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A Time to Be Born
Deaconess Mary M. Atkins was born on March 27, 1936, in Durham, North Carolina to the late Perry and Cloria O’Bryant. She was a loving, kind and compassionate woman who welcomed anyone into her home as family. Above all, she was a praying woman who loved the Lord and trained her family to do the same.
A Time to Live
Mary received her early education in the Durham Public School System and graduated from Hillside High School in 1954. She continued her higher education by attending and graduating from Industrial Education Center in Durham, North Carolina where she majored in nursing. Soon after, Mary relocated to Staten Island, New York in 1962 with her sister, Alean Lipscomb. Upon relocating there, Mary started her career in nursing by working at the Brooklyn Veterans’ Affairs Hospital. There, she met the love of her life, Deacon Freddie Atkins. On December 26, 1964, Mary and Freddie were joined in holy matrimony. From this union, two children were born– Beverly and Debra Atkins.
Her passion for nursing increased as she worked at different hospitals such as St. Vincent’s Medical Center and Baley Seton Hospital. She also had the privilege of working for her close friend, Dr. Mary Bastawros. Mary retired from the nursing profession in the early 2000s. However, she enjoyed her passion for nursing so much that continued to work part time until she was 80 years old.
A Time to Enjoy and Believe
Mary enjoyed reading the Bible, solving crossword puzzles, hosting family gatherings and cooking. However, she truly loved to sing and did so well with her family group, the Gospel Heralds, who would travel locally and around the country singing for the Lord. She also sang God’s praises in choirs such as the Guiding Lights and the Fellowship Baptist Church choir. Mary joined the Fellowship Baptist Church in 1984 and was an ordained Deaconess there. She loved her church and her Pastor, Rev. Alfredo Archibald and made sure to mention them often, even after she could no longer attend.
A Time to Say Farewell
Mary was called to her eternal reward on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, at 4:59pm at the Staten Island University Medical Center, surrounded by her closest loved ones. She leaves to cherish her loving memory and mourn her loss: her husband of fifty-eight years, Deacon Freddie Atkins, her two daughters: Beverly Atkins of Staten Island, New York and Debra Atkins of Brooklyn, New York; one son: Timothy Hayes, of Staten Island, New York; her grandchildren: Zhanaya (Michael) Gurganious-Perez, Cornell Gurganious, II of Brooklyn, New York; Charles Hinton, Jr. of Woodbury, New York; Timothy, Danny, Michael, Elijah and John Hayes of Atlanta, Georgia; two sisters in-law: Minnie Atkins and Lucille Gaddy of Brooklyn, New York, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. She was preceded in death by Freddie O’Bryant, Verdell Bass, Samuel O’Bryant, Alean Lipscomb and David O’Bryant.
The Family of Deaconess Mary M. Atkins
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