Mary Elizabeth Johnson Harrison passed away on Wednesday, November 26, 2014. She was 92.
Mary accomplished a lot and touched many lives in her 92 years on this Earth.
At an early age, (nine) Mary accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior and was baptized by Rev. Sam Woodard, pastor, Cleveland Street Missionary Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. She was a member for 89 years. She served her church well as an organizer and teacher of the sunshine band (activity, biblical teaching, and spiritual enlightenment for boys). She was a dedicated member of the Good Samaritan club, jolly workers club, Vacation Bible School administrator/ teacher, and the missionary society, which compelled her to reach out to many who were less fortunate in the community. Mary, along with her sister, Martha Catherine (who was also a member of the church) gave her time, talents, and monetary support to individuals and families, especially children, with the gift of clothes, shoes, and food. She would take families to the grocery store and purchase whatever was needed (as well as desired), and on occasion she would pay rent and utilities for those who were in jeopardy of losing their home or utility services. Mary possessed a heart of gold and much compassion for humanity and family.
She attended Nashville public schools, and graduated from Meigs School. She also attended A&I State College (now Tennessee State University). Over the years she served Meigs School well by working tirelessly and diligently with the PTA, and as a homeroom parent, the football team, and with all school events.
Mary worked in law enforcement and the Tennessee state legislature, also working with Mayor Beverly Briley (Model Cities); Congressman and Mayor Richard Fulton; the late Justice A.A. Birch; Mayor Bill Boner; Sen. Jim Sasser; Sen. Al Gore; Rep. Jim Cooper; Rep. Harold Love, Sr.; Rep. Charles Pruitt; the late Gov. Ned McWherter; Sen. Thelma Harper; and numerous judges and Metro Council members, including the late Speaker Pro-Tem Lois DeBerry, for the betterment of the community. Mary also worked for President Jimmy Carter and was a member of the Carter Center. She considered it an honor to have met President John F. Kennedy, and participated in his campaign when Negro people were struggling for the right to vote.
Mary was also active with charitable organizations such as the March of Dimes, American Heart Association, Salvation Army, Big Brothers and UNICEF. She was honored in 1996 for over 30 years of service to the Democratic Party and also the Democratic Women’s Club. She received numerous awards and honors for her work in the community, at large, and humanitarian efforts. However, her greatest joy was her family, dear friends, and her love for Jesus Christ. Mary was full of grace, compassion and love. On a daily basis she set aside time to read her Bible, pray and have devotion. She was a true lady of faith, courage, strength, and inspiration and always spoke an encouraging word. Whenever there was cause to suffer, she called on the name of Jesus and said, “Help me Jesus.” She never complained. Mary possessed a spirit that gave a smile to everyone she met. Her loyalty was par excellence