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Jimmie L. Harper was born on June 5, 1932, in Sumter, South Carolina to the late Jimmie and Susan J. Alston. She departed this earthly life on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at Jersey Shore University Hospital, Neptune, New Jersey surrounded by her family.
She attended elementary and high school in Sumter, South Carolina. She graduated from Allen University in Columbia, South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
Her Christian education started at High Hill A.M.E. Church in Dalzell, South Carolina. She was an active member singing in the choir, attending Sunday School and her first Missionary General Conference in Mississippi at the age of 16.
After college, she moved to Asbury Park, New Jersey where she joined St. Stephen A.M.E. Zion Church and was a member for more than 55 years. She served in many capacities on the local and district level.
On the local level, she was President of the Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society for 24 years, member of Lay Council, Deaconess Ministry, Christian Education and Sunday School teacher. As Missionary President, she organized annual clothing drives and supported the Young Adult Missionary food pantry. On the district level, she was appointed by the Bishop as Superintendent of Buds of Promise for 17 years.
Jimmie supported Buds of Promise leaders in planning programs as well as supervised and planned annual Buds of Promise Roundups for the district. Under her direction, she assisted the Buds of Promise in donating teddy bears and books for overseas conferences.
In 2013, God led her back to her A.M.E. roots when she joined Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Asbury Park, New Jersey. She served faithfully as a member of the Alice Moore Missionary Society and Scholarship Committee. Because of her exemplary service to her church and community, she received the Diamond Award in 2019 from the New Jersey Conference Women's Missionary Society A.M.E. Church.
Jimmie's love and compassion for children led to an impactful teaching career of 38 years in the Middletown School District in Middletown, New Jersey. She was a member of her local, county and state National Education Association of New Jersey. She was nominated for "Who's Who among Teachers" by one of her students and was approved by the Middletown Board of Education. This nomination was one of the highlights of her teaching career.
In April of 2023, she renewed her membership at St. Stephen A.M.E. Zion Church where she started her Christian journey in New Jersey. If she were not physically in the pews of St. Stephen's church, she would faithfully join Sunday service, Bible Study, church programs and District Conference virtually.
Sister Jimmie always opened her heart, soul and mind serving others. Not only was she active with her church family, but she was also a committed and dedicated member of the West Side Community Center Women's Auxiliary of Asbury Park, New Jersey. As a Life Member of the North Shore Area Section of the National Council of Negro Women Incorporated, Jimmie actively participated on committees and fulfilled her responsibilities. Her visual disability did not hinder her passion to serve others or use her talents for the greater glory of the Lord. Her years of service and commitment cannot be measured.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jimmie, and Susan J. Alston; her beloved husband, Freddie H. Harper; two brothers, Jessie V. Alston and Manning "Claborn" Alston and one-half brother, Sammie Wright.
Her loving memory will forever be cherished by her son, Darrell Alston (Lorine) Woodbridge, VA; two step daughters, Vernell Miller-Grooms (Tony) and Gladys Harper, both of Atlanta, GA; three sisters, Susie M. Alston, Neptune, NJ; Dorothy Butts (Calvin), Irvington, NJ and Helen Clanton, Columbia, SC; one half-sister, Rebecca Williams, Neptune, NJ; one brother, Marshall Alston (Grace), Neptune, NJ; two grandsons, Tranel Alston (Andronica), Stafford, VA and Christopher Alston, Woodbridge, VA, and one step granddaughter (previously of the home), Jennifer Maxie, Atlanta, GA; three nieces, G. Venessa Jones, Neptune, NJ; Mariam "Tonya'' Alston, Rembert, SC and Marshanda Alston, Lakewood, NJ; two nephews, Ivan Alston, Neptune, NJ and Jessie V. Alston, Jr. Brownstown, MI, and a host of other step grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.
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