Public viewing will be held at Latimer's Funeral Home Tuesday January 12,2021 2-6PM. The Funeral will be held 1PM Wed. January 13,2021 at Rosehill Cemetery.
Edna Mitchell Latimer
July 13, 1927 January 8, 2021
Since the sweet and gentle hands of our dear Heavenly Father saw fit to take from our midst, Edna Mitchell Latimer, we bow in humble submission to the will of God...
Edna was the 2nd of 10 children born to the late George Washington Mitchell, Sr. and Rhoda Bryant Mitchell of Supply, North Carolina. She peacefully slept away and gained her Heavenly wings at 4:00 A.M. on January 8, 2021.
Edna attended a 2-room school, McCauley, in Shallotte, N.C. Legend has it, their dad burned that school down because he stated, “ that was the only way the blacks would ever get a new and better school. Edna and her siblings walked north on Highway 17 to catch the bus on highway 130. The whites had a bus going south and would roll down their windows, throw cans and shout, “Yall go back home, you can't learn anyway.” They continued to persevere and in 1948 she graduated from Brunswick County Training School, South Port, N.C. Upon graduation she attended Shaw University, Raleigh, N.C. where her degree concentration was in education.
Edna had an eventful childhood, being reared on a farm. Her memories of growing vegetables, nurturing vegetables and harvesting vegetables remained with her throughout her life and she shared those stories “OFTEN.” One of the delights of her life was “selling vegetables on the open market” in Wilmington, N.C. At that time fresh vegetables were rare in that larger area and she and her father found delight in catching the transit bus, going up with basket loads and returning with baskets empty. To her, “her daddy did no wrong.” We would often tease her that her father had his own book in the bible..Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and George Mitchell.” She often spoke of her mother's cooking and love, but a smile would overtake her when she began talking of how her daddy would make his own fishing nets, made his own fishing boats, did carpentry, farmed, fished, gathered oysters, shrimp and clams from the creek in order to feed his large family. “Growing up I thought ALL men were like my daddy. I had no idea that they were not until I became grown,” she'd comment.
She joined Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church, Supply, North Carolina and remained a dedicated member until she relocated to Conway, S.C.
She began her strong work ethic and began her foray into business and industry as a teenager cooking in the seafood restaurants of Holden Beach, North Carolina. “As soon as school got out in the summer, they'd come looking for me to work. I'd spend the entire summer at their hotel where I cooked at their restaurant.” Frequently she reminded us that it was she who invented hush-puppies. She chuckled that customers would come in back at the restaurant's kitchen to ask for the recipe, which she happily gave. But commented that “I didn't mind because I knew they wouldn't taste like mine.”
After years in the restaurant industry, she began operating the general store/gas station of Mr. Dubar in Supply, North Carolina. She managed that location for several years before eventually purchasing and operating her own general store/gas station, Royal Oak Grocery. Very few things surpassed the joy she lamented when discussing “her store.” There she sold groceries and gas. It was a huge accomplishment for a black woman in the late 1950's. That store was very successful and was the link to her and her future husband. The “world renown” story of how her future husband, the late George (Grown-Man) Latimer, Sr. and a group of his friends had gown to South Port, N.C. on a deep sea fishing excursion, and on the way back he noticed her out front pumping gas for a customer and wondered if it was a black owned business. That next day he sent his best friend, The Late Willie Canty, up again to the store to find out who she was and if she was married. Mr. Canty returned with the good news that she was “not” married and thus began their courtship. Several years later the two were married on Christmas Eve at the home of her parents. Laughter still prevails as she would tell of how a young Charles Johnson, son of another of her husband's excellent friends, the late Mr. W.P. Johnson, drove them from the wedding location back to Conway at the tender age of 12 or 13.
This union began her venture into the funeral industry. For over 62 years she helped her husband run and eventually herself ran Latimer's Funeral Home. She was a tour de force of kindness, business savvy, compassion, empathy, perseverance, and most notably, faithful and Godly. That faith helped drive her work ethic that she tried to instill within her children and would often say...”Work...That's how you get your rice and meat.” She was known by many as the “notary lady.” It would be impossible to try and list all those she's notarized papers for, free of charge. Work was her life! Her car could be found in the funeral home's parking lot as early as 7:00 AM and often as late as 9:00 PM, weekends, and often holidays.
