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Rosa JeffriesJuly 5, 1927 ~ January 2, 2018 (age 90)
Rosa Mae (Raines, Austin) Jeffries of Benton Harbor, MI passed away on January 2, 2018, Rosa Mae was born on July 5, 1927 to the union of Willie N. Dennis and Vina (Dinkins) Dennis in Morriston, Florida and raised in Ocala, Florida. She attended Howard Academy School. She married, at an early age, Samuel Raines, Jr. and from that union three children were born, Ronald S. Raines, Stuart L. Raines, and Willie N. Raines. Rosa Mae later married Isaac E. Austin and from that union, they had two daughters, Izena V. Burrell and Glenda J. Ash, both of Benton Harbor, MI.
She later married Rev. Johnnie Jeffries and they were married for 42 years. Together they raised a special granddaughter, Angel Ash of Mebane, North Carolina. Rosa Mae moved to Michigan in 1952 with her family. In the same year, she accepted the Lord as her personal savior, was baptized by Dr. Daniel E. Cook, and joined Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. She served in the church for 38 years and held many positions. Rosa Mae served as the church’s assistant secretary, Director, and President of the Senior Choir, Director of the Missionary Choir, President of the Nurse’s Guild, Superintendent, and teacher of Sunday school.
In 1990, she joined St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church. There she served as a Sunday school teacher for the adult class and sang in the choir. Rosa obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Conroe Normal and Industrial College in 1983. Rosa Mae was certified to teach preliminary books through Evangelical Teacher Training Association through Wheaton College. Through the National Baptist Convention of America, she was certified to teach in the Christian Education department. Rosa Mae obtained a license u Cosmetology through an apprenticeship at Sheila’s Black Beauty hair salon under Callie Carter-Hall. Christian education was very important to her and she led by example. She spent time counseling and mentoring to other Christian brothers and sisters. Rosa Mae was well known for her personal strength, character, and wisdom. The Lord allowed Rosa Mae to use her spiritual gifts faithfully in the community. Rosa Mae served the community of Benton Harbor with passion, determination, and love for the poor with a missionary spirit. She served as the Secretary for the Board of Directors for the Berrien County Association of Churches for several years. Rosa Mae was passionate about feeding the hungry within the community. She worked closely with CROP Hunger Walks as a church recruiter and fundraiser for over 25 years. As a 20 year member of the Board of Directors for Benton Manor Cooperative, she served as a member and was later appointed to serve as the President until she retired from public service in 2012. She was made Emeritus upon her retirement.
Left to mourn are her daughters Izena (Emmanuel) Burrell, Glenda (Charles) Ash, her grandsons, Stuart D. Yates, Christopher L. Yates, Charles E. Austin, Che Eddie, Tremone Evans, Cassius K. Ash; granddaughters Angel I. Ash, Erica Young-Patterson, and Ebony Evans; two godchildren, Helen Calhoun and Monica Buford; special friends, Jerry Crump, Artelia Martin, Maxine Peete-Smith, and a host of great - grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews and special spiritual brothers, sisters, and friends.
Rosa Mae Jeffries was preceded in death by her parents, her sons, her husbands, one half-brother, Willie James Dennis, and grandson, Rahshaan A. Ash.