Almeta Faye Kelley was born June 3, 1928, to Albert Youngblood and Bennie Burns Youngblood. She was the fifth of eight children. Almeta spent her early years in the small rural town of McLoud, where she and her siblings were born.

Almeta Faye Kelley was born June 3, 1928, to Albert Youngblood and Bennie Burns Youngblood. She was the fifth of eight children. Almeta spent her early years in the small rural town of McLoud, where she and her siblings were born.

When she was young, McLoud became known as the “Blackberry Capital of the World.” All of this was due to the large amount of luscious fruit grown in the area. National media coverage was given to McLoud when the Blackberry Growers Association sent a crate of berries to President Harry Truman.

It’s no wonder that at an early age, Almeta learned to make the most delicious fruit pies! Along with blackberries, peaches and apples were abundantly available, which made it easy for Grandma Bennie to teach her daughters become exceptional in the art of cooking.

Almeta accepted Christ at an early age and united with Mount Olive Baptist Church. She was baptized in a cow pond on McLoud Road, as were so many others of that very small community church.

Almeta attended McLoud Grade School and Paul S. Dunbar High School in Shawnee. At Dunbar, she and fellow classmate Anna J. Winrow Brown were entrusted to cook for the student body when the Home Economics instructor fell ill.

Young Almeta Faye Youngblood married Dean Vincent Lincoln Homesley and moved to Earlsboro. To that union three beautiful daughters were born. She was a great wife and loved her children dearly; however, that marriage ended in a divorce.

In October of 1956, Almeta, along with her three small children, moved to Joliet, Illinois, to begin a new chapter of her life. She and her children united with Mount Zion Baptist Church. During almost 50 years she served the Lord in many capacities. At Mt. Zion she sang in the Senior Choir and for Women’s Day in the Women’s Chorus. With her booming alto voice she sang in an ensemble called The Jubilaires, which later became The Royal Harmonettes, organized and led by sister-in-law Gwendolyn Youngblood.

Her service also included mentoring to in the Young Women’s League at Mt. Zion. She was member of the Deaconess Board, the Pastor’s Aid and of the kitchen committee, where she was well known for fried pies and peach cobblers. Over the span of her life she assisted many young women, some in the family or the church, some not. She empowered women before it became a buzzword.

Mama Kelley had many jobs to make ends meet of her and her girls: JPD School Crossing Guard, domestic work for different affluent families, catering from her home, laundromat attendant and “doing hair” out of her small kitchen in the Projects.

It is just a part of our culture to have “nicknames.” This beautiful lady answered to many names seemingly depending upon the geographical location of her nieces and nephews. She was called Aunt Faye, Aunt Almeta, or Aunt Pete. Now the latter requires some explanation. Research shows that her paternal grandfather was Peter Youngblood. Perhaps Almeta resembled him and was given that nickname by Albert, her father.

Almeta was one of the kindest, yet outspoken persons you could ever encounter and she maintained the perfect balance between the two! Yes, those “looks” would make you stop your foolishness in a “New York second” and those long warm hugs would melt the hardest hearts.

While living in Joliet, the love of Almeta’s life “found” her. (Proverbs 18:22 (NKJV) “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”) Ester Kelley and Almeta united in Holy Matrimony in December of 1966 and shared 33 wonderful years together with their blended family. Children from both marriages loved and respected each other, as well as their stepparent (parents that stepped in).

In May of 2006, Mama Kelley moved to Seminole with her youngest daughter and son-in-law. She was a gracious recipient of so much love and devotion. While Almeta dearly missed and longed for that daily interaction with other family and friends in Joliet, she always felt loved, wanted, and protected in her new environment. She often discussed with her sister the endless number of sacrifices that were made in her behalf. Almeta was loved by her entire family, both far and near.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2019, Almeta departed this life and is now resting in the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “Well done faithful servant!”

Almeta was preceded in death by her husband, Ester Kelley; father, Albert Youngblood; mother, Bennie Burns Youngblood; sons, Randy Lee Youngblood, William and Evell Kelly; daughters, Delois Ann Kelly and Delores Yvonne Franklin; brothers, Vernon Kirk, Otis Youngblood, Curtis Youngblood, Eugene Youngblood, and Joe Louis Youngblood; and sister, Eunice Hooks.

She leaves to mourn her passing one sister, Evelyn Williams in Oklahoma City; daughters, Sandra LaRue Mayweather (Ronald) of Joliet, Illinois, and Venzetta Kaye Edwards (Dearborn) of Seminole; son, James H. Kelly (Carolynn) of Detroit, Michigan; a host of relatives including cousins, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews; special friends Mrs. Eddie Bee Edwards, Mrs. Anna J. Brown, Mrs. Delores Jones including too many to mention here.

Funeral services will be held 2 p.m., Monday, Jan. 28, at Swearingen Funeral Home, Seminole, with Chaplin US Navy Ret. Forrest Kirk, Evangelist Gloria J. Brown and Rev. Maurice Franklin officiating. Burial will take place at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Joliet, Illinois.

The family wishes to extend special thanks to her caregiver and companion, Vicki Newman, Faith Hospice, Dr. Randall Kemp and staff and HealthBack Home Health Service for the care they gave to Almeta.

Services under the direction of Swearingen Funeral Home of Seminole.