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This is the day that the Lord has made, WE SHALL rejoice and be glad in it"(Psalms 118:24). This was Estella's mantra and favorite
On June 18, 1945, in Osceola, Arkansas, a uniquely bright and shining star was born to John and Estelle Holdman. Estella, her mother's namesake, was the 6th of 9 children, and the youngest of four girls born to this union. Her parents, sister Johnnie Mae, brothers James, Arthur, Charles and Robert all preceded her in death. The sisters, Johnnie, Dorothy, Hattie, and Stella were always very close. They shared a unique, special bond from their earliest childhood days in Arkansas to their most recent impromptu road trips, wellness visits and brother-sister getaways.
Estella accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at Mt. Taber Baptist Church, under the leadership of Pastor ].E. Latson in Chicago,
Estella attended Jirka and Gladstone elementary schools and graduated from Julia Hayes Hess upper grade center in 1960 as the family moved west. She attended and graduated in 1963 from John Marshall high school on Chicago's West side.
Eatella married James Stokes on December 14, 1963, two children were born to this union, Michelle Yvette, and James Leonard (Lou) both who preceded her in death.
Estella began her career in 1965 with Alden's Mail Order house in the clerical department. Not one to be limited, she left for better opportunities as she continued to help others. She volunteered at the University of Chicago hospital for many years and was later asked to assume a full-time role as Head clerk in pediatrics with the Woodlawn Friends and Family center clinic. She was there until she retired.
Estella was a stellar employee and very well liked. She was outstanding in her duties, and advocated for others as she took on the role of Union Steward for Teamsters local 743 union. She fought for better working conditions, rights and helped employees to understand the treatment they deserved. Her position allowed her to travel to many places as a Union Steward, advocating for fellow Teamsters.
Her volunteerism continued, as she diligently worked at the polls each election year as a poll watcher /judge in the 37th ward on Chicago's Greater Westside.
In the early 70s Estella and her sister Dorothy, merged households and raised their (10) children together as a blended family. This family played, celebrated, lived, and loved together as one. There was never a dull moment at the much visited "House of Hope a place of love, laughter, peace and for some a place of refuge.
Eatella later married Curley Harris and to this union was born her beloved Jeremy Marcel Harris who stuck by her side until the very end;
Loving, caring, and catering to his mother's every whim.
Estella cherished the good times shared with her siblings. She looked forward to every opportunity spent with family and friends; always ready to share her latest jokes, and engage in spirited conversation. It was said that Estella was so friendly and outgoing, that she would talk to a street sign (smile). She spent her last days celebrating birthdays and graduations including her own surprise birthday party with Jeremy, James Jordan, her nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers. These celebrations included a wonderful intimate gathering coordinated by Mr.
President," who would do anything for the "Golden girls" and CEO (Cute Estella Oh, well).
Estella lived well, drove nice cars, dressed well, and her fashions were always on point. She celebrated everything from Christmas, to Easter, to Halloween and all holidays in between. She was also elegant, and stylish. Leopard print became one of her favorite accessories and a staple in her wardrobe; a tribute to the life of her daughter Michelle.
Estella was faithful and a very active member of the Austin Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. Thomas G. Henry, where she taught Sunday school, was a member of the choir and helped in any way she could with many activities of the church. She was admired by all she met. Following the death of former Pastor Thomas Henry, Estella came under watchcare membership of the First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, under the leadership of Pastor John L. Belser. She enjoyed and looked forward to the Wednesday night Sunday School calls.
Estella leaves to cherish her love and memories, her son Jeremy, who took care of her and gave her all the love that he had to give; grandsons James Jordan- Stokes her pride and joy; Joseph Hatchett, who she loved unconditionally, and Jamiel Isaiah Flowers, who preceded her in death; sisters, Dorothy Ivy (Andrew-deceased), Hattie Baugh, brothers, John Holdman Jr., and Alex Baugh; Brother and Sister-in-law, Evangelist Annie Mae Matlock and Reverend and Mrs. Shelly Stokes (ewel); a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews, cousins, and relatives; daughter in love, Veronica Jordan; goddaughter Billie Jean Travis; Best friends Ernestine Lee, Elizabeth Kirkland, Roberta Laws and Nather.
Stella, as she was affectionately called, shared pleasant memories with the special friends of the Ohio Street Block Club, Connie Berger, Alberta Williams, Beverly Smith, and Mrs. Robinson.
Estella leaves many friends and associates she met along the way. She knew no strangers. She was a spiritual advisor to many, as she encouraged those she met along her life's journey.
Estella was always willing to share the goodness of God and the blessings of her life and family. She will be missed, but never forgotten