Mary Lee Blackshear was born to Freeman Blackshear and Mary Pitts Blackshear on December 189, 1934 in Cochran, Georgia in Bleckley County. At the age of 8, Mary accepted the Lord Jesus Christ and joined Piney Grove Baptist Church in Cochran, Georgia under the leadership of the late Rev. Joseph A. Holston, Sr. Mary loved the Lord and served on the Usher Board, sang in the Junior Choir and participated in Sunday School. She later Married her late husband James Johnson, Jr. To this union, one son was born; Jesse Johnson.
Mary attended both Public and High School in Cochran, GA. She moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1956, and graduated from Drake Business College in 1957. Mary joined Liberty Baptist Church in Elizabeth, NJ under the leadership of the late Rev. Tyler T. Thomas. She also served under the late Rev. Kenneth E. Grayson, Rev. Anthony W. Willcots and Rev. Milton A. Byrd. While there she sang in the Emergency Choir and served in the Helping Hand Ministry, was a Sunday School Teacher, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Christian Education. She was a Senior Missionary Supervisor of the Junior Missionary and Instructor for the New Hope Baptist Association Leadership Institute, which was part of the General Baptist State Convention and the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education.
Throughout her life she worked many different jobs. Her last three jobs were at Blue Cross & Blue Shield, National State Bank and she finally retired from The Board of Education in Elizabeth, NJ on June 25, 2006. Mary loved her own family as well as her church family. She just loved all people. Her motto was “If I can help somebody as I travel along the way, then my living will not be in vain.”
She married Alfred J. Smith on April 7, 2007. She was quoted as saying, “God has bless my last days to be my best day.” She and her husband Alfred moved to Florida in 2007. They joined Antioch Missionary Baptist Church Oviedo, Florida in May 2007, under the leadership of Pastor Charles Jones. At Antioch, Mary served as a Sunday School teacher, Missionary, Deaconess and was a member of the Senior Ministry.
Mary was preceded in death by her parents, the love of her life Alfred Smith, sister Rosa Lee Ingram, brother Elijah Washington and a nephew Larry Ingram. Mary leaves to cherish her memory, one son Jesse Johnson, one grandson Jerrod Fish, three great-grand children Jerrod Fish, Jr. Dwayne Fish and Jocelyn Daniels. Two great-great-grand children Zyanna Jones and Damon Hayes. Four Stepson: Trent Smith, Randy Smith (Yvonne), Travis Johnson & Alexander Susser, Two Step Daughters: Roberta McCloud-Reeves and Michelle Johnson-Brown. Seven Step-grandchildren, nephew Minister Richard Ingram, and niece Marianne Thomas. Many great-nieces and great-nephews, cousins. Her sisters-in-law Hilda and Helen Smith and Louise Brandon, one god-daughter Michelle Nolton, two special daughters Kathy McLean and Patricia Fields. She will be missed by her church family and many friends.