Jessie worked for 34 years as a food service supervisor at the former U.S. Public Health Services Hospital, later renamed Bayley Seton Hospital in Clifton. She worked there alongside her husband and her brother, Louis, before retiring in 1991.
A long-time member of St. Philip's Baptist Church in Port Richmond, Jessie was actively involved in the church and was always known for lending a helping hand. At St. Philip's, she was a volunteer and a long-time usher who served for over 44 years; she eventually became a member of the Senior Usher Board.
She was predeceased by her husband, who died in June 2011. In addition, she was also predeceased by her brothers; Agail, Dock, Lentee, Charles, Taswell, Howard, and Rolley, her sisters; Helen Clemons, Lillian Colfield Roberson, and Celestella Rich. She was also predeceased by Peggy, who died in January 2001.
Jessie is survived by her brother, Louis Williams, numerous nieces, nephews, and other relatives and friends.
The service will be Tuesday from Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home, Tottenville, with the wake being held from 2-4 and 7-9.
The service will be officiated by Dr. Tony Baker, Sr., Pastor of St. Philip's Baptist Church.
Burial will be Friday in North Carolina.
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