Etta Lee Dendy Thomas Harris was born in Manning, South Carolina on July 3, 1920 to the late Rev. Spurgeon C. Dendy, Sr. and Mrs. Lillian James Dendy and departed this life on Saturday, October 15, 2011. She was the second oldest child and their first daughter. She grew up in Clinton, South Carolina in a loving family with two brothers and four sisters and was always an active member of Friendship A M E Church.
Etta received her early education at Bell Street School which was later changed to Martha Dendy High School in honor of her paternal grandmother. She received her High School Diploma with Honors and went on to graduate from Coulter College in Cheraw, South Carolina. Etta taught school at St. Albans Training School in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
Etta married the late Javan C. Thomas, her college sweetheart, and they became the proud parents of their only child, Lorraine. In 1941, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where she joined Brown Memorial AME Church. She truly loved the Lord, her church and her church family. She sang in the choir, was a past President of the Missionary Society and a founding member of the Gleaners Circle.
In Washington, DC, Etta worked for the Navy Department and the Veterans Administration. She retired as an accountant in 1990 from the Naval Air Propulsion Center in Trenton, New Jersey.
After marrying William P (Bill) Harris, Etta moved to Lexington Park, Maryland and was employed as a Special Education Teacher at Esperanza Middle School. Bill’s job transferred them to live in Bronx, New York and later to Trenton, New Jersey. She joined Mt. Zion AME Church and served as a former Trustee, President of the Myra A. Ashley Missionary Society for many years and sang in the Cathedral Choir.
After Bill’s death and Etta’s retirement, she relocated back to the metropolitan, D.C area and resided in Temple Hills, Maryland. She renewed her membership at Brown Memorial Church, where she looked forward to worshiping, reconnecting with old members and meeting newer members. She attended services regularly until her health declined. Her Christianity was evident to all who knew her as she was always a cheerful, loving, supportive and loyal friend to all.
Etta was the matriarch of the Dendy Family. She leaves to cherish her memory, a devoted and loving daughter, Lorraine James, a special granddaughter, Natasha James-Waldon (Ian), and two great grandchildren, Yahnie and Lawrence Waldon, two sisters and one brother preceded her in death: Nina D. Saunders; Thelma D. Wilson; and Spurgeon C. Dendy, Jr. Her surviving siblings are two sisters Lillian D. Wynn, Mattapan, Massachusetts; and Barbara D. Oliver, Decatur, Georgia, and one brother, William F. Dendy of St. Petersburg, Florida. She is also survived by her devoted son-in-law, Lawrence James, Jr. and his friend M. Rose McNair, a special friend and sister In Christ, Ivy McDowell and her daughter, Barbara Guinyard, Church friends from Trenton, New Jersey, many nieces, nephews, cousins beloved friends, church members and former neighbors.
God blessed us by allowing her to live 91 fruitful years and now her earthly journey has been complete and our memories of her will last forever.