The obituary of Odelle Whitehead Barnes, age 99.

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Funeral service for Mrs. Odelle Whitehead Barnes, age 99, of Detroit, MI, formerly of Wilson, who died Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, will be held Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, at 11 am at Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, 571 East Nash St., Wilson. The Rev. Dr. Freddie I. Barnes will officiate. Interment will follow in Rest Haven Cemetery.

Odelle was the fourth child of John Henry and Victoria Whitehead. She spent her formative years in Wilson where she attended and graduated from Wilson Colored High School (Darden High School). After graduating from high school, Odelle attended North Carolina College (NCCU) where she later graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA Degree in English. Later she enrolled in the University of Michigan where she earned an MA Degree in Speech Therapy. She was the first speech therapist for Wilson City School System. It was from this position that she retired.

On July 12, 1937, Odelle married Edward M. Barnes. They were married for sixty-five years.

Odelle was a life-long member of Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church where she served as president of the Nannie Barbour/Nancy Wilkins Missionary Circle; a Sunday School teacher, a Deaconess, as one of the founding members of the Fellowship Club, chair of the Board of Christian Education, a member of the Scholarship Committee and a member of three search committees.

Odelle’s community involvement included being a charter member of Alpha Chi Chapter and Gamma Beta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Her memory is cherished by her daughter, Carolyn Kent; two grandsons, George Howard (Janet) and Edward Barnes Kent; five great grandchildren; two sisters, Grace W. Artis and Victoria W. McCray; two brothers-in-law, Wilford McCray and Douglas Parks; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A viewing will be held Friday from 4 pm to 5 pm at Carrons Funeral Home. The family will receive friends at Jackson Chapel Church from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. They will receive freinds at other times at 2300 Tranquil Dr., Wilson, and will assemble there one hour prior to service in preparation for the funeral procession.


In the 1920 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, Henry Whitehead, 48, wife Victoria, 32, and children Willie, 27, Della Mae, 13, Catherine, 9, Odell, 7, James, 5, Grace, 2, and Rosalie, 1.

In the 1930 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Highway 91, oil mill contractor Henry Whitehead, 53; wife Victoria, 42; Katherine, 19; Odell, 17; James, 15; Grace, 13; Rosalyn, 11; Herbert, 9; Gertrude, 6; Mabel, 4; and Victoria, 2.

On 12 July 1937, Odell Whitehead, 25, married Edward M. Barnes, 32, in Wake County.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: high school principal Edward M. Barnes, 34, and wife Odell, 28, a teacher.

In 1940, Edward Morrison Barnes registered for the World War II draft in Wilson. Per his registration card, he was born 9 June 1905 in Wilson; resided at 913 East Green Street; was married to Odell Whitehead Barnes; and employed by the City Board of Education.

Obituary online.


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