On April 19, 1953 in Hale County, Alabama Mr. A.C. and Mrs. Fannie PearlWhitsette welcomed their 6th born – a daughter they named Annie Oneal. They delighted in their sweet, mild mannered child and overtime, she came to be called simply Oneal.
Even though she admitted that she didn’t like to study, she earned stellar marks in school and was eventually awarded a Bachelor’s Degree in Language Arts from Alabama State University. A genuine love for children made her a natural in the teaching profession. She started her career with the Perry County Board of Education as a Librarian in 1979 and there she remained until she retired in 2011 as an Area Reading Coach.
Oneal accepted Christ at an early age. When her parents moved to Perry County, they joined Eagle Grove Missionary Baptist Church. There she was always pleasant and present. She loved her church home and she lived to serve her community.
Enjoying retirement, she was still a worker for our Lord. That was her way to share her love for God and to draw more servants into the pursuit of God’s Kingdom. This she upheld – even after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer in July 2018. Her love to serve, she carried with her on Sunday, April 21st , when God kissed her cheek and whispered into her ear “Well done, my faithful servant”.
She left to be reunited with her parents, A.C. and Fannie Pearl Whitsette and her older sisters Lula B. Anako and Burlia M. Johnson, all of whom made their transitions from Earth before her.
Her physical presence on Earth was felt by many. Her physical absence from Earth will be filled by the legacy she leaves through her work.
She leaves a line of adoring family including her children: Taleka R. Heard and Jesha R. Brown (William Jr. > Fannirah/Jaidyn/Keadyn) of Marion, Alabama, Errol T. Heard (Deborah > Isaac Juwan/T’Errol/Erquasia/Errol II/Nya Simone) of Cincinnati, Ohio, Yconda Vazqueaux (> Aasyah Cymone) of Guntersville, Alabama, Marcus Wilkerson of Chicago, Illinois and Kevin Whitsette of Detroit, Michigan. Her brothers: Tommie (Priscilla) Whitsett, A.C. Whitsette Jr., Willie (Leslie) Whitsett all of Cleveland, Ohio, Elbert (Annette) Johnson of Fort Wayne, Indiana and a sister whose name brought a sparkle to her eye, Fannie Inez Sanders of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She leaves her cherished sister-friends including Barbara J. Howze, Alice F. King, Essie L. King, Edna M. Jones, Rosa M. King, and Willie C. Edwards as well as devoted children she gained by surrogate: Vincent Heard of Marion, Alabama, Essie D. Acevedo of Harker Heights, Texas, and Cathy Rutledge and Kennadi C. Lee, both of Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
An honorable, outstanding and highly regarded member of her church, community and profession, Oneal is eternally beloved and will be sorely missed by a host of colleagues, former students, nieces/nephews, other family and friends.
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