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Gaynelle PoteatMarch 11, 1927 ~ September 9, 2017 (age 90)
Goldsboro - Mrs. Gaynelle E. Poteat, 90 of 1209 S. Porter St. went from labor to reward on Saturday, September 9, 2017 at her residence surrounded by her loving family.
She was born to the late William Henry Edward and Idora Swinson Edwards on March 11, 1927, in Greene County North Carolina and was married to the late Wright Raiford Jr. and the late Lionel Poteat.
Gaynelle accepted Christ into her life at an early age, and was a lifelong member of Invitation African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. She was a dedicated member and leader serving her church in various capacities, up until her death. Throughout her service, she held the following positions: Choir Member, Sunday School Teacher, Stewardess Board Member, Class Leader, Vacation Bible School Director and Teacher, Family and Friends Day Chairperson, Church Anniversary Chairperson, Treasurer of the Trustee Board, Christian Education Director, and Lay Council Director. She was consecrated as a Deaconess. In this role, she would visit and pray with many of the members that were sick and shut-in. She would take gifts during holidays, and assisted the pastors with communion.
Her service was not limited to her home church. She served as Christian Education Director for the Wilson District, the Cape Fear Conference and the Eastern North Carolina Episcopal District. At one point, she held all three positions at the same time. During her time as Director of Christian Education for the Wilson District, a scholarship was created for a deserving high school graduate. She always had a heart for the younger generation, and how to help them succeed. This scholarship is currently being renamed as the “Poteat-Frasier-Paige Scholarship”. While serving as Conference and Episcopal Director she regularly attended the VICYC Mid-Winter meetings, faithfully, for over 30 years. She traveled across the state, country, and internationally to serve Zion. She was an active participant and supporter of every department in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
Recognizing that service was also needed in her community, she was an active member of many civic and community organizations. These include the North Carolina Association of Educators, Retired Teachers Association, Children’s’ Hospital of Eastern North Carolina, National Association of for the Advancement of Colored People, Wayne Democratic Women, Winston-Salem State University Alumni, and the South Greene Alumni Association. She was also on the steering committee of the Shaw Speaks Child Development Center, Incorporated. She energetically volunteered with Voter Registration and was a poll worker. She actively participated with the Darden Chapel O.F.W.B Church Women of Glory retreat. Additionally, she was a proud member of the Goldsboro Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, initiated in 1993. Within her beloved “DST”, she served on many committees and community service projects.
Gaynelle lived a life full of love, fun, and laughter. Good times and good food were sure to be shared while either hosting Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Family Reunions at her home. She enjoyed every moment that her family gathered together from near and far. For over 50 years, the “Les Soeurs Club” met regularly to enjoy the strong sisterhood bond that was created. They went on many long-distance trips, creating memories that they will cherish forever. One of Gaynelle’s favorite pastimes was taking care of her beloved garden and yard. She spent countless hours, growing her own fruits and vegetables, and manicuring her flowers and plants. Not only did she enjoy playing in the soil, she enjoyed fishing on the shore and in the boat. She looked forward to the fishing trips with her niece Deanna and nephew Walt. You could also find her early in the morning, regularly, walking her two and one-half miles with her neighbors. She was an avid supporter of her grandchildren and excitedly attended dance recitals, football and basketball games, track meets, as well as many other activities. She also enjoyed watching football, especially the Dallas Cowboys.
By the Hand of an Almighty and all wise God, and in accordance with an unscheduled divine appointment, Gaynelle began her rest on Saturday, September 9, 2017. While we mourn her departure, we know that she will live on in spirit through all of us. This then is the legacy of Willie Gaynelle Edwards Raiford Poteat.
She leaves to cherish her love and legacy to daughters, Lisa Taylor (Stevie) of Goldsboro, NC, Regina Poteat of Upper Marlboro, MD, Arnya Fennell of Garland, NC, and Sadie Simmons (Milton) of Goldsboro, NC;grandchildren, Stephany Taylor of Durham, NC, Trevor Taylor and Justin Taylor of Goldsboro, NC, Arian Fennell of Washington, DC, Alexis Fennell of Mitchellville, MD, Michael Poteat of Upper Marlboro, MD, Matthew Simmons of Goldsboro, NC, Sterling Simmons and Alexis Brinson both of Greensboro, NC; two brothers, Leslie (Sarah) Edwards of Edison, NJ and Leon (Jean) Edwards of Clinton, MD ; two sisters, Jean Rodgers of Virginia Beach, VA and Bettie Brinson of Goldboro, NC ; brother-in-law, Henry McCown of Charlotte, NC; sister-in-law, Geraldine Edwards of Goldsboro, NC. A host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
In addition to her parents and husbands, she has been reunited with her son, Wright L. Raiford and siblings, Glaston Edwards, Linwood F. Edwards, Dorothy McCown, Selma O'pharrow, Glennie Simms and Ruby Scott.