Johnella Morris, 91, passed away on September 10, 2023, in Chattanooga.
When night turned into day, God in his infinite wisdom delivered and set her free - her Exodus.
We thank God for the privilege of sharing the life of Johnella Morris, who was exemplary in her faith and trust in Almighty God.
She was born on Aug. 11, 1932, and was the first child born to the union of Simon and Aldee Appleberry; Reverend John and Ella Yarborough, grandparents; who have made their transitions. Two children, Wardie “Butch” Pride Junior and Brenda Pride preceded her in death.
Johnella was born in Courtland, Al. She was educated in the Lawrence County Schools and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She was a member of Second Missionary Baptist Church and is now a part of the collective memory. Johnella accepted Jesus Christ and became a Christian at an early age. She joined Second Missionary Baptist Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee with the late Reverend Martin H. Ribbins. Her faith, as she would exclaim, was a flame spirit in her –ever gathering more of itself and was transformed into the love of her church family where she served in various capacities for over 60 years as a: Sunday School Teacher, President of the Senior Ushers, and the longest tenured member of the Finance Committee.She never waited until she was loved to love us all. She mastered this life and understood you have to “get to the love.” That was the beauty of her precious soul. Her smile and gentle advice was enamored with wisdom, and usually was followed with an infectious laugh. She will forever be in our hearts.
During her lifetime, Johnella worked for and retired from the Department of Children Services after 32 years in social services. She was a fierce and courageous champion for the underdog as well as children and youth. This compassionate visionary was called “Nanny” by close to 50 foster children who resided with her over the years.
She also was a president of the Foster Parent Association of Chattanooga. In addition, she was the co-founder of The Candlelight House for abused, neglected, and dependent youth, and London Bridge Academy, a child care center. She was honored as a Pioneer in Social Services by NCBW.This great lady believed in our future generations and their opportunity to soar to greatness and valued how education could be an equalizer for them. Johnella provided university scholarships at Fisk University and endowed a scholarship at Meharry Medical College for those seeking to help save lives in this world.
All who had the privilege of knowing this lovely lady will remember her as: kind, generous, gracious, honest, a true blessing, and always willing to help her fellow man. To this end, she was one of the founding members of the board of directors of the A.I.M. Center, a psycho-social rehabilitative center for adults living with serious mental illness. She often said to, “give her flowers while she was living”, and personified that, some spend time by moments and some with flowers. To this end, she shared her love of all things beautiful in nature as the President of the Sunshine Garden Club until her transition.
At the age of 90, her legacy will live on with her becoming the catalyst for Lighthouse Network Services, Inc., that has become a nationally recognized fixture for caregivers.
This queen of care pushed humanity forward. Her time was well spent on earth. Johnella was a mighty lady, magnificent leader, and a marvelous human-being who led a momentous life. Now, heaven exacts peace, beckons and awaits a joyous union with the Father, and a glorious crown she will wear when she meets her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Her precious memories will forever linger, and her life will be cherished byher devoted and loving daughter, Henrietta Morris; her son, Anthony Morris; her grandchildren, Wardell Pride, Indianapolis, Indiana; Carlos Pride, Chattanooga, TN; Andrew Pride, South Carolina; Joseph “Jay” (Michelle) Pride, Atlanta, GA; Zakee Morris, Cleveland, OH; Ahtef Parks, Chattanooga, TN; Quaader Morris, Atlanta, GA; sister, Carolyn Appleberry, Courtland, Alabama; sister-in-law, Johnnie Appleberry, Courtland, AL; nieces, Avery “Dee” Appleberry and Angela Appleberry; close cousins, Arthur Scruggs, Cleveland, Ohio, and Ora Meredith, Florence, Alabama, and her many close and special friends and relatives. A special thank you to her nephrologist, Dr. Brant Holt, who thought she was a medical marvel, and her special caregivers who called her the “Queen”.
A special thank you to her nephrologist, Dr. Brant Holt, who thought she was a medical marvel, and her special caregivers who called her the “Queen”.
Public viewing will be held from 2-6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the funeral home. A noon funeral service will be held at Second Missionary Baptist Church, 2305 East Third Street, on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
Interment will take place at Hamilton Memorial Gardens, Highway 153.
Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 423 622-9995.