On Sunday, September 22, 2019, Deaconess Emma Adelaide Lee peacefully departed this life at home. She was born on August 26, 1925 in Cumberland County, Virginia. She was raised in Cumberland County, Virginia by her parents, Phillip and Suzanna Gary along with eleven other siblings. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings Caroline Patterson Holmes, Mary Gilliam, Nedia Bell West, Nina Lee Dean, Pokey Woodson, Nannie Monroe, Rosa Nell Blanton, Stovie Patterson, Willie Gary, Ulysess Gary and Admus Gary.
Deaconess Lee attended schools in Cumberland County, Virginia. She later relocated to Washington, D.C., where she was a domestic worker and an employee at a local cleaners. On June 29, 1946, she was united in marriage to Junious Joshua Lee at Union Baptist Church in Cumberland County, Virginia. She had four children: Mary Doretha Gilliam, Kenneth Lee, Willie Edward Lee and Eric Stanley Lee, who are all deceased. Deaconess Lee was a devoted wife of 57 years until Deacon Lee’s death in August of 2003.
In 1954, Deaconess Lee joined the Mount Sinai Baptist Church, Washington, D.C. under the late Pastor C.C. Hayes. She was a God fearing woman who loved the Lord. She served on the Mount Sinai Senior Usher Board when it was first established in the late 1950’s and was a faithful member on that Board for decades. Deaconess Lee was a member of the International Church Ushers Association (ICUA) for over 30 years. In the early 1960’s, Deaconess Lee and Deacon Emmett Young organized the first Junior Usher Board at Mount Sinai. Also, she became a Deaconess in 1958 and served as an active and faithful member of the Deaconess Board for over four decades during which time she served a number of years as President. Sister Lee also served as an active member of the Missionary ministry for many years. She was a faithful and dedicated servant until her health began to fail and she loved her Mt. Sinai family.
Deaconess Lee, whom many knew affectionately as “Mama Lee”, will be fondly remembered for her sharp wit, sense of humor and for being very candid and direct in expressing her opinions and views.
After Deacon Lee’s death in August 2003, their grandson, Eric Lee, left his home in Virginia to care for his grandmother to honor a promise made to his dying grandfather. Eric faithfully and lovingly kept that promise until the end of her life.
Deaconess Lee is survived by her grandchildren: Eric Xavier Lee (Washington, D.C.), Adrienne Gilliam (Maryland), and Leandrea Gilliam (Washington, D.C.). She is also survived by a son-in-law Robert Gilliam (Maryland), a daughter-in-law Gwen Lomax and four sisters-in-law: Mildred Lee (New York), Annie Jarvis (New York), Mildred Scruggs (Virginia), Celestine Lee (Virginia), and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, loving friends and her Mount Sinai family.