Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She stretched out her hand to the poor;yea she reached forth her hands to the needy. Her children/grandchildren, greatgrandchildren, godchildren arise up, and call her blessed, her husband also and he praiseth her.
Proverbs31:10, 11, 20, 28
A Time to Celebrate
On November 16th, 1947, a beautiful baby girl was born to the Late Sophia and Livingston Rolle and was given the name “Shirley Mae”. Shirley Mae was the sixth child of that union. She was raised in the settlement called The Bluff, South Andros and attended the Long Bay Cays All Age School.
A Time to Love
At the age of 20, Shirley Mae met a strong, handsome gentleman by the name of Charles Johnson from the settlement of High Rock, South Andros. Charles fell deeply in love with Shirley and he made the decision to write a letter to her mother Sophia Rolle asking for permission for her daughter’s hand in marriage. The letter was hand delivered by his mother, the Late Prudence Johnson. He was full of excitement and butterflies as he waited anxiously for a response. A few weeks later, he received a letter from Sophia Rolle giving him permission to marry Shirley Mae.
A Union Full of Blessings
On August 18th, 1967, Charles and Shirley Mae were wed in Nassau at Zion Baptist Church, East and Shirley Street. Fort Fincastle was where their lives began as a married Couple. In 1969, they decided to move back to High Rock, South Andros. During the ensuing years, Shirley and Charles had 12 beautiful children. This blessed 53 year union of love was also extended to their beloved children and grandchildren.
A Time to Live
Shirley was not only Charles’ better half, but an impeccable wife, mother and very industrious woman. During her husband’s absence to work as a chef on a cruise ship, Shirley also was a chef at the Las Palmas Hotel. It was there where she had the privilege to cook for the late Sir Lynden Oscar Pindling and his wife Marguerite Pindling, their favourite dish of peas and grits with coconut milk and steamed grouper. Shirley’s love for cooking led to she and her husband opening their own restaurant called CJ’s Restaurant. When she was not being a chef, Shirley was in her garden and in the field. She would also go rock fishing or catching crab with her husband to help support her family. Shirley’s favourite hobby was traveling, shopping and watching television with her family. We will certainly miss those family cruises together. Even during vacations she loved to work, and was a firm believer that “Idle hands were the devil’s work tools!” Shirley was also a member of the South Andros Mothers’ Club and Handicraft Manufacturers’ Association. She skillfully crafted themost beautiful shell and bead jewelry, straw bags and portfolios.
A Union with God
Shirley was a prayer warrior and woke her entire household at 5 a.m every morning to pray before work started for the day. She also believed that you had to have potato bread, cassava bread, pumpkin bread and flour bread along with stew fish every Sunda ymorning. She would send one of her children to take bread throughout High Rock, making sure that the neighbors got piece. This God fearing woman was the pillar of strength to Charles, their children and the entire Community of High Rock South Andros. Strong women of God like the late Vera Bethel and Glendina Knowles embraced her as their daughter and taught her the way of life and about God andthe church. She leaned on their shoulders for guidance. Shirley took all of these lessons and embraced the calling of God on her life by becoming a Deaconess. She was crowned as Deaconess of Zion Baptist Church 1996, by Bishop Samuel Green at Nazarene Baptist Church, The Bluff, South Andros, during the District Convention. She has worked faithfully in the Ministry, and has helped and fed many people throughout the community of South Andros. As part of The Zion Baptist Convention, many times the Convention was hosted at Upper Zion and she would make sure that all of the out-of-town guests felt welcomed and had a warm place to stay. Later, the baton was passed down from Pastor Emeritus Glendina Knowles, and Shirley was ordained by Bishop B. Wenith Davis at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Victoria Point, Mangrove Cay as Pastor on February 12th, 2012. The Convention’s theme was, “A God of more than enough”. During her time as Pastor at the Upper Zion Baptist Church in High Rock, Shirley remodelled the entire church, changing the roof, ceiling, windows and doors. She also installed aircondition units, changed the carpet and re-tiled the floors. Shirley also had the pleasure of adding new instruments such as the piano and drum set. Approximately two weeks before she was admitted to hospital, her last project was to build a rump for disabled persons that wanted to attend service.
A Time to Die
On Sunday, January 17th, 2021, Pastor Shirley Johnson preached at St. Matthew’s Church in Congo Town, from 2 Kings 4 verses 8 - 37. At the end the sermon, she said: “This might be my last sermon and if you never hear my voice again, meet me in glory.” She also acknowledged that some of her children were with her to church on that day.
On Sunday, January 24th, 2021 ,Pastor Shirley Johnson preached her last sermon from Jonah 1:1-17. Before she preached, she sang one of her favorite songs, “My Jesus I Love Thee”. Her message to the congregation was, “When God sends you to take a message, He would find you no matter how you hide”. After preaching, Shirley stated, “If you don’t hear my voice in this church again, take care and carry on the work”. After service, Shirley went home to have Sunday dinner with her family. Around 6 p.m that evening while resting, Shirley had a stroke and her husband found her unresponsive. She was then rushed to the Miriam Green Health Community Centre in Kemp’s Bay, where she was attended to by Dr. Hanna and Nurse Val Rahming. At 9:45 p.m, she was air lifted to Nassau and admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital until her demise. On February 15th, 2021 at 4:29 a.m, Shirley took the early morning train home to glory. She has left a legacy for all of her children to follow. Let us be reminded of Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Cry but cry with hope knowing that we would see our mother again.
