Margaret Ruth SLEDGE

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Left: Mama (about 12 years old) with her sister Mable Roy in Macon, Mississippi. Right: page 1 of funeral program

Name: Margaret Ruth SLEDGE

Known AKA: Ree, Reese, Red, Lil Margaret

Surname Variations: SLUDGE, SLUDG

DOB: 21 Feb 1950 in Macon, Noxubee, Mississippi, USA

DOD: 27 Oct 2006 in St. Louis, Florissant, Missouri, USA

Father: Sam WILLIAMS Sr

Mother: Lillian C. SLEDGE

Siblings from her father and Mattie Lee: Woodrow/Woodie, Earnest, Lee, Sam Jr, Hardie, Odell “Red/Pain”, James, Ruth O., Olivia (all siblings have the surname WILLIAMS)

Siblings from her father and Ida Frierson: Florence Jean/Jean

Siblings from her mother: Mable Roy BELL, Oliver “Fat” BELL, Edna Z. BELL, William Lloyd “Cot” BELL, Wade SLEDGE, Jean/Gene, Carlene

Spouse: Curtis Allen GREGORY

Children with Curtis Allen GREGORY: Tara, Tina

Children with Joseph K SANDERS: Billy

Children with Lee JOHNSON: William Lloyd

TIMELINE:

21 Feb 1950: Birth in Macon, Noxubee, Mississippi, USA

1950-1968: Resident of Macon, Noxubee, Mississippi, USA

1972: Marriage to Curtis Allen GREGORY

1987: Divorce from Curtis Allen GREGORY

1968-2006: Resident of St. Louis, Missouri, USA

27 Oct 2006: Death in St. Louis, Florissant, Missouri, USA

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Page 2-3 of funeral program

4 Nov 2006: Burial in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

NOTES:

Mama grew up in the small town of Macon, Mississippi where everyone knew your business before you did. I do not know exactly how her parents met but I do know that parts of his land bordered the back of Grandmama Lillian’s house and she worked in his grocery store.

Mama loved to tell stories of life in the old days. She and her cousins had an amazingly carefree life coming of age in the Jim Crow South. They swam and fished in the creeks, eating turtle and frog legs (yuck). They paid a dime for a hamburger and ate it at the movie theater, paying a quarter for admission. They played softball in the fields where she broke her wrist. It was an even less than memorable occasion because her father was passing by at the time and at the moment when she broke her wrist, she said “shoot” and he thought she said, “sh*t” so he whupped her for that. My favorite recollection of Mama’s childhood memories was of her picking cotton. A truck would come to pick them up at dawn before school to take them to a cotton pickin’ farm. They would put rocks at the bottom of their bags to make it weigh more and get more wages. While it was not an honest way to make extra cash, I understand how they could do it in the context of survival. Farmers just did not compensate them enough for their hard earned labor and some probably cheated them too.

At seven years of age, Mama was a student at a segregated school in Macon. Integration of schools in Noxubee County did not happen until 1970! Billy’s paternal grandfather, Reverand Benny SANDERS Sr, was one of the bi-racial committee members serving on the Noxubee County Board of Education trying to find a solution for the boycott against public school integration. It was a mess but I digress. Mama’s favorite subjects were math and history. She was on the basketball team. The woman loved her sports! Watching basketball, football and baseball with her were always full of laughter and fun.

Mama had wanted to go to college to play the piano and be a singer. She had a lovely voice and if I close my eyes now, I can still hear her singing.

By 1967, Mama was a young mother to my brother Billy. Her second child, William, was born prematurely and only lived about 11 hours. A short time afterwards, she migrated to St. Louis, Missouri with her sister, Edna. She got a job working at White Castle as a car hop and met Daddy this way. They were married 14 years before divorcing. However they continued to have an amicable relationship while raising me and my siblings.

Daddy wanted Mama to stay home and take care of us. She thought that was one of the best things she could have done for her children. Being a stay-at-home mother allowed her to be very involved in our education. While going to public schools, we didn’t ride buses but we usually lived within walking distance of our schools and she was very devoted at walking us to and from. Just to have that kiss and hug before school was comforting and the excitement at seeing her face again at the end of a long day of learning was everything. Two incidents which she liked to revisit and have us laughing at were: 1) being called to Simmons-Marshall School when my brother Billy would fall out on the playground playing dead one too many times 2) the day she couldn’t walk me to school and it fell upon Billy and his friends to drop me off. That day she opened the door to find that I had walked home from school at only 4 years of age because he had left me at the school’s gate instead of taking me inside. Mama said I had an angel guiding me…I wonder if it was that man I encountered along the way and stopped to talk to. I wish I could remember the conversation! (I vaguely remember Charles Henry Turner school but Billy says it was actually St. Matthew’s Catholic church school).

