On Monday, December 14, 2020, after residing in a rehabilitation and
healthcare center since August 23rd, 2018, Mary (affectionately known as “Granny”) was called home to rest.
Mary Lucy Tennessee, beloved daughter of Joe Ben Powel and Bernice Lou Powel-Wyche, was born on May 13, 1930 in Greensville County, VA. From this union she had two sisters, Maryland Person (preceded in death), and Otelia Rushing (Yuma, Arizona). Four brothers, Wilson Powell (Emporia, VA), Percy Wyche (preceded in death), and Calvin
Wyche (Baltimore, MD). Mary received her early education in Greensville County, VA Public School Systems. Mary was raised in a home that developed her faith at a young age and she accepted salvation early in her life. Her rearing produced her loving spirit and nurturing nature. Mary’s maternal instinct was evident in the love that she had for her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and family.
Mary was a dedicated wife to the late Willie Louis Tennessee (a.k.a. “Billy”), they married in November 1949. After her education and marriage to Billy, they moved to her father in-law’s farm in South Hampton County, VA. From
this union the late Lena and Warren Gee Tennessee were born. Billy, wanting a better life for his family, later moved them to Washington D.C. After relocating to D.C., three additional children were born. Subsequently, Billy moved his family to Baltimore, MD, where they established their roots. Mary lost her husband on September 10, 1965. To secure additional income for her family, Mary found work outside the home; working as a domestic worker and later working in the healthcare profession at Central Medical Center, until her retirement.
Mary loved the Lord, and loved going to church. She was a faithful and dedicated worker at Christ Temple Apostolic Church, Cherry Hill. As a member, her missions included serving as an usher, a choir singer; and because of her culinary skills, she was frequently asked to assist with preparing meals in the kitchen. Mary took great pride in serving as a member, until her health declined.
Mary took great pride in everything she did, especially with her appearance; always looking well-groomed and stylish. Mary would even make preparations the night before church, taking particular care in selecting her outfit, heels, and a hat to match. Mary also took pride in maintaining a well-kept residence. Her home was always neat, clean, and welcoming to family. Family meant everything to Mary. She was very protective of her girls and son; and always kept them looking immaculate. Mary had an open heart, and an open door; always willing to give whatever she could. Mary
was known for being a great cook for family and friends; constantly preparing a large variety of holiday dinners, until well into her 80’s.
Left to cherish the memory of her love are her three daughters, Deborah Ann Gary (Steven, Sr.), Lena Page Murdock (Gralyn “Doc”), and Gilda Tennessee (Charles). Five grandchildren, Shantell Tennessee-Morris, Angel Tennessee, Kalita Thomas, Steven Gary, Jr., and Shannan Gary. Six great-grandchildren, Steven Lievers IV (preceded in death), JaVett Morris, Matesha Morris, Shaniyah Gary, Sylara Thomas, Javier Ramos, and a host of nieces, nephews, family and friends.
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