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Antique Vintage 04


Willa Mae Thompkins

February 22, 1918 ~ May 19, 2019 (age 101)

Willa Mae Thompkins affectionately called “Mama Mae” by those who knew and loved her, was born
February 22, 1918 to Pauline Dykes in Jacksonville, Florida. Willa Mae and her mother migrated from
Jacksonville, Florida to Cincinnati, Ohio when she was a toddler. Pauline later married Oscar Harding,
who loved Willa Mae, and served as her father figure throughout her life. Willa Mae surrendered her life
and will to Jesus as her Savior through water baptism at a young age and was raised in the Baptist
She married Johnny Favors in 1936 and to this union a beautiful daughter, Joyce, was born. Willa
unfortunately lost Johnny Favors, as he died when Joyce was very young. A woman of strong conviction
and determination, Willa Mae explored alternatives to the work commonly offered to women of her
time and pursued training and preparation to be licensed as professional manicurist. She went on to be
one of the first Black women to be hired by McAlpins Salon. Willa Mae was determined to provide a
solid foundation for her family and she did this well. Willa was lauded for her proficient skills and won a
number of awards for her work in the manicuring business throughout her ambitious career.
She was born again after she married Richard Thompkins when they both took fellowship at St. Stephens
A.M.E. Church in 1954. Willa Mae served in many roles at St. Stephens A.M.E. Church including, Youth
Sunday School Teacher, Pastor's assistant, and a variety of other ministries. Willa Mae served as an
usher for over 50 years and led the usher board as President for many years. Willa Mae was dedicated to
serving and worshiping and enjoyed studying the Bible through a variety of fellowships throughout the
A.M.E. organization. She finally placed membership at Brown Chapel A.M.E. church, to fellowship with
her devoted grandchildren, Mark and Retrina, where she continued to serve as an usher for many years.
To know Willa Mae was to know a person with a heart of gold and a spirit of love in its truest form. She
was also a woman of strong christian conviction and integrity. A soft-spoken, gentle soul yet strong and
firm in her wit and perseverance of almost any circumstance. Willa attributed her longevity to the Grace
and Mercy of God and also impeccable self-care.
When able, Willa Mae traveled and cruised internationally and enjoyed living life to its fullest. She was
always dedicated to family and doted on all of her grandchildren. She graciously traveled to support all
of her great-grandchildren through athletics, academics, and beyond. Willa Mae firmly believed that
once her spirit was absent from the body, she’d be present with the Lord and she welcomed the glorious
day to be called. She lived a beautiful full life and was surrounded by so many who loved her dearly in
her Blessed, Peaceful, and Final Moments. A Life Well Blessed and Lived… Willa Mae’s loving spirit will
live on through the seeds of love and devotion that she sewed in those who were fortunate enough to
know her.
Willa Mae was preceded in death by her beloved husband Richard Thompkins, her daughter Joyce Ware,
and her grandson Darnell Mansoor. She leaves to cherish her precious memory; her loving
granddaughters Retrina (Mark) Ralls, and Wanda Mansoor; Great-Grandchildren: Lana (Curtis) Shaw,
Raeshon (Anya) Mansoor, Krishona (David) Poignard, Tamera (Frank) Hollimon, Darenn Mansoor, and
Markeita Ralls. Great-Great Grandchildren: Donald Hayes, Joseph and Joshua Shaw, Amani Mansoor,
David Poignard, Ryan and Rajon Hayes, and her beloved cousin, Mary Louise Jenkins, whom she enjoyed
traveling with for many years, as well as a host of other family members and friends.

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