~A faithful and committed Christian woman, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend who “pressed toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus~
On Monday, July 22, 2019, God called Mary Lee Holloway from labor to reward. Mary has “fought a good fight, she has finished her race, Mary kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)
The former Mary Lee Johnson was born on October 8, 1939, in the quaint town of Roxboro, North Carolina. She was the eldest daughter of four children born to Trustee Fairfax and Anna Johnson. Both parents, her younger sister, Bessie Johnson, one granddaughter, Kayla Nicole Ramos, and one grandson, Eric Dimitri Covington, preceded Mary in death.
Mary Lee Holloway was educated in the Person County Public School system. She attended Roxboro Elementary School and Person County High School, subsequently graduating in 1958. Mary sung in the high school choir and was a very diligent student, always assisting her siblings and fellow classmates with their lessons and homework assignments.
Mary was raised in a strong Christian home; hence, her parents knew the importance of children “growing in wisdom and knowledge and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). So, at a very early age, Mary joined the fellowship at the Mill Hill Baptist Church in Roxboro, North Carolina where she was baptized and regularly attended Sunday school. Mary also sung in the church choir.
In 1958, Mary relocated to New York City and joined the fellowship of the Convent Avenue Baptist Church (CABC), under the pastorate of the late Rev. Dr. Mannie Lee Wilson. Mary loved her church family immensely. Mary remained a student of the Bible and was a long-standing and dedicated member of the Missionary Usher Board. She was also a committed and engaged parent in the CABC Girl Scouts of America, Inc.
Mary Holloway was employed in the garment district for a relatively brief period. However, her dream and passion was to become a pediatric nurse. Hence, she attended and completed a certificate program in pediatric nursing. Mary was a very dedicated employee. Her compassion, empathy and concern for people later led her to the occupation as a Home Health Aide. Mary worked in this capacity for over 25 years.
It was in New York City, the year 1959, where Mary met the love of her life, Wharton Holloway. The young couple exchanged vows at “The Church on the Hill,” in the village of Harlem. From that union, two beautiful daughters were born: Jackie and Stephanie. Mary was a caring and loving mother to her precious daughters and she and her husband made certain that they were nurtured in the ways of the Lord. A strong matriarch, Mary Lee Holloway was always deliberate in faithfully executing her household tasks and attending to the needs of her family.
Mary and Wharton were destined to become one; Mary knew of her “husband to be” long before she migrated to New York City. Both were reared in Roxboro, NC. Mary and Wharton loved each other wholly and very deeply. For all those who knew them, Mary and Wharton served as a shining example of Christian matrimony. You never saw one without the other and as fate would have it, Mary breathed her very last breaths in the arms of her beloved husband of 60 years.
In the community where they lived for over fifty years, Mary and Wharton were affectionately dubbed “Mom and Pop.” Mary was a faithful and committed attendee at the Mitchel Senior Citizen Center, located in the Bronx, New York. She diligently participated in the range of activities and excursions alongside her fellow seniors. Mary cherished the days and times spent at the Center.
Mary loved her family immensely and unconditionally. She was very proud to bear the last names “Johnson” and “Holloway”. She enjoyed participating in family reunions and fellowshipping often with her relatives. Mary and her late sister Bessie faithfully prepared delicious Thanksgiving dinners every year. Understanding the value of family and the importance of maintaining strong family ties, Mary would talk for hours on the phone with her brothers Claybon and Fairfax as well as with other relatives on a regular basis. During these lengthy conversations, she would often share stories about the family and times past. She preserved the family history and trust.
Mary also cherished her friends and was considered a dedicated confidant. She and her best friends, Irma Smith and the late Clara Morris, shared many wonderful and happy times together. Irma and Mary were also successful bowling league teammates for approximately 25 years. Bowling and fellowshipping with close friends was a favorite pastime for both Mary and Wharton.
Mary Holloway never forgot her roots and the friends she had made throughout the years. For over 30 years, Mary and her husband were regular attendees at their Annual Roxboro High School Reunion, and on an intermittent basis, the two also attended their class reunion, which is indeed noteworthy! Mary and Wharton enjoyed catching-up with their former classmates. It is evident that Mary Holloway understood all too well that in order to have friends, one must first be a good friend.
Mary Lee Holloway was a realist – frank in her conversations, witty and an extrovert, all at the same time. She was a “people-person” and possessed the “gift of helps.” Mary was always willing to assist others in any way possible. Not only was Mary a consummate nurturer of her own children and grandchildren but she consistently complimented and encouraged all young people with whom she came in close contact. She would never diminish anyone but always sought to pour love and hope into the lives of people! She enriched the lives of all those who surrounded her and thus, we are all the better! Mary was a very jolly woman and a “teaser” at heart. Her playful spirit would always fill the room with contagious laughter and great joy. Mary lived her life with Godly purpose and fortitude!
Mary Lee Holloway leaves to cherish her memory and continue her legacy: A very devoted and loving husband, Wharton Holloway; two daughters, Jackie Covington of Baldwin, New York and Stephanie Holloway of Freeport, New York; two step-sons, Andre Obie of Roxboro, North Carolina and Charles Eley of Raleigh, North Carolina; two sons-in-law, Rodrick Covington, Sr. of Baldwin, New York and Eloy Ramos of Freeport, New York; two brothers, Claybon and Fairfax Johnson, both of Washington, D.C.; three sisters-in-law, Sylvia Hicks of Frederick, Maryland, Hazel Bristow of Vienna, Virginia, Rita Neal-Johnson of Washington, D.C.; three brothers-in-law, Franklin Holloway of Roxboro, North Carolina; William Bristow of Vienna, Virginia, Theodore Hicks, of Frederick, Maryland; four granddaughters, Kiara Ramos of Freeport, New York, April, Ashley and Amber Covington of Baldwin, New York; three grandsons, Rodrick Covington, Jr. of Baldwin, New York, Chaz and Justin Ramos of Freeport, New York; seven nieces, Shante and Sherice Johnson, both of Washington, D.C., Felicia Holloway, Roxboro, NC, Wendy Nolan (Ed) of Frederick, Maryland, Sonia Clarksburg (Greg) Germantown Maryland, Tammie Raines (James) of Roxboro, North Carolina, Candice Bristow of Takoma Park, Maryland; five nephews, Mandrell (Michelle) Johnson of Waldorf, Maryland, Malik Johnson (Tiffany) of the Bronx, New York, Leon, Derrick and Timothy Holloway of Roxboro, North Carolina; a host of great nieces, nephews, and other relatives; a very dear sister-friend for more than seventy-years, Irma (Gertrude) Smith of Yonkers, New York and other very close friends.