A Time to be Born
Minnie Lou (Sutton) Curtis, the first daughter and second child of eleven children was born on July 29, 1932 to the late Cleveland Sr. and Alberta Sutton in Canton, Mississippi.
A Time to Live
Minnie received her education at Pine Grove Community School in Canton, MS. She confessed Christ on the mourning bench at an early age under the leadership of Rev. Perry at Pine Grove M.B. Church.
Minnie spoke fondly of growing up on a farm but hated sharecropping by working in the fields picking cotton. She set her sight on Illinois. Not remembering how much money she had her daddy took her and cousin, Charlie to the train station bound for Lockport, Illinois.
Minnie joined Shiloh Baptist Church and later moved her membership to Mt. Moriah Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. McNear. Her calling was in the ministry of helps. Always ready to assist in building up a ministry from the ground up. She left Mr. Moriah and became one of the first members of Holy Cross M.B. Church. And finally, when Pastor Pierce was called to start his ministry, she went to serve at Saving Power Missionary Baptist Church. She loved reading the bible, singing in the choir, and teaching Sunday School. You could always find her with a bible, glasses and word search puzzles.
Minnie loved to help others, clothing, food, money, shelter or whatever she could do to help, she did it. She would say, never look down on anyone because you never know what life holds. Known as Big Ma to her grands, their friends, neighborhood kids and others.
Minnie loved garage sales. If you didn’t want to stop at one, you better not drive by it. She loved to cook; well known for her soup, sweet potato pies, cakes, crackling bread, others but especially collard greens. She could make anything look mouth-watering and taste delicious. Like liver rabbit and yes coon. Lol!
Known as Big Ma by many; kin or not, Minnie demanded respect and respected those that did. Her sense of humor, jokes and jabs were relentless!
She believed in doing a job well. You don’t want to have to “lick that calf twice.” Don’t ask her to cook when she don’t feel like to because as she said, “I can break my plate when I’m done.” Meaning, she only “had” to cook for herself. Minnie had a problem with people not speaking. She said it was the easiest think you could do. When someone wouldn’t speak, she would say something she got from her daddy, “speak ass because the mouth done got too proud.”
Minnie believed in group whoopings, Saturday cleaning, going to church, going to school, hair combed, body clean and washed clothes. And if any girl came to her house jiggling, you got a complimentary pant girdle that you had to put on right then! Lol!
We are our brother’s keepers. If one fought, we all fought. And yes ma, we got Nate. And yes ma, we got Nate. Well, Pooky does because she’s the youngest and we made her. No, we all got Nate. “We love you momma” – “I love you too baby.”
A Time to Die
One glad morning on February 15, 2021, Minnie Lou flew away to that place where joy shall never end. She often talked to her mother and when asked if she talked to Big (Big) Ma, she grunted.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George Curtis; first husband, John Harris, Sr.; her parents, Cleveland Sr. and Alberta Sutton; one son, Waddell Harris; two sisters, Susie Mae Green, Annie Lee Gilkey; five brothers, James, L.C., Otha, Bobby and Cleveland Jr.; two grandsons, Marcus Hollings and one in infancy.
A Time to Mourn
Minnie leaves to cherish her memories; three daughters, Minnie Louise Maiden, Debbie (Jerry) Arthur, Demetria Curtis; two sons, John Harris Jr. and Nathan Harris, all of Joliet, IL; Big Ma to 15 grandchildren, Stacey, Carlos, Marcus (deceased), Whendy, Brandy, Vanecea, Vanessa, Kerrissa, TaJohnna, Tamara, Andjoua, Nathan Jr., Shakayla, Jakari, grandson in infancy; 30 great grandchildren; eight great-great grandchildren; two sisters, Alberta Jones, Chicago, IL, Helen Wiley, Jackson, MS; one brother, Willie (Earnestine) Sutton, Lockport, IL; cousin-sister, Charlie Jackson, Joliet, IL; one godson, Royce Taite Jr., San Antonio, TX and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
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