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Joellen Smith Wilson
November 18, 1938 ~ January 18, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Joellen Smith Wilson was a passionately caring mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend. She lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, and went to be with the Lord on January 18, 2023.
Joellen was born on November 18, 1938 to Milledge and Eva Mae Smith in Statesboro, Georgia, and attended school in Portal, Georgia, from elementary school all the way through high school, during which time she made lifelong loving friends. After high school, she lived at times in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, settling permanently in the Tampa Bay area of Florida in the early 1970s.
Joellen gave birth to four children, Tammy Whidden, Ronnie Wilson, Amy Montanus, and Samantha Crespo; and her unrelenting commitment to and boundless sacrifice for her four children - coupled with her love for God - indelibly marked her life. The sacrifices she made for her four children and the cost of her sacrifices could solely be measured in heaven - and leave her etched as one of the greatest moms in human history and as the world's most perfect mom for her four children. Her devotion to God, similarly, would prove daunting to gauge but showed itself in her serving and loving others constantly.
For Joellen, participating among a community of others who also sought to follow Jesus seemed indispensable. In churches in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida, she eagerly joined and taught Sunday School classes, sang in and directed choirs, hosted prayer and home Bible study groups, and contributed in countless other ways. In Florida, the two churches she loved most and where she served most were West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, Florida, and Legacy Church in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Through much of Joellen's adult life, she worked three jobs to provide for her family; sometimes that number tapered to two and, rarely, to one. She'd grown up on a farm in Statesboro and likely developed her intense work ethic there along with her parents and seven siblings, all of whom worked on the farm as sharecroppers and all of whom went to be with the Lord ahead of her. She joyfully rejoined her parents and siblings in heaven recently and those siblings are Dorothy (Grady) Jones, Doris Smith, Jean (Osey) Fail, Bettye (Charles) McCullough, Ann (Elmer) Martin, William (Vonice) Smith, and Jacob "Jake" (Marie) Smith.
Joellen additionally has three grandchildren, Jennifer Rivera (Shaun), Matthew (Kelli) Whidden, and Nina Crespo; and she has three great grandchildren, Janelle, Michael, and Jaidyn.
Joellen was genuinely brilliant and an avid reader even back in her days before she began elementary school. She was the child in her family who - so eager to read at the end of a day working cotton or tobacco or anything (as all the kids did, regardless of age) - got in trouble for reading beneath her covers with a kerosene lamp nearly nightly. The kerosene lamp beneath the bed covers possibly wasn't the most brilliant of things, but her searching for any moment or second to read evidenced the dogged, determined energies of her mind to learn and devour content. She excelled in school and excelled in learning virtually anything into which she invested her mind. Her favorite facets of school life included every phase of learning and academia, debate team, cheerleading, chorus/music, and friendships.
Joellen so believed in God and her favorite readings are located - of all the reading she accomplished - in the Bible, the Word of God. To that end, any desired donations can be made to Gideons International, a ministry that graciously provides Bibles globally.
A memorial service to honor Joellen's life will take place on Saturday, February 11th at 11:00 AM at Legacy Church at North East Park in the sanctuary and a luncheon and visit time will follow in the adjacent fellowship hall.
The church address for service and luncheon is as follows:
3737 1st Street NE
Saint Petersburg, FL 33704