Dessie Mae Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in Charter Oak, Missouri to the late Charley Corbin and the late Ethel Lucille McKeller.
Momma Dessie attended schools in southeast Missouri. She was baptized early in her life, and began serving in various church ministries; i.e., Youth and Women’s Departments, Ushers, Culinary, Janitorial, and many other roles. Having been married to a Minister who was later called to Pastor a congregation, she understood and became accustomed to the rigorous tasks of serving in this crucial support capacity. As a wife and mother then also, she executed her duties and responsibilities with great diligence. Momma Dessie knew rural country living; and for many years was used to getting up early and working extra-long hours. Typical days involved cooking hearty meals for her family, getting her two daughters and five siblings off to school, doing the myriad farm duties of attending livestock and barnyard fowl, working in the garden and fields, canning food, quilting, homemaking, and so much more. She was a dedicated family matriarch who watched the children grow up and leave one by one.
As agricultural living changed dramatically for farmers in the late 1960s, Momma Dessie left the farm. She subsequently held memberships in various churches and remained active doing the Lord’s work in whatever capacity she could serve. She took a dare in 1981 and moved to Orlando, FL to live near her daughter’s family.
Momma Dessie was employed at Martin Marietta Corp. as a Cook where she was selected “Employee of the Quarter” several times. After the company contracted out the Food Services Division, Momma Dessie was laid off after 14 years, and was given early retirement. She gladly moved to Jacksonville, FL to be closer to her daughter who had been reassigned there years earlier to a new job.
Momma Dessie joined Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in 2002. She loved working in the Deaconess and Culinary Ministries. She was devoted to both the 8:00 and 10:00 church services as well as her “Seekers of Truth” Sunday School Class. She enjoyed fellowship with the entire congregation and was glad to work alongside her daughter and son-in-law in church ministry work.
In her later years, Momma Dessie had many resident aides, nurses, and administrators (Patti & Stacy) that she became attached to during her 5-year stay at Brookdale Southpoint Senior Living. She relied on “Rev Melvin” who kept her A/C working and gave her a daily “Word from The Lord” every time she saw him; Nurses Angela and Tasha were her “crab-eating, Holy Ghost dancing Evangelists that lifted her up so many times when times got extra rough; Nurses Willa and Regina were her earthly “rocks” whom she knew without a doubt were on assignment from The Lord. We both knew the sign out front, “Heros Work Here” described so many in her Brookdale circle. For several years in her various health trials, -- her church sisters (Lenora W, Vernette “Sissy” T., Iva S., Dorris G.; joined by Donald & Everlee and her beloved deacon Dan Brown & wife Annette) --all stood in the gap as prayer warriors and encouragers. During her daughter and son-in-law’s absences, a dear friend, Laverne Cooper stood guard for more than 25 years – praying, calling, visiting, bringing her food, and keeping God’s Word in her ears.
Momma Dessie is survived by her daughter, Joyce A. Fortenberry, Jacksonville, FL, (whom she affectionately named “Baby Girl”; grandchildren, Jesse J. Getter Jr. of Elkhart, IN, Leonard J. Getter of South Bend, IN, Henry G. Cobb (Andrea) of Powder Springs, GA, and Renee’ M. Cobb-Pressley (Ronald) of Jacksonville, FL; and a host of great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren; siblings, Annie “Shirley” Buchanan, Pearlie Jennings (Tommie), Lessie Mae Bean of Parma, MO, David Stewart (Donna) of Jackson, MO; and a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces/nephews and cousins.
Momma Dessie was preceded in death by her father, Charley Corbin; mother, Ethel Lucille McKeller; daughter, Essie Mae Getter; five siblings, Herman McKeller, Jearline Jacobs, Edna Lee Hester, Roberta Rowe, and Julia Buchanan.
Sarah L. Carter's Funeral Home Southside is serving the Family.
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