Mama volunteered at McKinley Elementary School where me and my sister, Tina, were enrolled. This eventually landed her a job as the ice cream lady working in the cafeteria where she could also see me and Tina when we came to eat. We could get ice cream on the days she didn’t have any money…on credit…then it came out of her check haha! Credit was also extended to teachers and staff because she was nice like that and the administration trusted her. In the end, she always collected from whoever owed because the trust was mutual and she was an excellent bookkeeper. The other jobs that she held were as a car hop and cashier at White Castle (where she first met Daddy), a cashier at Uncle Richard’s liquor store, Woolworth, La Merite Bridal Shop, Family Dollar, Burger King and a fast food pizza restaurant inside the famed Admiral boat. She worked mostly in retail and food service which suited her talkative and lively personality.

Mama died of pneumonia and cirrhosis of the liver (not related to alcohol) at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She was always a beautiful person, inside and out, kind, caring and forgiving. She was also a people person with a great sense of humor, just like my father, and was quite the talker. Many a time she cracked us up with her sayings, of which there are way too many to list here. Family was dear to her and she kept in touch with hers and my father’s. There are two holes in my heart that can never be patched up, one for my father and one for her.

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Top left: page 4 of funeral program. Top right: headstone in Calvary Cemetery. Bottom: burial index, Archdiocese of St. Louis

TRANSCRIPTION OF RECORDS:

1950 Birth Certificate
State of Missouri
State file no: 123-50
Name: Margaret Ruth Sledge
Date of birth: 21 Feb 1950
Place of birth: Macon, Noxubee County, Mississippi
Name of father:
Birthplace of father:
Name of mother: Lillian Sledge
Birthplace of mother: Noxubee County, Mississippi
Informant:

1957 Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
LIST OF EDUCABLE CHILDREN
County: Noxubee
Town: Macon
Street or R. F. D.:
School Dist.:
Attendance Center: Macon (Separate) Col.
Race: Negro
Names of Parents or Guardians (Family Name): Sledge, Lillian
Names of Children (GIven Name): Sledge, Margaret
Line number: 24
Age: 7
Month Born: Feb
Sex: female
School:
Ward:
Address:
Sec. T. R.:
Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957
Digital Folder Number 004625773
Image Number 01249

2006 Death Certificate
State of Missouri
State file no: 124-06203663
Name: Margaret Ruth Gregory
Date of death: 27 Oct 2006
Place of death: St. Louis, Missouri [county]
Name of father: Sam Williams
Name of mother: Lillian Sledge
Informant: [private]

United States Social Security Death Index
first name: Margaret
middle name: R
last name: Gregory
name suffix:
birth date: 21 February 1950
social security number: XXX-XX-XXXX
place of issuance: Mississippi
last residence: Florissant, Saint louis, Missouri
zip code of last residence: 63032
death date: 27 October 2006
estimated age at death: 56

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“My mama was a shining example of forgiveness ever since I can remember. If someone hurt her, she would usually not respond in kind and turn the other cheek” (TRG)

Obituary/Funeral Program

Margaret Ruth Gregory February 21, 1950 – October 27, 2006. Birthplace: Macon, Mississippi. Resided In: St. Louis MO. Funeral Home: Austin Layne Mortuary [7239 West Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63136, E-mail: info@laynemortuary.com, Web Site: http://www.laynemortuary.com. Visitation: 4-7pm, November 03, 2006. Service: 9am, November 04, 2006. Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery [5239 W. Florissant Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63115, 11:15am, November 04, 2006].

PAGE 1

Margaret Ruth Gregory
Saturday, November 4, 2006, 9:00am
Austin Layne Renaissance Chapel
7302 West Florissant Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63136
Reverend E.G. Shields, Sr., Pastor
Mount Beulah M.B. Church, Officiating

PAGE 2-3

Margaret Ruth Gregory was born on February 21, 1950 to Lillian Sledge and the late Sam Williams, in Macon, Ms. She departed this life on October 27, 2006.

1957 Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children
1957 Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children

Margaret was educated at Macon High School, in Macon, Mississippi. Margaret enjoyed her school career, often mentioning the pride she felt at being named valedictorian in junior high school. Showing her athletic ability, Margaret played basketball for Macon High School and also played in neighborhood softball games when she could. An equal fan of nature, Margaret remarked on the numerous adventures she had during the spring and summer months.

Margaret confessed hope in Christ at an early age at Second Baptist M.B. Church of Macon, MS. In later years, she continued her faith at St. Peter’s A.M.E. Church in St. Louis. Margaret was a devoted reader of Scripture and loved to sing, especially gospel.