There were times when she would say, “Charles took me to the altar, but Jesus will take me to my Father!”
We truly thank Godfor granting Shirley Mae 73 blessed years. May her dear soul rest in peace.
Left to cherish her memories are her:
Loving and Devoted Husband: Charles Johnson
Children: Nurse Charlene Smith (California), Maria Johnson & Morazan Zuniga Jackson, Margarita & Herbert Duncombe, Melony & Malary Greene, Pastor-Elect Janet & Derick Burrows, Livingston Johnson, Allison Johnson, Maurice Johnson, Wayden Johnson, Roschell Johnson, Dr. Dennis & Natasha Hill Johnson (Connecticut) & Maureen Johnson.
Grandchildren: Sherketter & Arthur Amboree (Texas), Chitara, Nurse Shakanta Johnson & Shatiqua Johnson, Hubert & Ashley, Herbert, Cyntishe, Herberto & Jazmyne, Precious & Tamara Duncombe, Marine Seaman Malary Greene Jr, Marlin, & Malson Greene, Decordray & Sharia & Cordero Burrows, Livingston’yah, Milagros & Mattanyah Johnson, Tonique Thompson, Ianne Taylor, Brandon Tinker, Jordan & Huqell Johnson, Devard & Whitney Demeritte, Joshua, Benjamin & Aerial Johnson & Christopher Roberts.
Great Grandchildren: Burgwyn & Avianna Joyner, Arthur Jr, Ezekiel & Analicia Amboree (Texas), Carlia Saunders, Jaylyn Daxon, D’marjio, Tiana, Huberto Jr., Hailey, Huniquea, KyMarley, Jasmin & Herbert Duncombe Jr, Cy’nari Taylor & Brina Capron.
Sister: Elizabeth Rolle.
Brothers: Earlin (Gwendolyn), Cordnell (Mella), Zebedee (Zovier), Arlington Sr. & Reserve ASP Anthram (Angela) Rolle.
Sisters-in-law: Ethlyn Rolle, Erma Minns (Charles), Olgamae, Delrina & Hilda Johnson.
Brothers-in-law: Reverend Moses Ferguson, Edwin Johnson & Simeon Thompson Sr.
Numerous Nieces & Nephews including: Simeon Thompson Jr, Giovanni, Allan, Alvin & Antonio Rolle, Gregory, Sterling & PC292 Joseph Ferguson, Vincent, Roland, Kennis, Harvey & Javon Johnson, Deon & Keno Smith, Ricardo, Deran & Shawn Minns, D/Cpl 3457 Corriana Mitchell Greene, Samina Castillo, Tezza and Semone Thompson, Starettha Ferguson (Ft. Lauderdale), Sonia Ferguson, Carnell Francis, Daphne, Tezel & Shornel Smith, Shavough Myree, Nicquel Minns, Kim & Vincent Johnson, KrystalJohnson, Shantel Rolle, Verneka Taylor, Sophia & Robert Marshall (Japan),Desrean Rolle (Canada), Denise & Trevor Austin, ASP Kenton & Maria Rolle (Abaco), Dr. Haven & Debbie Rolle, Julian, Patrick, Linda, Terrance & Bernadette, Adrian, Owen & Arlene Rolle, Roxanne & Ryan Strachan, Cherene Smith, Patricia Williams, Hilderine Wright, Carmel Smith Rolle, Melrese Smith, Christa Williams, ASP Antania Rolle Taylor, Prenell Evans, Hermia Sands, Melony Hodgkins, Mordinna Ferguson, Kizzie Brown, Nicola Adderley, Alvaughn Rolle, Quintin & Vehavilyn Ferguson, Cortez Rolle, Al-zebedee, Moses Jr. & Melkeva Ferguson, Dave Smith, Garvin, Kaden, Lavardo, Dwayne, Minister Norward & Pastor Fairdale Smith, Richard Wright, Reginald Williams, Cpl 3015 Alfredo Rolle, Arlington Rolle Jr., Niquille Brown, Freddie Evans, Yorick Sands, Terry Hodgkins, Kendal Williamson, Zesarae Rolle (New York), Sherell Johnson, Jackie Minns, Nurse Brendamae Smith, Judy Smith, Denise Carey, Rochelle Sawyer, Arizona Rolle, Kaynell Williams, Lastisha, Georgimae, Marcia, Rondell & Nurse Curissa Smith, Monique Ferguson.
Godchildren: Christine McKinney, Craven & Roneil Lewis.
