Lela Pearl Southall, 81, of St. Marys slipped quietly and peacefully away to a better and more beautiful home on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, surrounded by her family.
On Dec. 8, 1934, God allowed a very special child, Lela Pearl Neeley, to be birthed into this world in Lyons to her proud biological parents, Isaac Neeley and Leila Pearl Mincey-Neeley. Lela Pearl was delivered by her own grandmother/midwife, Julia Ann Mincey. Isaac and Leila Neeley had the pleasure of caring and loving Lela Pearl for four years prior to both of them being called home to be with the Lord.
At the age of 5, Lela Pearl was adopted by her aunt and uncle, the late Mettie Pearl and Deacon Sydney Kirby, who she affectionately called Mom and Dad. Mettie Pearl and Sydney never had any biological children of their own. Lela Pearl was educated in the public schools of Toombs County and attended Savannah State College.
On July 19, 1952, Lela Pearl Neeley-Kirby married the late Amos Lee Southall Sr. and to this union they were blessed with 12 children, six sons and six daughters.
Preceding her in death were her husband; both biological and adopted parents; one sister, Julia Butler; and one son, John Fitzgerald Southall.
Lela Pearl was a faithful member of Wheeler Street Church of God under the leadership of Bishop Verdell Griffin Sr. Lela Pearl was ordained as mother of WSCOG under his leadership. In 2010, Mother Lela Pearl moved her membership to Inner City Church of God, under the leadership of Bishop John Burroughs, her son-in-law, where she was active and faithful in attending until her health begin to deteriorate.
Loving memories of Mother Lela Pearl will be cherished by her 11 devoted children, five sons, George Kirby Sr. of Phoenix, Ariz., Herman Southall of Mobile, Ala., Amos Jr., George William and Gregory Southall of St. Marys; six daughters, Lynette (Bishop John) Burroughs of Kingsland, Janice Southall (Dr. Jerome Goodwin) of Jacksonville, Fla., Linda (Deacon Jerry) Mathis of St. Marys, Felecia (Drexel) Morris of Kingsland, Charmaye (Lewis) Hamilton of St. Marys and Andrea (Deacon Johnny) Simon of St. Marys; 48 grandchildren; 43 great-grandchildren; nine great-great-grandchildren; one brother, Jural (Doris) Butler of Maryland; one sister, Willie Mae Neeley of Lynwood, Calif.; and a brother-in-law, Herman (Bobby) Southall of Lake Wales, Fla.
Mother Lela Pearl had many loving and caring family and friends. Special devoted primary caretakers were Amos Jr. and George William Southall; Camden Primary Care special caring physician Dr. Thomas Whitesell, nurse Jackie Howard and front desk attendant Ms. Shekelia Wright; special neighbors, Mrs. Hattie Lee Wilson and Mrs. Gladys Ford; and a host of other nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held at noon Saturday, Nov. 5, at Wheeler Street Church of God in St. Marys. Interment was in Oak Grove Cemetery.
Sunset Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.