Thelma D. Jefferson, 95 of Colton’s Point, MD, passed away on September 12, 2015. Thelma was born on December 1, 1919 in Pittsburg, Texas to the parents, Mary Ella Anderson and Reverend Frank Criddle, Sr. She was the oldest of four siblings, having three younger brothers, Odell, and Frank, Jr., both who preceded her in death, and her youngest brother, Anderson. She accepted Christ at an early age, being baptized at the Living Green Missionary Baptist Church in Pittsburg.
She was a student at Center Point High School in Pittsburg, and was valedictorian of her class. Thelma always commented on how much she loved attending church, going to school, and studying.
After relocating to Phoenix, she met and fell in love with Yulice Jefferson, Sr. They were married on August 19, 1943 and were married for 53 years, until her husband’s death on February 1, 1997. To this union six children were born; Yulice Jefferson, Jr., Gurthie Mae Jefferson Mosley, Cleveland Jefferson, Charles Lee Jefferson, Sr., Eugene Jefferson, and Robert Lee Jefferson.
Thelma was known by many titles: Mother Dear (Mudeah), Mama, Grandma, Nanny, and Mama J.
Thelma will always be remembered for her hospitality and delicious home cooking. She would cook up a feast consisting of her tasty spaghetti, roast beef, sweet potato pie, home-made pound cake, enchiladas, and her trademark mustard greens and cornbread. Never passing up the opportunity to help those in need, the homeless and less fortunate knew that they could knock on her door and ask for a meal and she would never turn them away. Instead, she would go inside, fix them a plate, wrap it up nicely and hand it to them to take with them on their way. Her life was a testament to one of her favorite poems, “The House by the Side of the Road”, much of which she still quoted by memory up into her 90’s.
Thelma was a hard worker and worked at the Maricopa County Hospital for over 20 years. She climbed up the ladder until she became supervisor of her department, being the first black woman to accomplish such a position. But only after being required to take nightly college courses; graduating from Phoenix Technical College with honors. This was not, however, a requirement for the non black workers in her field. Even after retiring, Thelma continued to work doing various jobs from selling Watkins products, doing demo work at various stores, and working as election clerk officer in her district and community.
Thelma was faithful to God and her church. As a member of Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend B. J. Stanton, pastor, she held the office of church clerk, her name being permanently engraved on the cornerstone until this day. She later joined Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend C. N. Hall Pastor, and finally, Abundant Life Missionary Baptist Church, Reverend Milton Pleasant pastor, where she served in numerous offices from Sunday School Teacher to Senior Mission President. Those acquainted with Sister Jefferson, knew that she didn’t come to church looking shabby by any means. She was quite the dresser and WORE her hats! However, she did not have to parade her Christianity about for men to see, rather, from the moment you approached Sister Jefferson, it was evident that she was a woman of integrity and virtue.
Those left to cherish her memory are her children; Gurthie Mae Jefferson Mosley of Phoenix, Arizona, Reverend Eugene Jefferson (Ruby) of Phoenix, and Dr. Robert L. Jefferson (Pensacola) of Colton’s Point, Maryland; One brother, Anderson Criddle of Los Angeles, Ca; First Cousin, Earl Edward Wilson of Daly City, Ca; Sister in Law, Emogene Davis of Houston, Texas, 26 grandchildren, 27 great-grandchildren, two great, great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends.
“Mama”, “Nanny”, “Grandma”, “Mama J”, “Mudeah”, you will be greatly missed, but we know you are safe in the arms of Jesus, our loving Lord and Savior.
Arrangements are as follows: Maryland Viewing:Thursday, September 17, 2015 – 6:00 – 7:00 PM, Briscoe-Tonic Funeral Home,
38576 Brett Way, Mechanicsville, Maryland 20659 (301) 884-8070), Phoenix Viewing and Service-Viewing: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 – 6:00-8:00 PM, Greenwood Memory Lawn, 2300 West Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona 85009 (602) 254-8491,
Service: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 – 11:00 AM, Greenwood Memory Lawn, 2300 West Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona 85009