After moving to Conway she continued her love of fishing and would go as often as possible. Other memorable stories are surrounded by the 8 pound bass that she caught and eventually had mounted. It was often comical that her husband would go out fishing early that morning with the boat and would come back with less fish than she would have after going out around 4 or 5 P.M. “I'd stay until I couldn't see the cork, and if I had a good day and woke the next morning and it were raining, I'd be sorely disappointed.
As a devout Baptist, it took Edna many years to join her husband as a Methodist at Bethel AME Church, Conway, S.C. Although she attended regularly she held onto her Baptist roots for many years. Upon the death of her husband, who was a member of the Steward Board, Edna took his position and served as a Steward and eventually as Chairman of The Finance Department for many years. She cherished that position and her church. She wanted only what was best for the church and it's well-being. She gave freely of her gifts and often stated, “I give because the Lord has blessed me.”
Among other civic organizations and professional associations were, a 50+ year member of Evening Star Chapter #183 Order of Eastern Star, where she served as treasurer, in 1976 she became one of the Charter Members of Kaaba Court #127 Daughters, which she served as treasurer for many years. She was a member of the Sixth District Mortician's Association, Member of the State Mortician's Association and Past member of the SC State Board of Funeral Directors. Awards and honors include: Bethel AME Church Woman of The Year, a member of Professional wives who have continued the funeral business following the death of their husbands, Who's Who among funeral directors, and an assembly of other honors and accolades too numerous and too vast to mention.
Following her husband's death in 1980, Edna stepped in and began operating the business alone for several years before her son's graduation's from college. Everyone loved Edna, her sense of humor, warm smile and unpretentious personality drew people to her; consequently, she was a compassionate friend and confidant to many, regardless of their age and walk in life. A woman of remarkable faith and strength, she lived to the ripe, incredible age of 93. Following a car accident in 2014, she stopped driving yet her sons transferred her each day, a round trip of about 90 miles from her home to Conway and back to her home. She also survived a stroke in 2018 and was able to make a full recovery and return to work in 2 weeks. She continued to work even while using a walking cane which transitioned to a walker, and eventually to a wheelchair. Only days before her death she was at work answering the phone and greeting the public.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her siblings: Dorothy (Archie L.) Gore, George (Elvie) Mitchell, Jr., Charlie (Minnie P.) Mitchell, Morris (Pearlistine) Mitchell, Curtis (Thelma) Mitchell, Esther (John) Kilby.
Those who are left with memories of love, joy, friendship and togetherness are her sons: George (Kimberly) Latimer, Jr., Murrells Inlet, S.C., and Marvin (Donna Walker) Latimer of Surfside Beach, S.C.; a daughter, Patricia (Woodrow) Smith, Titusville, Fla., grandchildren: Bradleigh K. Latimer, Charleston, S.C., Nigel L.M. Latimer, Charleston, S.C.; brothers: James (Lorraine) Mitchell, Carson, Ca., Joseph Floyd (Lynn) Mitchell, Los Angeles, Ca., and Alvin N. (Rebecca) Mitchell, Upper Marlboro, Md.; a devoted caretaker/niece, Rosaland (Michael) Lance, Atlantic Beach, S.C.
In addition, adopted family and staff members: Her Health Caretakers (Janice "Saturday Night " and The Parson Family, Rosaland Lance, Wanda Dawson, Bebe Sanders and Mrs. Sandra Parker,)
Ronald and Donald Phillips & Families, Mr. Edward Davis & Family, The Laney Family, The Staff of Bellamy Transport Service and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other loving acquaintances, relatives and friends.
Edna's favorite poem, which she would quote from memory with enthusiasm daily was Rudyard Kipling's “When Earth Last Picture Is Painted.”
When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!
To send flowers to Edna's family, please visit our floral store.