The Essence of Her Life and Spirit

       Another stalwart member of Mt. Hermon AME, Fort Lauderdale, has taken her Heavenly flight.  Heaven ‘s illumination is  a little brighter because of Mrs. Katharine McNair’s passing.  As a member I experienced personally her devotion and  dedication as a Christian servant in the Almighty’s kingdom.  So when  our publisher mandated that we acknowledged Mrs. McNair in this week’s edition, I immediately contacted her daughter Jona whom I had the honor of teaching at South Plantation High School.  As the last surviving sibling, Jona and the McNairs have experienced myriad trials and tribulations that life has beset them with. I firmly and steadfastly believe that their faith in God has allowed them to persevere through it all. And Mrs. McNair, along with her devoted husband Henry, through their faith and deeds, were exemplars of God-fearing servants and leaders. Mrs. Katharine McNair, one for the ages.

Following is a treatise of a life well lived.

The Essence of Her Life and Spirit

Katharine Edwards McNair is the continuation of a history and legacy of powerful people.  Born in Fort Valley, Georgia on February 27, 1933,  she is a graduate of H.A. Hunt High School 1950. In 1949 she was crowned May Queen and attended Fort Valley State College 1951.  She married the love of her life, Henry McNair, Jr., on Tuesday, October 25, 1955.    

   She is a proud mother of four children, but she had the faith that has sustained her through the loss of three children: Kevin McNair (2013), Kerry McNair (1988), and Janet McNair (2019).  Jona McNair Brown remains here to ensure our legacy continues until we meet in heaven.  As a military wife she was a stay-at-home mom until her children started school.  Once her husband Henry retired from the United States Air Force, she received a supporting Air Force Wife Certificate. She was blessed to have traveled with her family to 12 countries and 26 states, most during “Jim Crow “era.

   She was a faithful member of Mount Hermon African Methodist Episcopal Church serving in several capacities:  historian/ curator of the Historical Society, Celestial Choir (choir #3), and the Mary Allen Stewardess Board.  On September 13, 2020, Rev. Henry E. Green Jr. honored her by naming the church museum The Katharine Edwards McNair Historical Museum of Mt. Hermon A.M.E. Church. She selected Beverly Warren to be her Co-curator.  She was recognized as a Million Dollar club member when she worked for John Hancock Insurance Company.  She worked for the school board of Broward County and retired from Nieman Marcus Department Store. On  December 3, 2011, she joined 2000 Broward County Citizens as “Pioneer of Broward County”.  She and her best girlfriend Ernestine Hankerson were advocates for Sickle Cell and Sister McNair is a lifetime member of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Broward County.  One of her proudest moments occurred on May 2, 2017 when she held the bible for her brother the Honorable William “Bill” Edwards who was being sworn in as Mayor of South Fulton County Georgia.

   She is a demonstration of the past, an inspiration for the future and she leaves the next generation to represent the unlimited possibilities.  She leaves to cherish her memories:  Henry McNair Jr., husband for 66 years; Arggie Spann (sister-in-law), William Edwards (brother),  Linda Edwards (sister-in-law), Joanne Nicholson (stepsister),  Jona Brown (daughter) , Ray Brown (son-in-law), and  Pennie Harris McNair (daughter-in-law);  Six grandchildren: Kevin Jr., Brekke, Kory McNair, Tasmaine (Hydee) and Gigi Milledge and Dominique Brown (Shana) ; Five great-grandchildren: Jordan, Joshua and Hilton McNair and Dominique LaNya Wilson and Henry Milledge;  Nieces, Nephews and Cousins: Harold Simmons (Marvia),  Sherryl Fields, Daryl Simmons, Karen McKnight, Donna Nimmons, Gerald Hankerson, and Lori-Ann Spann of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her Georgia family: Barbara Gilmore (Raymond), Belinda Towles (Chris), Ellen Jones (Robert), Andrew Mathis (Colleen), Ray “smooth” Mathis, Virginia Ford (Alvin), Elisha Soloman, and Fannie Renee Mathis;  William “Billy” Edwards Jr. (Doris), Ericka Williams (Edward), and Johnisha Campbell. Her God Children: Valerie Mills of Washington D.C., Annette Soloman of Ft. Washington, Maryland, The Honorable Elijah H. Williams (Debra), Harry and Bruce Williams, Diyarnna Daniels (David) of John Creek, Georgia; Quentin Dawson, Willie Bryant (Sophia), Karen Lockhart (Ronnie), Rev. Henry E. Green, Jr. (Jennifer) and Diane Kitchen of Atlanta, Ga. Her sister-friends Ernestine Hankerson, Ola Mae Matthews, Mattie Williams, and her childhood friend Dorothy Thomas and a host of family and friends. 

About Carma Henry 20236 Articles
Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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