Lillie Mae Henderson 81 of Rahway, NJ departed this life on April 3, 2023. A celebration of her wonderful life of service will be held on Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 9:00am at the Second Baptist Church 378 E Milton Ave, Rahway, NJ. Visitation will be held Friday from 6:00 to 8:00pm at the church. Arrangements are in the loving care of the Nesbitt Funeral Home 165 Madison Avenue Elizabeth, NJ.
Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on May 6, 1941, to the late Willie and Mabel Brown. Lillie was the beloved sister of seven brothers: the late Charles, Benny, William, John, Chester, and George—survived by her loving brother Dave.
In 1951, she was baptized and became a member of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. She served as a member of the Nurses Unit, sang in the Gospel Chorus, and participated in the Education/Scholarship committee along with other appointed committees. Lillie also served as advisor of the Youth choir for 12 years.
Lillie received her elementary and high school education from the Woodbridge Township school system and graduated from Woodbridge Vocational and Technical School, where she received a certificate and became licensed as a Practical Nurse.
On July 16, 1961, Reverend Thomas joined her in holy matrimony with Bobby L. Henderson. They were blessed with three beautiful daughters and created a loving legacy for 62 years.
Lillie was employed at the Woodbridge Developmental Center in 1964. She held a variety of positions such as: Licensed Practical Nurse, Head Cottage Training Supervisor and Instructor Counselor. During her time there, she received two awards—Employee of the Year and another commemorating her 35 years of service. In July 2002, Lillie retired after 37 years.
Mrs. Henderson was a community activist, humanitarian, and an advocate for quality education. She was involved in civic organizations that included: The National Council of Negro Women, serving as vice chairperson of the Rahway Community Action Organization (JFK), past presidents of the Rahway Jayceettes (Key Women #80), and the Rahway Board of Education (25+ years of service)—where she was the first black woman elected.
In 1998, Lillie joined Abigail Chapter No. 64 Order of Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation of New Jersey, whereby she served as past worthy matron. She was a coordinator of the Mr. Rogers “Say No” program, and the Rahway Municipal Alliance—where she served as chairperson of the Senior Citizen Luncheon and the Youth Felicities. She extended her dedication as a member of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Trustee of Rahway Foundation of Excellence, and 4th Ward Block Captains’ Association. Lillie knew and proved: SERVICE TO HUMANITY WAS THE BEST WORK OF HER LIFE.
Lillie was a conqueror of breast cancer and after championing illnesses—on April 3, 2023, she won her race and went to be with the Lord at the age of 81.
Lillie was affectionately known as Sista, Mommy, Aunt Mae, and Nannie. She leaves to cherish and honor her husband: Bobby Henderson, daughters: Gwendolyn Mansfield (Sarge), Maureen Daniels (Chip), and Angenette Kelley (Kevin). Grandchildren: Tiffany, Jamarr, Dionna, Niara, and Layla Jade. Great grandchildren: Jackson, Madison, Darius Junior, and Noire. Brother, Councilman David Brown, Brother-in-Law—James Henderson, and Sister friend—Eunice Taylor, along with a host of Nieces, Nephews, loving family members, friends, and community members.
Lillie stood firm in this belief:
“May the work I’ve done speak for me.”
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