Emma Council, affectionately known as “Granny,” 93, went to be with the Lord on Thursday, March 15, 2012 in Chesapeake, VA, with her loving family by her side. Born on March 31, 1918, in Glenn, GA, she was the daughter of the late James and LuDella Brewer Mullins. Emma received her education in the public schools of Glenn, GA, and was an active member of State Line Baptist Church in Heard County, GA.
She worked in Food Services with The Department of Defense at the Pentagon after migrating to Arlington, VA, and later served as a private caretaker for several families in Northern Virginia. An ardent prayer warrior, she was an active member of the Kemper Road Church of God in Arlington, VA, which originated on Lincoln Street in the home of her late uncle and aunt, Clarence and Willy Mullins. At the Kemper Road Church of God, she served as a trustee and Assistant Pastor to Rev. Letitia O. Jones. She later moved to Fairfax, VA, where she lived with her daughter Alice and family and joined the Way of Faith Assembly of God pastored by Rev. Ellen Blackwell. They relocated to Springfield, MO, and for 4 years were actively affiliated with Praise Assembly of God, which was pastored by Rev. Billy Burris, before returning to Virginia in 1998 and becoming members of the Congregational Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church in Chesapeake, VA, currently pastored by Rev. Dave Lestik.
Wherever she lived, she planted flowers and gardens. She was known for her vibrant, gigantic hibiscus. A farmer’s daughter, she loved gardening and sharing the beauty of her flowers and vegetables with many neighbors and church friends. She was chef in her kitchen as she prepared and unselfishly shared the delights of her produce. In addition to gardening and farming, she enjoyed baking homemade rolls, cobblers, and pies; styling in her many designer hats on Sunday to “meet King Jesus.”; and traveling. She seized every opportunity to travel. A significant experience in her life was her European visit to France with her daughter, Linda, and attending numerous conferences and seminars in Anaheim, California, with her daughter, Alice, who with her husband was Granny’s care provider for many years. Also a lover of poetry, she received a standing ovation after reciting “The Creation” from Weldon Johnson’s “God’s Trombones” at her 86th surprise birthday celebration in Laurel, MD.
“Granny” was warm and effervescent. She always wore a smile and never met a stranger. To meet her was to love her. With an ever-open, non-judgmental heart and compassionate spiritual eyes to see into one’s soul as she ministered, she put others before herself and appeared as everyone’s beloved mom or grandma. Her motto if someone needed help was, “There’s always room for one more.” She dearly loved her son-in-law, John W. Curtis, Jr., who patiently and lovingly cared for her during her illness.
Fervently loving Almighty God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and having so many of her prayers answered, one grandchild when young asked, “Granny, are you God’s wife?” Through many trials and tribulations, she never lost the hope of her salvation and her witness to others of God’s faithfulness. Whenever trials and storms of life came, she believed that with her faith NOTHING could separate her from the love of God. It was this faith that sustained and enabled her to navigate through sometimes difficult waters. She was the epitome of one who had, as the Bible describes, “The Fruit of the Spirit” – love, joy, peace, meekness, temperance, kindness, gentleness, faith and long-suffering. She dearly loved her son-in-law, John W. Curtis, Jr., who patiently and lovingly cared for her during her illness. Death had no sting but served only as a platform to get her what she wanted: To see Jesus, her beloved Savior and King, and to put off the physical body whose limitations because of illnesses since 2009 she nobly endured.
She is survived by her 3 daughters whom she adored, Bessie Maude Minniefield Downing and her husband, John (Newnan, GA), Alice Mae Audrey Council Curtis and her husband, John (Chesapeake, VA), Linda Aileen Council Guisset (Knoxville, TN); God-daughters, Patricia Womack (Alexandria, VA) and Elaine Benton (Arlington, VA); sister, Alice Mullins Green Burton and her husband, Allan (Roanoke, VA); 2 devoted nieces by marriage to her late husband, Roberta Flack (New York, NY) and Ingrid Flack Hunter and her husband, Louis (Suwanee, GA); 17 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; 4 great-great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, church families and friends, particularly neighbor Frances VanDerleeuw (Chesapeake, VA) and the Benton family (Arlington, VA). Besides her parents, Emma was preceded in death by 2 husbands, Aaron Leonard Minniefield and Fred Pindar Council, Sr.; 2 sons, Gene Ross Minniefield and Auturo Gody Council, and one stepbrother, Fred Pindar Council, Jr.; daughter, Louise Minniefield Clanton-Nelson; and 12 brothers and sisters.
A celebration service will be held 11:00 a.m. on March 31, 2012 at Congregational Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, 1514 Sparrow Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23325 (757-420-8496).
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