Obituaries: Shirley Mae Jackson-Higgins, Bishop Willie Dugan

Villegas Monuments

Monday, June 2, 2014 

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Shirley Mae Jackson-Higgins

Shirley Mae Jackson-Higgins was born to Willie J. and Rosie Lee Jackson. One of 13 siblings, she was preceded in death by both parents; two brothers (Freddie Lee, and J.W.); and five sisters (Barbara Jean, Jessie B., Virginia, Ruthie Jean, and Deborah Ann).

Shirley dedicated her life to Christ at an early age and was baptized by Rev. Nabors at Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church of Bell City, . Throughout her life Shirley was steadfast in her faith and love for Christ. She united with First Baptist Church of Melrose Park, Illinois under the leadership of Pastor H. McNelty, where she served as church secretary and continued to be an active member for many years until her health weakened.

Shirley was not only a devoted mother, grandmother and a loving wife to Albert, but a friendly adviser to all who knew her. She and Albert had three children: Cynthia Michelle (deceased), Talbert, and Angela.

Shirley acquired numerous professional developmental certificates and accolades, which included the Operation Uplift Maywood Hometown Achievement Award, the Rosa Parks Heritage Award, and membership in the Northeastern University Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society.

Shirley began working at Miles Square Medical Center in Chicago. She later took the position of Account Administrator at Allied Van Lines. She also served as an Administrative Assistant to the Illinois General Assembly. Later, she was employed by the Cook County Bureau of Technology. Upon retirement, Shirley served as Commissioner on the Maywood Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and was Executive Director of the Maywood Urban Revitalization Corporation. She was a member of The Way Back Inn Board of Directors and a member with the Maywood Chamber of Commerce.

Beautiful memories of “Shelly Mae” will be cherished by her family: her loving husband Albert; her beloved son Talbert; precious daughter Angela Shirlene; beautiful grandchildren Sydney Raymond and Taylor Gabrielle Rose; siblings: Willie Lee (Helen) of Fresno, California, Eddie Lee of Marion, Indiana; Jerlean LeSure (Charles, deceased) of Maywood, Illinois, Earnestine Pullen (Charles, deceased) of Aurora, Illinois, Carl Lee (Loretta) of Dixmoor, Illinois, Daniel Lee (Amelia) of St. Louis, Missouri, and Ceretha Brown (James, deceased) of Bellwood, Illinois, brother-in-law J.W. Terry of Jackson, Mississippi; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

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Bishop Willie B. Dugan

Willie B. Dugan was born on September 26, 1928, in Louisville, Mississippi to Ezra Dugan and Mary Alice Holmes. He was raised by his mother and her husband, Dock Lee, whom Willie grew to admire.

Willie was baptized and served at the Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church in Louisville, where he met the love of his life and eventual wife of nearly fifty years, Katherine Inell Cutts. They were married on September 25, 1948. To this union were born five daughters, his five “black eyed peas,” as they were affectionately called.

In the early 1950s, Willie and his wife moved to Chicago, Illinois and in 1963, to a beautiful single family home at 18th and Oak in the suburb of Maywood, where he would live for the rest of his life. He was known for cultivating his beloved flower garden, which became the talk of the town. The way Willie cared for, and nurtured his flowers, would be an inspiration to many.

Willie was employed for 25 years as a truck driver for the Racine Fuel Company. When that company closed, he worked for a short time at Sears Roebuck and Company. That job was followed by many years at John Madden Construction Company, where he cultivated the talent and skills that would prove critical during one of the most important periods of his life.

When he moved to Chicago, Willie joined the Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, where he served as Sunday School Superintendent, Chairman of the Deacon Board, and member of the senior choir, among many other roles. He also accepted the call into ministry at the church under the leadership of Pastor Moses Fuller. He served Pleasant Hill for nearly 27 years.

On March 4, 1979, Willie was ordained as a minister. A year later, on July 7, 1980, Reverend Dugan organized a missionary in his Maywood home. The purpose of the mission was to help steer lost souls in his community to Christ and to serve the needs of the needy. The mission met every Monday evening at 7:30 PM and was conducted by Reverend Fuller. Eventually, the gathering would acquire a name, “Christian Unity Mission.” This mission would be the seed of a church–Christian Unity Missionary Baptist Church.

Under Pastor Dugan’s leadership, the Monday Night Mission grew bigger and stronger, until the Lord directed Pastor Dugan’s attention to a building on the corner of 22nd and Washington Boulevard in Bellwood, down the street from his Maywood home. The building used to be a laundromat, but Pastor Dugan would turn it into a place where people could come to wash their souls.

Pastor Dugan worked diligently trying to construct the laundromat into a building worthy of a church. After several months of toiling, he had built a legacy that he would pass down to his children. On May 29, 1982, Pastor Dugan and his congregation walked from his Maywood home into the converted laundromat at 2140 Washington Boulevard, which would become the first African-American Church in Bellwood.

In that church, Pastor Dugan would cultivate a spiritual legacy to complement the garden outside of his home. Under his leadership, he would nurture another generation of religious leaders: Rev. Jerry Barker, Prophetess Annette Barker, Reverend O’Neal Jackson, Minister Patricia Jackson, Mother Mary Thurmond and Minister Marcethia Scales.

On April 9, 2010, after thirty years in ministry, Pastor Dugan would be elevated to Honorary Presiding Bishop of the Christian Unity Missionary Baptist Church, where his son-in-law Rev. Jerry Barker and daughter Prophetess Annette Barker currently serve as pastor and co-pastor.

In addition to his spiritual legacy, Bishop Dugan also left a legacy of community service as a Maywood Park District Commissioner, former member of the Bellwood Lions Club, former member of the Proviso Council on Aging and the Maywood Task Force.

The Bishop leaves to cherish his memories: Five lovely daughters: Mildred Chisom, Marguerite Maggette (Jimmie), Carolyn White (Robert), Sandra Hayes and Rev. Annette Barker (Jerry). Two brothers: Louis Lee (Martha) and Johnnie Lee (Mary). Three sister: Alma Smith, Rosetta Shields and Shirley Ann Grandberry (Edgar). Thirteen grandchildren: Amelia, Mandrell, Corey (Millie) Alyse, LaVatryce, Katrina (Markell), Cassandra, Timothy (T.J.), Jonathan, Brandon, Cheldon and Ryan. Fifteen great-grandchildren: Geoffrey, