Mary's Story

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Mrs. Mary H. Stevens Miller was born June 26, 1933 in Baker County, Georgia to the late Mr. Hamp and Mrs. Deose Jennings Hemingway. She was educated in the Lowndes County School System and graduated from Mt. Zion County School. Mary was an active member of the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church.

After graduation, Mary moved to Baltimore, MD where she gave birth to one son, Richard Gilbert Joyner. While they lived in Baltimore, she worked as an Interior Decorator where she met and married the late Major Ernest H. Joyner. She later moved to Germany with Ernest and Richard.

After returning from Germany, Mary and Richard accompanied Major Joyner on assignments in Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio. While Major Joyner served in Vietnam, the family moved back to Valdosta in 1968. After Major Joyner served in Vietnam, he retired from the army, and later passed away from a long illness.

Mary became the first African-American woman EMT at Pineview General Hospital, which later became South Georgia Medical Center, where she worked in various departments. Mary also worked as a substitute teacher in the Valdosta City School System. She helped implement the Lowndes County Migrant Program and worked tirelessly to help many families. Mary served on the Valdosta City School Board.

After the passing of Ernest Joyner, she later married the late Mr. E.B. Stevens who was the founder of Stevens Funeral Home. In 1982, he passed away. After the passing of E.B., Mary became the proud owner of Stevens Funeral Home. She served the community as a caring and compassionate member of the Funeral Service. She had a heart for helping others, especially in their greatest time of need.

Later in life, she met and married Mr. Riley Miller, Jr., whom passed away on January 4, 2017. Mary enjoyed spending time operating her funeral home, shopping at various stores, cooking her dynamic dishes and helping raise children. Mary was always willing to go the extra mile to help anyone.

On Sunday, August 27, 2017 at 8:56 A.M. at the Langdale Hospice House, God plucked from his garden one of his very best flowers. The work was finished but her labor was not in vain.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husbands: Major Ernest H. Joyner, Mr. E.B. Stevens and Mr. Riley Miller, Jr., sisters; brothers; one great grandson: Bryce Christian Joyner.

Mary leaves to celebrate her life and legacy to her children: Richard G. Joyner of Valdosta, GA, Emory Stevens, Eloise Stevens Jones, Charles (Sheilda) Miller of Hephzibah, GA, Sheila Wine of Buffalo, NY, Sharon Miller of Staten Island, NY and Paul Walker of Brooklyn, NY; a very loving and special adopted daughter, Kimberly Dudley, who was always at her side in sickness and health; two loving adopted sons whom she loved dearly, Mr. Jim McGhee, Sr. and Mr. Shaft Martin; one sister: Louvine Wright of Seattle, WA; eleven grandchildren: Edward D. Joyner (Shani) of Valdosta, GA, Rev./Dr. Damon (Michelle) Williams-Miller of Midway, GA, Parrish (Lisa) Miller of Charlotte, NC, Robert Miller and Barry Miller both of Staten Island, NY, Janine G. Walker and Kaleila K. Walker both of Brooklyn, NY, Eugene Wine, Jeffery Wine and Darrell Hall all of Buffalo, NY and Jannifer J. Pelfrey (Donald) of Millen, GA; four loving adopted grandchildren: Delphanie McGhee, Jim McGhee, Jr., Ashley McGhee and Rashodd McGhee; four loving and devoted caretakers: Phyllis Joyce Jackson Twine, Mary Lewis, Kimberly Dudley and Larry Copeland; eighteen great grandchildren; Also a host of godchildren, godsisters, godbrothers, nieces, nephews, cousins, the entire Stevens Funeral Home Staff, and host of very special and loving friends.

A special thanks to Dr. Hernando Moreno, Dr. Eric Anderson, Langdale Hospice House and all Funeral Directors and Morticians for your love and support.

Funeral service will be held on Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 3:00 P.M. at Morning Star Baptist Church, 1051 Howell Road, Valdosta, GA; Dr. William C. Morgan, pastor, Rev. Billy Graham McFadden, officiating. Burial will follow in the Sunset Hill Cemetery. Public viewing will be held on Saturday, September 2, 2017 from 9:00 A.M. until 8:00 P.M. at the funeral home.

Stevens Funeral Home of Valdosta
Published on August 31, 2017
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