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Ora Lee McGee Booker

Ora Lee McGee Booker, 101, transitioned from this life to life everlasting on Aug. 16, 2020. She was born Feb. 27, 1919, to Lee and Will Anna Green McGee, in Hazlehurst, Copiah County. She is the oldest of five siblings: William Roscoe, Lamar, Gladys, and Nelson. She was preceded in death by her parents; three siblings, William Roscoe, Lamar, and Gladys McGee DeMyers; one niece, Dasia Mack; and two nephews, William David and Kirkland McGee.
Sister Booker grew up in the St. Peter Church community but was always close enough to attend Damascus Church and always claimed Damascus as her church home. She joined Damascus Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. under the leadership of Elder L. J. Brunson. She gave her life to the Lord at the age of 10 years old during a revival in October 1929 at Damascus Church. She was a faithful and active worker in her church. She started the first Vacation Bible School at Damascus under the leadership of Elder George A. Thomas.
Her parents were strong believers in education. Her early education was received at Damascus School. Later, she attended four months of her education at the rural schools of Damascus and St. Peter and five months at the town’s colored school, Parrish High School. She was one of the first to graduate from Parrish High School. After high school, she attended Jackson State University before Alcorn College, where she became a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and met C. J. Garrett at a football game. She graduated from Alcorn College May 16, 1949, receiving a bachelor of science degree. She studied at the University of Illinois and West Texas State in Canyon, Texas, where she received a degree in educational diagnostic studies.
Sister Booker’s first teaching job was at Freemont Elementary School in the southern part of Copiah County. She also taught school at Damascus and in Clarkdale. She married C. J. Garrett and they moved to Amarillo, Texas, where she taught in the Amarillo School System and joined Johnson Chapel A.M.E. Church, where she was a very active member. Before integration, she was hired as a full-time black teacher to teach five students in Dimmitt, Texas.
Later, she married Tech. Sgt. Nathaniel H. Booker, the love of her life, of the Amarillo Air Force Base. She learned early in life the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; therefore, she enjoyed cooking Mr. Booker’s favorite foods. After retirement, she and Mr. Booker returned to Hazlehurst. She worked at the Mississippi Job Corps Center in Crystal Springs and Hazlehurst High School. She rejoined Greater Damascus Church of Christ (Holiness) U.S.A. under the leadership of Elder Clifton Goodloe Jr. She served as a deaconess, member of the Board of Christian Education, Sunday School Class No. 2, U.C.W.M., Wednesday noon day prayer, Wednesday night Bible study, and in other areas. She was very faithful until her health declined. Her favorite scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6, and her favorite song was “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand.”
Sister Booker expressed her concern for humanity through the societies that she belonged, the schools where she worked, and the communities in which she lived over the years. She was loyal to her church and her work, never refusing a task, and ever present at the many services unless providentially hindered from being there. The example that she lived day-to-day was a goal for her family, church family, and the youth to strive to reach.
Sister Ora Lee McGee Booker’s life was full, rich, and happy. She loved people, traveling, visiting family and friends, playing games on her tablet, visits from her church family, friends, family, and neighbors, and reading because from a very young age, she had a “need to know.” Because of her “need to know,” she traveled to many states and abroad, which included visiting the Holy Land. She often encouraged others to become an active participant and member of civic organizations, orders, and clubs. She was an Eastern Star and Daughter of Isis Illustrious Commandress.
She leaves to cherish her memory, a loving and devoted brother, Nelson McGee; a devoted and caring niece and Godchild, Thealpha Von DeMyers; nieces, Connie D. Jones, Gloria Smith, Brenda M. Phillips, Sherrie Wells, Regina McGee, Shirley Ann Fiser; an always-present nephew, Gregory DeMyers (Juanita); nephews, Norman DeMyers, Reginald McGee; a caring play-daughter, Joanne White; four generations of nieces and nephews; and a host of cousins and friends.
She often referred to herself as “a young chick.” Today, we pay homage to our “young chick,” Sister Ora Lee McGee Booker, as we celebrate 101 years of life the Lord blessed her with. Due to social distancing requirements, there will be a graveside service at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 21 at Greater Damascus Church of Christ Holiness Cemetery. Masks are required.