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Emma Brookens Bailey

October 13, 1920 ~ January 19, 2024 (age 103) 103 Years Old

Emma Bailey Obituary

"God sees when all footsteps falter; when the path has grown too steep.  Then He touches the weary eyelids and gives His daughter sleep, and so it was."..

With most sincere sympathy, we formally announce the passing of Sister Emma Bailey, who transitioned from this life on Friday, January 19, 2024

Emma Amelia Brookens Bailey, age 103, transitioned peacefully into eternal rest on Friday, January 19, 2024, at her daughters’ home in South Orange, NJ.  During the fall of 1920, Emma was born in Cairo, Georgia, on October 13, to the late Joseph Sydney, M. S., D.D.D., Sr. and Emma Olivia Cloud Brookens.  Emma affectionately known as “Mother Dear” by her family and “Ma Bailey” by her students.

Emma graduated from Mobile High School in Mobile, AL (1938}, Alabama State Teachers College (1940), and Spelman College with a BA in 1942, and subsequently received her master’s in English literature from Columbia University.

In the fall of 1942, Emma commenced her teaching career in Beatrice, AL. followed by an assignment at Daniel Payne College in Birmingham (HBCU) for 2 years.  She began teaching at Wenonah High School in the fall of 1947, where she spent the next 41 years of her teaching career.  Emma retired June 7, 1988, from Wenonah High School as the head of the English department.

Emma loved to teach, and she seized any and all opportunities to do so! Emma was the resident expert on everything. She declared it exercised her creativity, solved complex problems, and ultimately helped make a difference to future generations.  Emma vehemently believed in pursuing an education.  She always stated, “Education cannot be taken away from you. Whatever you learn, inside the classroom or outside it, education enriches your life”.

Emma was a devout Christian her entire life. Emma joined and loved St. John AME Church (Current Pastor Ronald D. Sterling) in Birmingham, AL, in the late 1940s and remained a steadfast member. During her membership, Emma was a proud member of the Trustee Board, The Scholarship Committee, The Lay Organization, and the Courtesy Guild until it dissolved. Emma had been instrumental in electing the Rt. Reverend Cornelius E. Thomas to Bishop from St. John AME Church.

Emma also had a special ongoing relationship with St. Luke AME Church, Moundville, AL (Current Pastor Rev. Steve Brown).  They shared reciprocal respect for religion with affection, unity, and loyalty.

In 1983, Emma (PC) joined the Desert of Alabama Daughters of Isis (46).  Emma joined because she believed in their values of charity, benevolence and stressing the development of powerful leaders who encourage health awareness among youth and adults, to provide services that help disabled and senior citizens,

Emma also was an accomplished seamstress from when she was a young teenager.  Throughout her life, she made dresses, skirts, tops, coats. If it was a garment? She could stitch it with her Singer sewing machine, with or without a pattern!

Emma was the wife of the late Leenell Bailey and beloved mother of Florence Eatman MD, PhD, of South Orange NJ.

Emma is survived by her sister Alma S. Brookens Murray. nephew Charles O. Williams, Jr., nieces Tina B. (Alfred) Johnson and Emma (Amelia) Williams. She was predeceased by siblings: Joseph S. Brookens Jr., Victor E. Brookens Sr., Paul L. Brookens. William Decker Brookens, Florence B. Burton, nephews: Joseph, Mark, Michael and Victor Jr Brookens

Beloved grandmother of Daniel (Ayeasha), Mikia, Nicholas and Arlan. Great grandmother of Austyn, Etta, Noah and Olivia.

Cherished Great Aunt of Alexandrina, Aleashia, Justin, Christopher and Kieth.  Great-Great Aunt of Elise, Elijah and many more.

Emma will leave behind special loved ones Cynthia Cunningham, Rev. Xavier Beasley, Frances Clopton, Teresa Baugh, Juanita Allen, and Tracy Woodfield.

Emma leaves behind many family members nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and former students who loved her with fond memories.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Emma Brookens Bailey, please visit our floral store.

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Funeral Service
February 3, 2024

1:00 PM
Cloud Funeral Home Chapel
335 1st Ave Ne
Cairo, GA 39828

Interment following funeral service
February 3, 2024

Cairo City Cemetery
5th Street S.E.
Cairo, GA 39828


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