Barbara Jean Bailey Levett was a woman of encouraging words. She knew comfort and kindness were characteristics she wanted people to remember her by.
She died at the age of 79 on Nov. 3 from complications of cancer. She was preceded in death by her husband George Levett Sr. in 2004 and her daughter Phyllis Levett in 1972.
Married for 56 years to George Levett Sr., she leaves a legacy of love and intelligence behind. When Levett Sr. started the family business, Levett & Sons Funeral Home and Crematory in 1950, she supported him in every aspect.
“When Dad died, she was the engine that kept the business running,” said her son George Levett Jr., who currently runs the funeral home. “She encouraged us to continue to treat the people in the community right. To carry on the legacy the way our father started it.”
Barbara Jean Levett, a Conyers native, was an only child and attended Catholic school in Atlanta growing up. Levett went on to have seven children — three daughters and four sons. Family-oriented and full of love, Levett enjoyed making home-cooked meals and sharing them with family and friends.
“I loved her fried peach pie.” George Levett Jr. said. A hospitable woman full of energy and warmth, she radiated kindness and care to all those she came into contact with.
Levett was a member of the Rock Temple AME Church and she lived her life by the verse and Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” She always encouraged her children to be honest and fair. Some of her hobbies included reading the newspaper, attending church and going to gospel concerts. Her favorite singer was Lee William and she was even blessed with the opportunity to meet him.
Her funeral and home-going celebration at Voices of Faith Ministries in Conyers on Friday, Nov. 9 was a full house as dignitaries and the many people she had touched during her life came to pay their respects.
The service was presided over by Rev. Alfred Vaughn, prayer led by Rev. Aldren Sadler, Scripture readings by Springfield Baptist Church Pastor Eric Lee and Voices of Faith Ministries Bishop Gary Hawkins Sr., tribute by Marilyn Levett-Brown and a eulogy by Rev. George Levett Jr.
District 4 Congressman Hank Johnson presented a U.S. Citizen of Distinction award, and remarks were given by Ruth Ingram, Grover Simmons, District 43 state Sen. Ronald Ramsey, and Gregory Burrell, president of the national Funeral Directors and Morticians Association. Performances were given by a combined choir, which sang “Let the Church Say Amen,” Bishop J.D. Means, who sang “When the Gates Swing Open,” and Daphne Bailey, who sang “Going Up Yonder.”
In addition to her sons and daughters — Jerome Levett, Gregory B. (and Betty) Levett Sr., Rev. Marilyn Levett-Brown, Sonya Levett, Rev. George W. (and Takela) Levett Jr., Grote Levett, and adopted daughter Tammy Sawyer and adopted son Kelsey B. Floyd — Levett leaves behind 18 grandchildren, 20-plus great-grand children, and a host of nephews, nieces, relatives and friends.