Elex Lee and Thelma Arrington gifted the world with the birth of Jessie Mae Arrington on December 29, 1940, in Rich Square, North Carolina. When she was of an early age, the family relocated to New York City, and subsequently moved from Harlem to Queens in 1951. She later attended Mount Olivet Baptist Church and Southern Baptist Church,respectively, under the tutelage of Reverend Rivers Kirkland. She matriculated through the New York Public School System,graduating from Newtown High School in 1958. Upon graduating, Jessie began her illustrious career in banking at Chemical Bank in New York City, where she served in various capacities over a 30-year span.
Ascending to the position of Vice President of Urban Affairs, Jessie received many community service awards and accolades, amongst them : the Friends of the Arts Award from The Borough President of Queens, the Miller High Life Community Service Award, recognition from the Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center in appreciation of generosity; as well as an appointment to a New York City Commission on the Status of Women, where she helped to carry out the mandate to improve the status of all women in NYC.
Affectionately referred as “Jessie Mae” by her family, Jessiewas known as a” renaissance woman”, possessing an array of talents and competencies. She was a daughter, mother, sister, niece, cousin and friend, known for her big smile, loving heart for her family and her generous spirit that served as a supportsystem to many. Furthering her education, she attended Queens Community College; a lifelong learner studying law and medical transcription. Additionally, she served as mentor, confidant, and advisor to a multitude of family and friends, offering knowledgeable counsel and sound advice, in an array ofareas of need. So many within her family and community sought her counsel and benefited from her knowledge.
Jessie was an accomplished performer, and a great connoisseur of all musical forms. As she stated recently,” Without music…there is no life.” This musical passion nurtured the development of her melodic and steady alto voice, starting with the Southern Baptist Choir and culminating with aperformance at New York City’s Carnegie Hall as a member of the United Negro College Fund Choir. However, the real display of pure musical bliss was when she closed her eyes and swayed while singing Billie Holiday’s “Glad To Be Unhappy” with her brother Billy, as they reminisced about the past. More recently, her preferred artists included: Gregory Porter and Phyllis Hyman, as well as her favorite gospel classic byReverend Paul Jones, “I Won’t Complain.” For Jessie, musicwas a stabilizing and nourishing force, and a true gift from God.
Jessie’s other passions included: traveling the beaches of the world( particularly Aruba, and Bermuda); bargain shopping for quality finds; gardening; and baking her delicious apple pie or preparing her famous lasagna dish. Jessie’s most prized pleasure was spending quality time with her grandchildren, who gravitated toward her magnetic and infectious energy, congregating at her feet for her no- bones quick humor, wit,clever remarks and sound advice. Her grandchildren wereindeed her precious jewels.
Most importantly, Jessie was a woman of faith, and would often be found reading the Bible and devotional materials with her rosery beads in hand. She was a biblical scholar, researching and being open to Jesus’ love through many denominations. In recent years, she supported the Catholic Relief Services, to which she gave generously to children in need, as well as Reid Temple Church in Bowie, MD, where she contributed consistently.
Jessie Mae Medlock is preceded in death by parents Elex Lee and Thelma Arrington , and her sister Delores Arrington. To mourn her passing, she leaves daughters, Monique D. Cable and April K. Archie, son in laws John Cable Jr. and Jemaine Archie, sisters Marion Ruff, Wendy Arrington-Issacs , brothers: Alex Arrington and William( “Billye “, and sister-in-law Brenda Arrington ) , 6 grandchildren : Dylon Maurice Ross II, Mandela Arrington Ross, Arriana Abdur-Rahim, McKenzie Archie, John Cable III, Talese Archie ;nephews: Michael Arrington-Puertas , Wayne (Anthony) Ruff, Paul Ruff Sr. , Rolf Dayal , Alwyn Issacs, Kevin Arrington, Brendon Arrington, and niece: Adrienne Everett, as well as a host of family and friends.
Isaiah 40:31 states, “ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ; they shall mount up with wings as eagles;they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”. Jessie is now taking flight with the Lord! We are saddened by our loss, but we take refuge and believe in the fact that she now rests in the bosom of God. May she rest in peace.
Respectfully submitted by the Family
In lieu of flowers or monetary gifts to family, we request that gifts be given in the form of donations to The Susan G. Komen Foundation to assist in the fight against Breast Cancer. Please note the following ways to donate:
• By Phone: Please call (877)465-6636. Please choose Option 3 for assistance
• Online: Please visit www.komen.org
• By Mail: Please mail your donations to Susan G Komen P.O. Box 801889 Dallas, TX 75380
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