Essie Lee Ware was the sixth child born to Hasting and Alice Queenie (Tate) Neuman. Essie was the last surviving sibling of Lillie Bell, Elmore, Pearl, Mary, Jacob, and Earl.
She was born and raised in the town of Ebenezer, located in Holmes County Mississippi. She was educated in the Holmes County Public Schools. Essie continued her education in Cleveland, Ohio. She obtained her high school diploma from John Hay. Always a strong believer in education and achievement, she proceeded to Community College where she completed a difficult two-year program in the field of Food Services. After finishing this program, she became the Dietary Supervisor at the Women’s General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a dedicated employee for 30 years, retiring in 1982. She was very proud of her work and spoke in endearing terms of her love of helping others, believing that service to others was God’s purpose for her life.
From the beginning the Neuman family has had a strong Christian faith. They attended church regularly and worked diligently in various capacities in the church. Essie confessed Christ as her lord and savior at a young age and attended the family church, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1884 by one of her great cousins Rev. Allen Tate. The church, still stands as a cornerstone and foundation of faith for the Neuman-Tate families. The beautiful cemetery in the back of the church is a testament to strength and resilience of a strong Black family.
Essie was married at the young age of fourteen to Elmore Brooks. Elmore and Essie relocated from Mississippi to Cleveland Ohio in 1941. They were part of the Great Migration of African-Americans from the south that occurred from 1916-1970.
Essie’s first employment was at the St. Luke’s Hospital as a Dietary Aid. The hospital was in walking distance of her home on Hulda Avenue. Aunt Essie has always been a kind, compassionate, and welcoming spirit. She often laughed about the home she and Elmore created, calling it the “Do Drop Inn.” This was because many of the relatives of the family came to stay with them as a starting place as they worked to relocate and establish themselves in Cleveland Ohio, and other northern cities. Elmore Brooks, her first husband, proceeded her in death.
Essie remarried Emmett Ware. They both loved their families and enjoyed taking road trips around the country to visit them. For many years, they would leave Cleveland during the cold winter months and stay in Florida to enjoy the warm weather and fellowship with family and friends. Emmett Ware also proceeded her in death.
Aunt Essie received several recognitions from her church, Lane Metropolitan CME Church under the leadership of Pastor Bruce Gibson. She was given a “Faithful Service” award in July 2002, which stated from 1 Chronicles 29:9 “she served God with a perfect heart and a willing mind.” In July 2009, she received a “Certificate of Honor” for her enduring love of Jesus. She was also awarded the “V.I.P.” Certificate in July 2002, for her dedicated work on the Stewardess Board #2. Essie was also an active member and volunteer in her neighborhood community center, St. Martins De Porres. She served as Treasurer of the Benevolence Fund from 2010-2015.
Essie has been a blessing to many people. She loved people and enjoyed traveling, cooking, decorating and hosting dinner parties. She served as a caregiver to many family members and close friends. Everyone who encountered her can attest to the memorable moments they had with her and the impact she had their lives.
Within her was a deep reservoir of love, wisdom, knowledge and strength. Her fierce independence was an on-going, heartwarming joke, among the family. Despite the challenges of aging, she was still driving herself around the city of Cleveland at the age of 89.
Essie’s commitment of love, faith, family, education and service was shared constantly. These values are documented in a letter presented at the 2016 family reunion where she stated, “Put God first in your lives. Work hard, get as much education as you can and remember from where you have come.” In that letter she also expressed her favorite scripture, Proverbs 3: 5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and he will direct your paths.” Essie Lee Neuman Ware, was truly one in a million – Our beloved “Auntie” will be sorely missed.
Left to cherish her memory are her nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews, great-great nieces and nephews, her god-daughter and a host of extended family and friends.
Lovingly submitted by,
The Neuman-Tate, Johnson, Brooks-Redmond, Defreeze families.
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