By JoAnn Fields
San Diego, CA: Mrs. Minnie C. Simmons Overstreet’s Celebration of Life took place on Friday, March 14, 2014, 11 am at Calvary Baptist Church among hundreds of family members, friends and neighbors. The impact that Mrs. Overstreet made throughout the City of San Diego was heartfelt in each song, tribute, resolution and expression that was shared during service. The number of supporters spilled out onto the balcony and was standing room only in the foyer
Born on September 25, 1922 in the Pine Orchard Community of Greenwood, Louisiana to parents Curry and Lizzie Lewis Simmons, Minnie was their fourth daughter and was cherished by older sisters Lucille, Elenzia and Maggie Lean. Two years later she became the big sister to Rosie Willie. Her older brothers LM, CS, Clarence, Odis and Clemmie were her protectors.
Minnie grew up in a family devoted to teaching and studying the Word of God. Her father was a lead deacon in the Mt. Olive Baptist Church of Greenwood. When Minnie was able to read the Bible, in elementary school, she began teaching the younger children Bible stories. This was the beginning of her lifelong ministry to children. Minnie was also recognized to sang a “mean” alto in the choir. To this day, Mt. Olive Baptist Church continues to be known in the Shreveport community as one of the most competent music ministries.
Minnie arrived in San Diego, California in the mid-1940s and united with Calvary Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. N.E. Taylor and continued her ministry through Dr. S.M. Lockridge and Rev. Willie J. Smith. She later established the children’s ministry at Blessed Trinity Church that was a plant of Calvary Baptist Church and led by Rev. Ronald Cobbs.
In her later years, she worked in ministry at Mt. Erie Baptist Church with Rev. Wells who was a childhood friend. There she served as a member of their choir. During the last few years, she attended New Paradise Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. James Moore who was also raised in the Calvary Children’s Department.
Minnie will forever be known among her family and friends as a children’s Bible storyteller with a strong faith and belief in God, conversationalist, opinionated, selfless, supportive and an entertainer with unconditional love for her family. Minnie married her soul mate Shirley Overstreet at Calvary Baptist Church. Both shared a love for people, especially the young people in the community. In addition to raising their sons Eric Duane, Bryant Lenell and Carleton Edward she help raise hundreds of children as an Instructional Aide at Knox Elementary School over 35 years. Both Minnie and Shirley were also active supporters of the Little League Baseball program. On January 31, 2014 Minnie was honored at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade for her 31 years of support of the event.
Grandson, Carleton E. Overstreet Jr. shares, “Today I was able to witness firsthand what living a life with Christ entails. Thank you to everyone who has shown the Overstreet family your support today. We love you and granny does too!”
The Overstreet legacy will be continued by her sons, Eric (Stephanie), Bryant and Carleton Sr; 13 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren; a sister-daughter, Shirley Murrell special daughters, Elaine Richardson, Patricia Overstreet, Andrea Dixon and Sandra Burrell; a protective niece, Ira Adams-Henderson; sisters-in-law, Bessie Chestang and Louise Overstreet a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Photos by JoAnn Fields: