Jessie Evelyn Mitchell Willingham was born May 23, 1933 in Lafayette County, MS to the late Prentice Mitchell and Lucille Jackson Mitchell. She left this earthly realm on Sunday, June 27, 2021. Through her, we know what resilience and perseverance truly looked like. There was no quit in Jessie.
Jessie attended Oxford Training School. She married Aubrey Willingham on June 11, 1949 and to this union, five children were born. She was employed as a domestic worker for many years at the AOPi and Chi Omega sorority houses at the University of Mississippi before she retired.
She was a member of Cypress Grove M.B. Church and attended church faithfully until her health failed. She served on the Mother Board, sang in the choir, sponsored church programs, and served in whatever capacity she was needed. After church every Sunday afternoon, Jessie would relax in her recliner and listen to gospel music to end her day.
Jessie enjoyed talking on the telephone, gardening, watching television, cooking, and just spending time with her family and friends. She was an excellent cook and especially enjoyed baking a variety of delicious desserts during the holidays. Spaghetti was one of her signature dishes that was always a favorite of everyone. She also enjoyed the trips she took to St. Louis, MO and New Orleans, LA with her first cousins, Annie and Rosie. Jessie's sense of humor will truly be missed. She had a way of phrasing things that could always bring a smile or chuckle to everybody that she talked to - and most of the time, she wasn't even trying to be funny.
She leaves to cherish her memory, three children, Brenda (JR) Jones, Jackson, MS, Leon (Lorine) Willingham, Oxford, MS, and Barbara (Bernard) Dunn, Taylor, MS; a granddaughter that she raised, Dana Booker, District Heights, MD; 10 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; two brothers, Alvin Mitchell and Ernest (Edith) Mitchell, Milwaukee, WI; a daughter-in-law, Deloris Willingham, Oxford, MS; a sister-in-law, Ethelean Richardson, Rock Island, IL; a special cousin/neighbor, Eulastine Thompson, Taylor, MS; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, and friends.
Jessie is preceded in death by her parents, Prentice and Lucille Mitchell; husband, Aubrey Willingham; two children, Ricky Willingham and Patricia Willingham; and six siblings, Thelma Norman, Levester Mitchell, Joe Willie Mitchell, Laverne Booker, James Mitchell, and Cenettie Johhnson.
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