She was born on Dec. 5, 1932, to the late Spencer Bailey and Vanilla Dawson in Brownsville community (Camden County). Ms. Rosa, who was also known among the family and community as “Evylena,” received her education from Fernandina Beach Adult Education School, where she received her high school diploma/GED equivalent in June 1969 and furthered her education at Edward Waters College, where she received her bachelor’s degree and went on to earn her master’s degree from Nova University in education.
Ms. Rosa was a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She was employed as a bus driver and a teacher’s aide, but her first years as an educator were spent at the Charlton County Board of Education, and she later retired from Camden County Board of Education after 23 years of service.
Rosa was an active member of Evergreen Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Leon Washington where she served in various capacities stemming from the deaconess board, choir member, church secretary, Sunday school teacher, bible study scholar and chairperson of the Young at Heart organization and the youth department. Rosa enjoyed praising and serving the Lord first and foremost.
Her hobbies included sewing, traveling and spending quality time with her family and friends. She was a happy, kind and loving spirit that will be sorely missed among her family and community in its entirety. Rosa was preceded in death by both parents, Spencer and Vanilla Bailey; her stepfather, Willie Butler; her first husband, Deacon Walter L. Way; and her sister, Thelma Robinson.
Survivors include her loving and devoted husband, Deacon Wilber Smith of Kingsland; three daughters, Deborah Johnson (Robert) of Eastman, Phyllis Dunham (Anthony) of Woodbine, and Fern Currin (Carl) of Brunswick; three sons, Terry Way (Catha) of Kingsland, Walter LaShan Way (Vivian) of Huntsville, Ala., and Christopher Way (Angela) of Brunswick; three stepdaughters, Gloria A. Wesley (Earnest) of Folkston, Karil “Lafayne” Brockington (Don) of Lakeland, and Bettyanne Humphries (Donnie) of Hilliard, Fla.; three stepsons, John Earl Smith (Sheila) of Folkston, Dennis Smith (Cassandra) of Jacksonville, Fla., and William C. Smith (Patricia) of Folkston; a sister, Florene Johnson of Kingsland; six sisters-in-law, Ruth Morris of Kingsland, Celia Maynor of Folkston, Minnie Benefield (Henry) of Folkston, Gloria Nicholson of Seattle, Bessie Robinson (Carl) of Stafford, Va., and Nariene Lyvette Bryant of Jacksonville, Fla.; one brother-in-law, Richard G. Gordon of Jacksonville, Fla.; 26 grandchildren and a host of great-grandchildren as well as nieces, nephews, godchildren and cousins; and close friends, Ada Bryant, Betty Robinson, Betty Roberts and Marian Baker.
There will not be a wake/visitation. Remains will lie in state from noon until the time of service on Saturday.
Funeral services will be held at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 12, 2014, at Evergreen Baptist Church, Kinlaw Road, Kingsland. Interment will be in Kinlaw Cemetery.
Final arrangements entrusted to Royal Funeral Home, Inc. of Jesup.