December 28, 1931, in Montgomery, Alabama, siblings Ruby, John (Jr.), Houston, and Levy greeted the youngest of the five children that blessed the union of Claudie Mae (Davis) and John Amos Henderson, Sr.-- Lemester Henderson. She discovered the God who knew her in the womb at an early age. In the segregated South where her formal education began, the family lived within hearing distance of a church. She recalls how God nurtured her Spirit and fed the mustard seed of faith planted within as she laid in bed listening to believers praising the name of Jesus Christ and singing Calvary.
Her dad, John Amos (Sr.) came to Pittsburgh, found work in the steel mills, and sent for his family as the Great Depression lingered. There she met and married Lee Andrew McKinley giving birth to a daughter, Jermaine. The marriage did not survive. However, Lemester was determined she and her daughter would. She applied for Passavant Nursing School and failed to gain entry the first time. Resolute on becoming a nurse she took night classes to improve math and chemistry scores. Professionally she cared for the sick over 40 years; first as an LPN then with degree in hand as an RN.
In the early 70’s she met and married her soul mate, Ralph Echols, Jr. Within each other’s lives they manifest the truth of God’s promise found in James 5:11, Your tomorrow will be greater than today. Your future much greater than your past... Remember Job and trust God, your latter days will be much greater than your former days. In 2019, death physically separated them; but as with Christ nothing can separate their love.
Lee was also a hobbyist photographer, mentor and community volunteer for over 45 years serving interfaith, relief, and community organizations. She was a 70 plus-year member of Macedonia Baptist Church where she served as a Deacon over 20 years.
Praying her living was not in vain, October 19, 2021, Lemester “Lee” Henderson Echols, peacefully left the troubles of this world behind to join her beloved husband Ralph Echols, Jr., her parents Claudie Mae and John Amos Henderson, sister, three brothers, grandson, and a crowd of other witnesses to The Resurrection of Christ.
Left to cherish her life and legacy of love and service, daughter Rev. Dr. Jermaine McKinley; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lemester "Lee" Echols, please visit our floral store.