Mrs. Johnnie Mae Huff Gilbert passed away peacefully on January 2, 2013 at the Pine Nursing Home in Poughkeepsie, New York. She was the fourth of eleven children born to William and Bertha Huff in Woodland, Georgia on September 23, 1914.
She attended school in Woodland, GA and in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937, she married Willie Ray Gilbert and moved to Manchester, Georgia. They spent fifty years together raising their children and participating in the community. She enjoyed attending all the churches in the area but was especially dedicated to Concord Baptist where she was a member for over eighty years. Valley Grove Baptist Church also held a special place in her heart. She loved cooking, canning, gardening and being involved with the school attended by her daughters. Her membership in the Willing Workers Club provided the opportunity to support volunteer efforts in the community.
Johnnie Mae was a quiet leader who took joy in serving others. If a neighbor or friend was ill, she was among the first to visit and try to relieve their suffering. When asked by others to describe Johnnie or "Ainee", as she was affectionately known, the words most frequently used are: devoted wife, world's greatest mom and grandmother, wise person, a loyal friend, a loving and beautiful spirit, a lady with style, a mentor, devoted friend and confidant, and a God fearing woman. Her faith was strong; she believed that when her journey on earth ended, she would have a place in her Father's Kingdom.
During her 98 years, Johnnie Mae touched the lives of many people in Manchester, GA and in Poughkeepsie, NY where she lived with her daughter, Ophelia, when she was no longer able to live independently.
She lives on in the hearts of those who love her dearly; her children Ophelia G. Richards and husband James E. Richards, Beverly G. Bass and husband James I. Bass, Ray Gilbert Jr. and wife Ruth. Her sister-in-law Sarah Huff, eight grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and friends. The attention of these loved ones brought so much joy. Gertrude Huff, William and Jean Huff made it possible for her to live independently a long time. While living away from Maanchester for ten years, family, friends and church members stayed in touch with visits, telephone calls, cards and letters which she greatly appreciated.