Ruby Lee Berry Simpson

Published 5:05 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Celebration of life services were held on Feb. 23 for Mrs. Ruby Lee Berry Simpson who transitioned to be with the Lord on Feb. 17. Mrs. Berry, who lived to be a glorious 99 years old, was born on Feb. 10, 1917, in Evergreen, Ala., to Gus and Mary Smith Simpson.  She was the third of seven children born to this union.  She received Christ at St. John AME Zion Church in 1925 and was baptized that same year.  She loved singing in the choir all her life and was a faithful participant.

While in Alabama, she married O’Neal Matthews and to this union, two daughters were born.  She was an entrepreneur.  She could make a business out of any project she started. She was a dressmaker and worked relentlessly to make living better for her family.  She enjoyed making beautiful dresses for special occasions, but the economic prospects were better in the north, so she relocated to Detroit, Mich.  There she attended a beauty college and obtained a certificate of cosmetology.  After several years, she followed her older brother and uncle to California.  Using her expert sewing skills, she became owner of her own seamstress shop.  Her work garnered her a job at a major upholstery manufacturer at which she worked until retiring.

Through a mutual friend, she met and married her soul mate, Mr. Alfred L. Berry, in 1966.  They lived in Monrovia, Calif., and attended Second Baptist Church. She was active in the church and with the Rev. James Cleveland Mass Workshop Choir.  She was consecrated a deaconess and was a member of the Anna H. Jones Social Club. Mama Ruby didn’t like cooking. She left the kitchen to others.  Her husband was a professional chef.  After his passing, she relocated back to her hometown of Georgiana, Ala., where she remained active in her church and several activities.  She loved fishing, bowling, walking, recycling cans and paper, and was a past member of the Order of Eastern Stars.

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Mama Ruby loved to travel and she especially enjoyed traveling with family and friends.  Although her physical health was limited, she continued a strong spirit until the end.

Her husband, Alfred Berry; her daughters, Annie Dunwoody and Dorothy Dunston; mother, Mary Simpson; grandchild, Deborah Dunston; great-great-grandchild, Justin Willis, Jr.; and brothers and sisters, Nathaniel, James, Curtis, Willie Allen, Gussie all preceded her in death.

She leaves to cherish her memories, grandsons, Caesar Dunwoody and Terry (Linda) Dunwoody, Detroit; granddaughters, Kim (Willie) Willis, Montgomery, Ala., Devette (Daron) Mack, Greenville, Ala., and Candace (Ezell) Powell, Georgiana, Ala.; brothers, Foster (Alene) Simpson, Akron, Ohio, and Dennis (Janet) Simpson, Georgiana, Ala.; 10 great-grandchildren, six great-great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives and friends.