Childhood Friend: Malvease Moxey
Other Relatives and friends including: Pastor Glendina Knowles & The Upper Zion Baptist Church Family of High Rock, South Andros, Bishop B. Wenith Davis & Pastor Ismae Davis & The Zion Boulevard Church Family, Rev. Dr. Wilton Strachan, Rev. Moses Pennerman, Pastor Charles & Sandra Dorsett, Pastor Joseph & Debbie Brown, Pastor Jeffrey Kikivarakis, Pastor Elijah Ferguson, Pastor Eulilee Gibson, Pastor Joyce & Orthneil Lewis, Pastor Barbara Burrows, Pastor Catherine Nairn, Pastor James & Mary Pratt, Deacon Massie Pennerman, Pastor Vanda Rahming, Pastor Wilfred & Saydie Bastian, Chief Apostle Leon Wallace & The Voice of Deliverance Disciple Center Ministries Church Family, Pastor Kevin Harris & The Charisma Church Family, Minister Tarell Swain, Hon. Picewell Forbes, Dorrie Cash, Julia Hanna, Blooming Neely, Gregory Knowles, Rebecca Sweeting, Malinda Pratt, Perlissa Monroe, Nurse Valdamae Rahming, Almonica Williamson, Sanfred & Herman Rolle, Maureen Edwards, Henry & Rayanna Bain, Christine Green (Beedie), Lydia Adderley, Sandra Coleby, Martha Ferguson, Michael Adderley, Brenda Freckleton, Carl Kemp, Sidney Knowles, Nathalie Bailey, Deborah Demeritte, Judy Rolle, Jenny Neely, Lashanda Liriano, Lelia Roxbury, Renia Rolle, Geneva Pinder, Brenda Henfield, Dorene Ferguson, Glenn & Yasmin Johnson, Rosa Johnson, Jackie Ferguson Hanna, Lasada & James Moxey, Feness McKinney, Alice Edwards, Lucille, Myrtle & Frank Andrews, Helena Rolle, George McKinney, Eureka Coleby, Betty Hanna, Gladys Saunders, Ethiene Woodside, Bellamae Saunders, Mildred & Lillith Burrows, Delereese Bartlett, Lighty Adderley, Elaine Forbes, Stacey Adderley, Angela Gaitor, Doris Kemp, Curlene Brown, Christine Nottage, Maxine Rolle, Mavis Knowles, Lenora Coakley, Michael & Myrtle Thompson, Christine McKinney, Sharon Andrews, Malvina Wallace, Maislen Demeritte, Linda Thompson, Ian Taylor, Ruthlee Munroe, Latoya Neely, Bryan Tinker, Hardy, Ray & Norman McKinney, Annabel Davis, Alton, Wilfred, Clyde Rolle & Century Rolle, Marilyn Forbes, Julia Knowles, Joshua (Pool) & Ethlyn Johnson, Beryl, Mable, Arabella & Magnolia Rolle, Lucine Darcy, Gercle Miller, Wencil & Pearl McKinney, Paula Lee, Roland Solomon, Tracy & Ruth Knowles, Jack Andrews, Maxwell Smith, Bessie, Eunice, Constance & Conard Bethell, Burnt and Annis Ferguson, Danrea and Scott Davis, Shantell and Adrian Miller, Vernitta Hanna, Hessiemae Bethel, Annie Horton, Ruth Vincent, Walton Rolle, Virginia Mott, Elon Rolle, Ellamae, Estella & Noralee Bain, Princess Johnson & Family, Eureka, George & Dorothy McKinney, Eulease Spencer, Maxine Betty, Doretha Laing, Desilee Bandy, P.N.O. Cheryl Bain, Ezekiel, Clarence Bain, Dorothy Smith, Preston Johnson, Wayde & Deborah Forbes, Erica Smith, Theophilus Rolle, Susan Kemp, Darrel & Lisa Miller, Nigel Evans, Monique & Sophia Smith, Walter & Deborah Demeritte, Rithmond McKinney & Family, Norwood Rahming, Vicky Johnson, Margo Jarrett, Cpl 490 Freddie Mackey, Barbara McKinney, Melissa Ferguson, The Rolle, Kemp, Smith, McKinney & Johnson Families; The Staff of South Andros Senior High School & D.W. Davis Junior High School, Dominos Pizza Mall at Marathon & Blue Hill Road, The Department of Agriculture Gladstone Road Agricultural Center Administration Office, The Bahamas Feeding Network, Mr. Smith & Ms. Scully, The South Andros’ Handicraft Manufacturers’ Association, The communities of High Rock, Mangrove Cay and the Bluff, South Andros. Other relatives and friends too numerous to mention. If we inadvertently did not include your name, we do apologize.
Special thanks to The Zion on the Boulevard Church Family, Keishawn Brown & Dr. Kenville Lockhart, Nurses Samantha Bain & Travonya Bridgewater, Dr. Hanna, Nurse Val Rahming, the Medical Staff of Miriam Green Community Health Center, Andros and the staff of Female Medical II at the Princess Margaret Hospital.