Mother Minnie Ola Moore Shipp, 85, of Conyers passed away Saturday, June 15.
"Mother Shipp," as she was called by all who knew and loved her, was born November 3, 1927.
She was well known for her missionary work in the Macedonia Baptist Church of Conyers and in the community at large. For many years she was a volunteer at Rockdale Hospital and also acted as a volunteer nurse assistant and informal social worker.
"She was loved by so many people because of her Christian love that she shared through her smiles, hugs, and words of advice and encouragement," said her daughter Norma. "And she must have sent hundreds of sympathy, get well, and thinking-of-you cards, as well as and flowers, on behalf of her church."
Her youngest son, Christopher Shipp, now Pastor of Bald Rock Baptist Church, recalled that his mother "loved people and loved inspiring people, especially young people. She invited everybody to everything."
For her 80th birthday she received greetings and best wishes from President George and Laura Bush, Senator Johnny Isakson, and Governor Sonny Perdue - each congratulating her on her missionary work or her work in raising money for organizations such as the American Cancer Society. The City of Conyers issued a proclamation, as well, declaring Saturday, November 3, 2007 as "Minnie Ola Shipp Day."
Mother Shipp grew up in a time of racial segregation and had several experiences. Her daughter Norma said, "She would tell us how she remembered seeing the signs 'Colored Here' and 'Whites Here.'"
"There was a swimming pool directly across from Macedonia Baptist Church inside where the fence is now. The white children were able to go swimming there. The black children would find the creeks and swim. We knew not to go that way to the pool. When integration happened, they covered the pool up to keep blacks from coming to the pool."
In 1996 she was recognized as a "Mother of Distinction" for being the first African American female to work at the Ace Hardware Corporation that was located on Ga. Highway 138 before retiring with 20 years of glowing service.
Mother Shipp started off as a maid at Ace Hardware Corporation. She joined the union unbeknownst to the employers and was eligible to bid for better positions. Being a maid gave her years of seniority. Despite the efforts of some women to talk her out of seeking other jobs, she won the bid to become an order puller and then a quality control manager. She ran into unexpected opposition. "I remember it was rough," Mother Shipp said later, "but God took me through it. Some of the men would use the bathroom and rub feces and other stuff all over the walls. I would have to hose down the walls to clean it. One day, I had taken all that I was going to take on this, so I told management what was going on. Management took the stall doors down and told them that they were going to be public spectacles. If they caught anyone else doing this kind of thing, they would be fired."
When she moved from the maid's job, four people were hired to do the work she had previously done.
She was very proud of her children. Christopher Shipp recalled how she would be at every basketball game and event while they were growing up in support of her six active children. She was the mother of two girls followed by two sets of twins - a girl and boy set and a set of boys.
"Mom wanted four children so she said God gave her two spares," her children like to say.
She was a great cook and could cook anything. Her specialty for the holidays was sweet potato pie. One Christmas she made more than 100 pies and gave them away to family, friends and community members at large. Doctors and judges even stopped by to sample her famous sweet potato pies.
She enjoyed watching sports of all kinds and working in her word puzzle books. She was a fan of "Wheel of Fortune."
The funeral service, a celebration of her life, will be Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church, 1052 Barton Street, Conyers, pastored by the Rev. Billie Cox. Mother Shipp will lie in state from 9 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the church. The family will assemble at 10 a.m. at the home for the funeral cortege. Visitation was held Friday, June 21 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Macedonia Baptist Church.
She is survived by three daughters: Professor E. R. Shipp (Baltimore), Mrs. Virginia Caldwell (Moncks Corner, SC) and Dr. Norma Shipp; two sons: the Rev. Clarence Shipp and Pastor Christopher Shipp; a son-in-law, Arthur Caldwell Sr.; a daughter-in-law, Valerie Shipp; four grandchildren: Arthur Jr. and Jonathan Caldwell, Christian Shipp and Charlotte Taylor; two sisters: Marion Foster and Carrie Taylor; two brothers: Samuel and Joseph Moore; five sisters-in-law: Lucy Moore, Nellie Pearl Moore, Hattie Moore, Hattie Harris Shipp (Atlanta) and Donna Shipp (Las Vegas); and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 43 years, Johnnie W. Shipp Sr., and a son, John Jr.
In lieu of flowers, food, and gifts, the family asks donations be made in memory of Mother Shipp to the Macedonia Baptist Church Building Fund, c/o Deacon Randolph Jones, 1052 Barton St., Conyers, Ga. 30012 or at the service. Funeral services are being handled by Gregory B. Levett & Sons Funeral Homes & Crematory, Inc. South DeKalb Chapel.