In March of 1966, Margaret gave birth to her son, Billy Johann Sledge. In 1968, she and Billy made the journey to St. Louis, Missouri. During this time, one of her first jobs was a ‘carhop’ at White Castle. It was there she met her soon to be husband. Margaret Ruth Sledge and Curtis Allen Gregory were married on March 24, 1973. Curtis was very proud to become the father of Billy and soon all three welcomed the births of Tara Renee Gregory in January of 1975 and Tina Nicole Gregory in March of 1976.

1.  The house on 3915 St. Louis Ave where at only 4 years old, I mysteriously found my way back to it from my school 2. Simmons-Marshall School where Billy attended, it was right down the street from our house 3. The front of Charles Henry Turner School, where I went to head start? It looks so familiar, especially on the side where the gate leads to the playground. I wish Mama were here to confirm 4.  The side of Charles Henry Turner School. You can see the Simmons-Marshall School in the background 5. The front of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades KG-3 with gym on 2nd floor and cafeteria in the basement 6. The back and side of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades KG-3, attached gymnasium in foreground 7. What used to be the front of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades 4-6, administration, music and library. Now demolished as of 2011. I spent my last year in 4th grade here before being bused the next school year to a predominantly white school in Fenton, Missouri for participation in the "desegregation program". I was SO happy at McKinley and was sad to leave but I understand that Mama just wanted a better education for me and Tina
1. The house on 4925 St. Louis Ave where at only 4 years old, I mysteriously found my way back to it from my school 2. Simmons-Marshall School where Billy attended, it was right down the street from our house 3. The front of Charles Henry Turner School, where I went to head start? It looks so familiar, especially on the side where the gate leads to the playground. I wish Mama were here to confirm 4. The side of Charles Henry Turner School. You can see the Simmons-Marshall School in the background 5. The front of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades KG-3 with gym on 2nd floor and cafeteria in the basement 6. The back and side of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades KG-3, attached gymnasium in foreground 7. What used to be the front of the McKinley Elementary School building for grades 4-6, administration, music and library. Now demolished as of 2011. I spent my last year in 4th grade here before being bused the next school year to a predominantly white school in Fenton, Missouri for participation in the “desegregation program”. I was SO happy at McKinley and was sad to leave but I understand that Mama just wanted a better education for me and Tina

Margaret’s life was full of loving and nurturing her children. She worked diligently as a housewife to make sure that they had the necessary comforts in life, often doing without them herself. Margaret also worked in the retail industry and volunteered at her children’s schools. In later years, Margaret’s volunteer work in the field of education turned employment. This led to a lifelong love of helping and creating joy in the life of each child she met. Margaret worked for Emerson Family YMCA and also Normandy School District.

Although divorced from Curtis, she was saddened by his death in 1994. Margaret’s love of people knew no bounds. If you talked to her for five minutes, you knew her and she never forgot you. She felt that three of her greatest accomplishments were her children and she shared tremendously in their success, watching each one graduate from college. Her latest joy was being able to help raise her first grandchild, Omar Nafel Alenazi.

Margaret leaves to mourn her passing: a loving mother, Lillian Sledge of Macon, Ms; three children, Billy of St. Louis, MO, Tara of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Tina of St. Louis, MO; her grandson, Omar of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Five siblings (born to Lillian Sledge), Jean Holman and William Bell of Memphis, TN, Carlene Graham and Wade Sledge of Macon, MS, and Edna Davis of St. Louis, MO; also leaves, siblings born to her father, Sam Williams a multitude of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Order of Service

Processional
Scripture
Prayer…..Rev. Robert Houston
Selection…..Evlean Colyer
Acknowledgment of Expressions of Sympathy…..Tina Gregory
Tribute…..Tina Gregory
Condolences
Selection…..Rev. L.P. Colyer
Obituary (Read Silenty)…..Soft Music
Eulogy…..Reverend E.G. Shields, Sr. Mount Beulah Missionary Baptist Church
Parting View…..Austin A. Layne Mortuary
Benediction
Recessional

PAGE 4

Acknowledgement

The family of Margaret Ruth Gregory wishes to express their gratitude and appreciation for not only this time of need, but for each moment that you have given her and us over the years. Thank you for your expressions of kindness and love offered through cards, floral arrangements, phone calls, visits, and other equally important acts. May God continue to bless each and everyone. ~The Family

Dear Mama,

Are you really gone? It is difficult, at the very least, to believe. You would be overwhelmed at the outpouring of love and support. It equals the love and support you so willingly bestowed upon each of us, day after day. You never complained and you always gave, even if you didn’t have it to give. You were (and still are in our hearts), one of the best people to have graced this earth. Your intelligence, humor, warmth, and beauty are everlasting. Thank you, thank you, thank you. WE LOVE AND MISS YOU ~Billy, Tara, Tina, and Omar

Pallbearers: Family and friends

Interment: Calvary Cemetery

Services entrusted to:
Austin A. Layne Mortuary, Inc.
7239 West Florissant Avenue
St. Louis, Missouri 63136
(314) 381-6900

BURIAL:

Burial Index of Archdiocese of St. Louis, 1700-2010
Inter #: 512253
Cemetery: CALVARY
Name: Margaret R Gregory
M/F: F
Burial date: 4 Nov 2006
Age: 56
Section: 033
Row:
Lot: 0182

Find A Grave Memorial
Name: Margaret Ruth “Reese/Ree” Sledge Gregory
Birth: Feb. 21, 1950
Macon
Noxubee County
Mississippi, USA
Death: Oct. 27, 2006
Florissant
St. Louis County
Missouri, USA
Bio: http://wp.me/p2v72Z-2q
Family links:
Parents:
Sam Williams (1892 – 1979)
Lillian Claudell Sledge (1917 – 2013)
Spouse: Curtis Allen Gregory (1946 – 1994)
Inscription:
Margaret R Gregory
Feb 21, 1950
Oct 27, 2006
Mother of perpetual help pray for us
Note: Age 56
Burial:
Calvary Cemetery and Mausoleum
Saint Louis
St. Louis City
Missouri, USA
Plot: Section 033, Lot 0182
Maintained by: Tara R. Gregory
Originally Created by: T.V.F.T.H.
Record added: May 24, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52805669

SOURCES:

Oral history from Margaret Ruth GREGORY nee SLEDGE and Tara Renee GREGORY

1950 Macon, Noxubee, Mississippi birth certificate –> copy of certified copy of birth record from the personal collection of Tara Renee GREGORY –> State of Mississippi –> State Registrar of Vital Statistics –> Jackson, Mississippi –> 19 March 1968 –> http://www.msdh.state.ms.us/msdhsite/_static/31,0,109.html

1957 Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children –> “Mississippi Enumeration of Educable Children, 1850-1892; 1908-1957”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QK6D-3HRT : accessed 25 September 2015), Margaret Sledge, 1957.

Mississippi Civil Rights Project, History County-By-County –> School Desegregation in Noxubee County –> http://fur.ly/cd57

Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) –> Sovereignty Commission Online –> Sanders, Rev. Benny –> Pages 1-6 –> Elbert Hilliard to MDAH Board, January 24, 1977, Series 1250: Minutes and Related Material, folder “Regular Quarterly Meeting, January 28, 1977,” box 5531, MDAH; Erle Johnston, Mississippi’s Defiant Years, 1953-1973: An Interpretive Documentary with Personal Experiences (Forest, Miss.: Lake Harbor Publishers, 1990), 379-380; Katagiri, The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, 415-418; “Department of Archives and History, Minutes of a Meeting of the Executive Committee Board of Trustees, March 11, 1977,” Series 1250, folder “Executive Committee Meeting, March 11, 1977,” box 5331; Laws of Mississippi, 1977, Chapter 320, 447-448; Clarion-Ledger, January 28, 1977, March 3, 1977, March 7, 1977, March 20, 1977, May 22, 1977; Daily News, January 28, 1977. –> http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/colldesc.php

2006 St. Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri death certificate –> copy of the certified copy of the original from the personal collection of Tara Renee GREGORY –> State of Missouri –> Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services –> Jefferson City, Missouri –> 1 November 2006 –> http://health.mo.gov/data/vitalrecords

2006 Funeral program –> original from the personal collection of Tara Renee GREGORY –> also published in Obituaries at FuneralNet http://bit.ly/zO4MHB

“United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VS9G-G2F : accessed 9 November 2015), Margaret R Gregory, 27 Oct 2006; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).

Burial Index of Archdiocese of St. Louis, 1700-2010 –> Home –> Catholic Cemeteries –> Burial Search –> Calvary –> Lot: 0182 –> http://bit.ly/1aKTgyE

Find A Grave –> Memorial for Margaret Ruth “Reese/Ree” SLEDGE nee GREGORY –> Maintained by TaraG, member #47897707 –> Created by T.V.F.T.H., member #6496806 –> http://bit.ly/MVBVoH

Screen capture of the front of McKinley Elementary School, St. Louis, Missouri (building for grades KG-3 with gym and cafeteria) –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbtd

Screen capture of the side/back of McKinley Elementary School, St. Louis, Missouri (building for grades KG-3 with gym and cafeteria) –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbta

Screen capture of the front of McKinley Elementary School, St. Louis, Missouri (now demolished building for grades 4-6, administration, music and library) –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbti

Screen capture of Simmons-Marshall School on St. Louis Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbtv

Screen capture of 3915 St. Louis Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbty

Screen capture of the front of Charles Henry Turner School, St. Louis, Missouri –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbuk

Screen capture of the side of Charles Henry Turner School, St. Louis, Missouri –> Google Maps –> http://fur.ly/cbum

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TG

Family historian of Broussard, Gregory, Sledge and Williams family tree

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