Dorothy Olivia Fletcher Jefferson, 78, longtime financial secretary at 31st St. Baptist Church, dies
1/19/2018, 7:41 a.m.
Dorothy Olivia Fletcher Jefferson performed one last service for Thirty-first Street Baptist Church when she died. She brought together a pastor and congregation that has faced division and discord.
For the first time in months, the sanctuary at the church on Church Hill was packed as hundreds came out Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, to remember and celebrate the life of Ms. Jefferson, a longtime deacon board member and former church financial secretary who succumbed to illness on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.
“She was loved and appreciated, and we all wanted to show the family how much she meant to us,” said Barbara Price, a longtime member in explaining the turnout at the church that has experienced a decline in attendance at Sunday services.
Ms. Jefferson, a 78-year-old Brunswick County native, served as the church’s financial secretary for 30 years until her retirement in 2016. She also served for 20 years on the church’s deacon board, a position she held at the time of her death.
The retiring pastor, Dr. Morris G. Henderson, delivered her eulogy, one of his final appearances in the pulpit.
Set to step down at the end of this month, Dr. Henderson had told the congregation he preached his last sermon on Jan. 7 when he announced his retirement. (On Sunday, the day after the funeral, Associate Pastor Alvin Campbell preached the sermon.)
Ms. Jefferson, whom friends described as a warm, outgoing person who loved to cook and entertain, had been part owner of two Richmond area restaurants before she retired.
She also had a passion for fishing, her family said, although she never liked to eat what she caught. And she loved reading. She participated in a book club at the church.
Survivors include her son, Elvin H. Jefferson Jr.; daughters, Nancy J. Hopkins, Cynthia J. Massenburg, Patricia J. Miller and Angela J. Ramey; brothers, St. Luke Fletcher Jr. and Thomas E. Fletcher; sisters, Carolyn F. Alston, Bernette F. Johnson and Bertha F. Nunn; 12 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.