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Lillie Mae Anderson Ward was born in Elba, AL. Her parents were the late Jake Anderson and Ethel Mae Stinson Anderson. She has one child, a daughter, Dolores. During the time when many African-Americans were not privileged to complete higher education, she persisted against all odds. Education is what she stood for, and that showed through studies from her childhood that began in the public elementary schools of Birmingham, Troy, and Elba, AL. She excelled in spite of the difficult challenges that beset her. Lillie Mae Anderson Ward never let the depression, prejudice, or racism discourage her dreams of pursuing higher education.
Lillie graduated from North Highland High School, Dothan, AL. At that time, North Highland was the Dothan “Colored” High School. She received her B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from Alabama State University and her Master of Education Degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She also received a certificate in math from the University of Detroit. As a public school teacher in New Brockton and Enterprise, Alabama and in Detroit, Michigan, she excelled in creativity and in assessing skills in reading readiness for students. She served as a reading coordinator as well as an elementary school teacher.
Adding to her list of accomplishments, she held many positions and affiliations with several religious and community-based organizations. She was a member of Pleasant Shade Missionary Baptist Church where the Rev. E. Steven Richardson serves as the pastor. She was an assistant teacher for the Adult Ladies Sunday School class. She was a member of the Missionary Ministry. She served as a participant on the Christmas banquet program. She also served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the 2013 “Seven Last Words” presentation at Pleasant Shade. She was instrumental in establishing many new programs such as the “Good Friday” services, the Beautant Pageant, the Baptist Women’s World Day of Prayer. She also taught Bible Study. She served on the Day Care Board at St. Beulah Missionary Baptist Church. She decorated one of the church’s bulletin boards each month. She served on the “Meals on Wheels” Committee. She was active in the Detroit Alumni Associations for both Wayne State University and Alabama State University. She served as chaplain in the Coffee County Alumni Chapter of Alabama State University and also served as president. She was an NAACP Life Member and was a member of the local NAACP Chapter 5017. The local NAACP Chapter 5017 honored her with an “Image Award.” She was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a member of the Semper Fidelis Club, of which she was a founder and served in the past as president, secretary, and chaplain.
Lillie was a member of the AARP. She was a member of the Civitan Club and served that club as chaplain. She served as secretary for the Baptist Hill Community Organization. She was a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Hosannah Chapter #80. She regularly attended the Wiregrass Christian Women’s luncheon. She served as vice-president and chaplain of the local Ladies Aid Missionary Society, #16. She served as Program Coordinator and as chairman of the Missionary Ministry for the Women’s Department of the Salem Enterprise Association. She volunteered at Medical Center Enterprise for more than 20 years. She was a member of “Senior Friends” at Medical Center Enterprise. She was also a member of the Senior Circle. She was a “reader” for the children enrolled in the St. Beulah Day Care Center and for other students enrolled in the Enterprise City School System. She held a Monday morning Bible study/coffee in her home each week. She served as Vacation Bible School Director for several years where she introduced the “shoe box” ministry. This ministry taught all Vacation Bible School students to share gifts with the needy. Each year, the students stuffed shoe boxes with toiletries for the residents of the Enterprise Christian Mission. She volunteered for Gentiva Hospice, and she was a cancer survivor. Her volunteerism and participation in church and community programs were widely extolled in the Coffee County area. Years of hard work for the young and aged earned Ward esteemed recognition as part of her induction into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame in Montgomery, AL. She stated, “I always enjoy helping people—young and old.”
She continued her volunteerism and her participation in outreach programs that transformed the lives of many. This included uplifting and supporting students who planned to advance to higher education.
Lillie was preceded in death by her father, Jake Anderson; her mother, Ethel Mae Stinson Anderson; her brothers, Stinson Jake Anderson and Algie Wolfe Anderson; two of her three sisters, Jimmie Helen McMillan and Carrie Ramona Hardwick. Cherishing her memories and celebrating her life are her daughter, Dolores Simmons; her grandchildren, Tommie Lee Simmons, Jr., Tyran Stephanie Simmons, and Keith McIntyre (Aretha) Simmons; her great-grandchildren, Tashana L. Simmons, Tevin Lee Simmons, Bryan Keith Simmons, and Emily Lewis; her sister, Nellye Jean Anderson; Her nieces, Jemel (Nathaniel) Hatcher, and Denise (Charles) Dotson, and Teeza Anderson; Nephews, Jerry (Nell) McMillan, Ronnie (Bennie) McMillan; Edwin Anderson (Jessica) Hardwick, Roy Anderson, Horace Anderson, and Drexyl Anderson; and special great-nieces and special great-nephews; a devoted cousin, Perry (Ruby) Stinson; and several friends and other Anderson and Stinson relatives.
Mrs. Lillie Mae Anderson Ward made this world a better place. And because of her life and works, this Phenomenal Woman will leave a legacy that will shape lives for generations to come! As she previously stated, “I always enjoy helping people—young and old.” To God be the glory!