Minnie Pearl Stroops Neal, 70, of Crest Hill, IL, passed away on Friday, May 1, 2020. A Southern Lady at heart, she was born on November 30, 1949 in Wilton, AR. To the late James Stroupe, Sr. and the late Cora Lee Marshall.
A lifelong Arkansas Resident, Minnie grew up in Little River County with her grandparents, Lurene and Albert Talley. She attended Little River County Training School as a young girl. She graduated from Rankin Street High School (Now Ashdown High School) in 1967, making her one the first African – Americans to integrate the Ashdown Public School System. She married Fugusta L. Neal Sr. May 4, 1970. From This union, 4 children were born. She treasured her children and embraced every moment with them.
Although Minnie was a dedicated mother first and foremost, she treasured her beloved Ashdown Community. She worked in the Ashdown Public School System as a teacher’s aide for several years. She then opened Minnie’s Day Care, and cared for school aged children for almost 20 years. She had a vivacious personality and always made people around her laugh. She made friends everywhere she went.
Minnie loved the Lord and cherished her relationship with her church family. She was baptized at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Wilton. She later attended Craig Chapel AME Church in Ashdown, where she served as church secretary, a stewardess, and a member of the choir. Later in life, she and Fugusta were called to the ministry, where she served as First Lady for Kings Hill AME Church in Magnolia, AR.
Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Rev. Fugusta Neal Sr; a son, Fugusta II (Lukysha) Neal; a daughter, Pamela (Mark) Hord; a step son, Gerald Williamson; 2 step daughters, Jessica (Jonathan) Coulter, and MaryAnn Coleman; a brother, Raymond Stroupe; a Sister-in-Law, Rev. Easter Faye Goodwin; 12 Grandchildren, Octavian, Fugusta III, Gerrell, Malcolm, Taylor, Jonathan Jr, Ashton, Jordan, Sydney, Gabriela, Nicholas, and Myles; 4 great grandchildren, Tammela, Aiden, Kaiden, and Ja’Rhia; and a host of nieces, nephews, church family, and friends. Minnie was preceded in death by 2 children, Alexander Neal and Tammal (Neal) Russ.
A celebration of life will be held July 18, 2020 in Ashdown, Arkansas (based upon the COVID-19 travel state opening laws). Location and time is TBA. Where Minnie can return to her hometown to be buried next to her children. Services are entrusted to Tezak Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Joliet, IL.
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