The Life Of Mattie Pearl Ramsey
Mattie was born in Caddo Parrish, Louisiana on May 3,1933 to Ennis Larks and Essie Johnson. She was the 9th of 15 children. She was raised in Flint, Michigan with her Aunt Della-Marie and Uncle George Woods. She graduated from Flint Northern High School and received an Associate’s Degree in Accounting from Mott College, in Flint, Michigan. Mattie received Christ at an early age at Quinn Chapel AME Church, in Flint. Mattie's early adulthood consisted of secretarial work and immersing herself in the missionary work of the AME church. As a member of Quinn Chapel, she served faithfully in the Youth Missionary Department, played the piano for the church, and taught Sunday school. Missionary work became a large part of her life and led her to meeting her life partner, the late Rev. Blaine Ramsey, Jr. They met at a missionary conference, in Detroit, Michigan.
Mattie and Blaine Jr were joined in marriage in 1957, about the same time Blaine Jr was called to the ministry. She came to Illinois with her new husband for their first AME ministerial assignment. As her husband pastored, she worked in several state and federal government capacities. As the ever-present helpmeet to her husband, she found herself working to assist him in ministry in many ways. She stood by her husband's side through the Civil Rights Movement and trail blazed as the first African American woman in her many governmental positions. She worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Inspector General’s Audit Office. Soon after her retirement from the government, she drove school buses for the Elgin School District, in Elgin, IL. One of her greatest joys was raising a family of three children, Blaine III, Della-Marie, and Wesley Edward.
As the wife of an AME minister, Mattie followed him to many charges in their ministerial life. Pastor’s first charge was in Pontiac, IL. He then built his ministry through charges at Ward Chapel AME, in Cairo, IL; Bethel AME, in Champaign, IL; Ward Chapel AME, in Peoria, IL; Quinn Chapel AME, in Flint, MI; Canaan AME, in Maywood, IL; St. James AME, in Gary, IN, Bethel AME, in Beloit, WI; St. James AME, in Elgin, IL, and Davis Memorial AME, in LaGrange, IL. At every charge, Mattie fully embraced the position as, "First Lady," and with all the obligations and responsibilities that came with it. Always the consummate First Lady, she would fill in, wherever she was needed. Having three children of her own and raising them in the church, she was always committed to strong youth involvement and helping bring young souls to Christ.
Family was at the core of Mattie's life. In times that carried meager means, she could stretch a dime, to a dollar. Always having to work outside of the church to make ends meet, and dealing with the social and civil strife of the times, she exemplified spiritual strength, dignity courage, and the love of family. Mattie was always involved in the extracurricular activities of her children, and maintained a seemingly normal life for them. It was a blessing, living out her life with family. She loved her Six grandchildren and adored her three great-grandchildren. They clearly made life worth living.
There are lifelong anecdotes still echoing from Mattie Pearl! “Clean up after yourself, don't think you're doing more than anyone else, stop being a touch me not, and no one should know what color you are when talking to you on the phone.” Yes, God fearing, proper, and dignified! We were blessed by her life, and her legacy will live on! Because while her time her on earth has ended, her live in eternity has just begun because:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,:
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Mattie was preceded in death by her only daughter, Della-Marie Schaffer; great grandson, Timothy Gerald King; husband, Rev. Blaine Ramsey, Jr.; mother, Essie Johnson; father, Ennis Larks; sisters Miniona, Essie, Virginia, and Lois; her brothers, Nathaniel, Jesse, Robert, Joseph and Frank. Mattie leaves to cherish her memory, sons Blaine III (Audrey), Wesley Edward, and son-in-law Antonio Schaffer (Lolita). Her loving grandchildren are Alexis King (Timothy), Lauren Schaffer (Sam), Brittany (Michal), Antonio Jr. (Cynthia), Camille (Haven), Jera Schaffer and her precious great grandchildren, Zariya Joy, Micah Israel, Bella Reignleigh, and many nieces, nephews, and close friends.
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