Naomi McLaurin, 102, remembered as great cook, encourager

Naomi Tinnin McLaurin died on April 30 at age 102.

The Rev. Edwin Coffie, pastor of Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Palm Coast, shared encouraging words since the landscape had changed:

“I have been young and now I’m old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread (Psalm 37:25).”

Gratitude shifted because for 102 years, the Lord had entrusted His precious jewel to family and friends. Naomi Tinnin McLaurin’s earth’s journey had ended.

This writer covered stories on Mother McLaurin’s 90th, 100th and 102nd birthdays.

And, TV meteorologist Al Roker celebrated her 100th birthday with a Smucker’s salute on NBC’s “The Today Show.”

She meant so much that her legacy leaves others affectionately calling her by different names.

Pastor Coffie preached that Mother McLaurin “was called from a place of labor to a place of reward.”

The homegoing services happened May 8 at Mt. Calvary and May 11 at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, Virginia, the Rev. Dr. James E. Victor Jr., pastor.

The interment was at the National Memorial Park in Falls Church, Virginia.

Arrangements were entrusted to Karl N. Flagg Serenity Memorial Chapel in Palatka and Green Funeral Home in Alexandria.

The scholarship recipients are pictured with the scholarship committee co-chair Cerrito King; AKA chapter president Hazel Lockett and ICF executive director Marva Jones.

Encouraged, inspired

Mt. Calvary was filled with those having paid respect and the Voices of Calvary rendering the song, “We’ll Understand It Better By and By.”

Among the offerings, adopted son Leonard Powell said, “All that I am and hope to be, I assure you that “Nay-Nay” has had her hand in it. She shaped me. I will forever be grateful.”

Various speakers raved over Mother McLaurin’s biscuits; she was a fantastic cook.

“It was around that kitchen table that I first learned the lesson of family,” said grandson Kevin Calhoun, “and how important it is for you to encourage children for their successes.

“And, to continue to shepherd them when they are having their difficulties. And so, she made everyone who was a young person feel inspired to do better,” said her grandson.

Shaw graduate

The obituary read that Naomi Tinnin McLaurin, daughter of Alexander and Patience Tinnin, was born Aug. 6, 1916, in Mebane, North Carolina, the youngest of nine siblings.

On the evening of April 30, 2019, at 9:54 p.m., she departed this earthly life at Stuart F. Meyer Hospice House in Palm Coast.

Her parents were faithful in their service to the Lord at Mebane First Baptist Church, and she joined the church at an early age.

After completing her grade-school education, Naomi was enrolled at the Berry O’Kelly Training School near Raleigh.

After graduating from Berry O’Kelly, her parents were successful in getting their youngest child enrolled at Shaw University.

She was able to go to Shaw in a work-study program by cooking and cleaning at the home of the Shaw University president.

A member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics.

Family, church life

She met the love of her life at Shaw, Arthur Leroy McLaurin of Stedman, North Carolina, who had charm and personality, and who spoke to everyone on campus.

Naomi liked him and called him “Mac.”

They both graduated from Shaw and were married in Washington, D.C. Eventually, they moved to Arlington, and from that union, they were blessed with two children; a son, Arthur Leon, and a daughter, Naomi Yvonne.

The McLaurins joined the Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Arlington, where they served for more than 56 years. While both had been members of the Shaw University Choir, they brought their talents to Mt. Olive and sang in several choirs.

In addition to her service as a choir member, Naomi served on the Kitchen Committee, the Ladies Auxiliary, the Senior Usher Board, and the Deaconess Ministry. She was instrumental in the startup of the Junior Usher Board and the Education Committee.

Naomi was an outstanding cook, who prepared enough Sunday supper to accommodate not just the family but all of the Mt. Olive family members who conveniently stopped by during supper just to say hello.

Both Leon and Yvonne were amazed at how their mom would go in that little kitchen and come out with more food.

Teacher and clerk

As the children grew, Naomi started working again.

She worked as a substitute teacher in the Arlington and Fairfax County school systems, and eventually began working for the U.S. government as an accounting clerk.

Naomi’s husband made his transition to the Lord in July 1998 after more than 57 years of marriage.

In 2004, Naomi relocated to Palm Coast to live with her son and daughter-in-law, Leon and Pat; she then joined Mt. Calvary Baptist Church of Palm Coast.

Left to cherish her memory are: her son, Leon McLaurin (Pat) of Palm Coast; son-in-law, Jimmie Jukes of Palm Coast; five grandchildren, Derrick Wilson (Jenine), Chesapeake, Virginia; Kent McLaurin, Alexandria, Virginia; Shawnda Green, Chesapeake; Kevin Calhoun (Dawn), Huntersville, North Carolina; Kevin Jukes (Diana), Cooper City, Florida; eight great-grandchildren; two adopted sons, Robert Mobley and Leonard Powell; and a host of other family and friends.

Along with her husband, she was preceded in death by her daughter, Naomi Yvonne Jukes.

Local AKAs present nine scholarships

The Chi Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority (AKA), Inc. and the Ivy Community Foundation (ICF), Inc. presented nine scholarship awards of $1,000 each to graduating high school seniors, who are heading off to college this fall.

There were two students from Putnam County with the remaining seven from Flagler County schools.

The scholarship recipients are Tevel Adams and Payton Pellicer of Palatka High School; Wanyea Barbel, Derrick Harris, Anne Joseph, Faith McKenney, William Patin, and Leah Simpson of Flagler Palm Coast High School; and Christianna Powell, Matanzas High School.

Nia Felton and Kayla White, graduates whose mothers are Chi Delta Omega Chapter members, also were recognized for their achievements.

An awards reception was held at the Palm Coast United Methodist Church with students, parents, AKA and ICF members; Joe Rizzo, Flagler Education Foundation executive director, and former scholarship recipients Nina Eustaquio (2013) and Emany Desinor (2018) in attendance.

As always, remember our prayers for the sick, afflicted, the prodigal son, or daughter, and the bereaved.


Birthday wishes to Leonard A. Rowe, Dr. Lawrence Gary, May 26; and Audrey Thorpe, May 27



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