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Bertha Lee Billingsley

October 19, 1929 ~ November 19, 2018 (age 89)
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Our mother, Mrs. Bertha Lee Billingsley, nee Brown, (“Momma”), age 89 died peacefully on November 19, 2018, after a long struggle with diabetes and hypertension. Momma was born the year of The Great Depression on October 19, 1929, in Sycamore, Alabama, the daughter of Booker T. and Loney Brown, nee Lawson. She was the fourth oldest of fourteen children. Momma attended R. R. Moton School in Sycamore, Alabama. At the age of 18, she left Sycamore to live with her Aunt Hattie Mae in Anniston, Alabama. Momma is preceded in death by her parents and all except two of her siblings, her husband, Joe Billingsley, Sr.; daughter Ada Lee Billingsley; sons, James C. Billingsley; Fred D. Billingsley; Kenneth Joe Billingsley; and Randy M. Billingsley; granddaughters, Ebony Billingsley (daughter of Ada Lee) and Tanya Billingsley (daughter of Juanita). In 1948, she met Joe Billingsley, Jr., in Elliott City, Alabama. A year later, they were married and moved to Anniston, Alabama their home for many years. In 1967, they migrated to New Miami, Ohio in the hope of a better way of life. And, although momma had left the South, the South never left her. In 1970 momma and daddy purchased their first home on Central Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. After spending many years as a homemaker, Momma took a job at the Leishner Piecemeal Company in Hamilton. There she was well respected by all and rose to the rank of Shop Steward. In that position, she represented and defended the interests of her colleagues as a labor union member and official. Momma was a “revolutionist” in many ways. Having spent her childhood in a racially segregated “Jim Crow” state, she understood and fought against inequality even in the workplace. She was a true fighter up until her dying breath. Family and friends were momma’s passion and delight. She had a wonderful sense of humor which endeared her to everyone she came in contact with. She loved to entertain and frequently had backyard cookouts at her house. For many hours, Momma spent time gardening, tending to her flowers and plants, and preparing some of her favorites Southern dishes like blackberry cobbler, hot biscuits, fried chicken, cornbread, and collard greens. In her later years, she enjoyed political talks, watching the news, game shows, and word find puzzles. Momma was a strong-minded woman who had no problem with telling you exactly what she was thinking—getting offended was more your problem and definitely not one that momma would lament over. In addition to raising her thirteen children in the teachings of Jesus Christ, she loved caring for her grandchildren; especially, during the summer months where they came from near and far. She often shared her meager resources with those whom she saw with a greater need like sponsoring a child overseas. She not only opened her heart, but her home as well. Throughout the years, she allowed many of her siblings to live in an already crowded house. Nevertheless, she always seemed to make it work. Momma leaves to cherish her memories daughters, Dr. JoeAnn Billingsley Franklin (Fabian), Sarah Jones, Mary Alice Billingsley, Juanita Billingsley, Henrietta “Cie” Billingsley, and sons, Daniel Billingsley (Cystal), Adam Billingsley (Julia), and Joe Jr., “Newt” Billingsley; daughter-in-law Gail Billingsley (Fred), sister, Myrtis Cook, and brother, Booker T. Brown; grandchildren James, Jr. and Nicki children of James; Fred Jr., Angela, Ramona, and Aba children of Fred; Kenny Joe son of Kenneth; Joi, Noel, and Jacob children of Joe Ann; Ricky and Corey sons of Sarah; Shaundrika and Daniel children of Mary Alice; LaNadia daughter of Juanita; Daniel, Jr., Brandon, Danielle, LaKendra and Damon children of Daniel; Eric, Storm, and Devin children of Adam. Over 50 great- and great-great grandchildren and many other family and friends are also left to cherish her memories. 

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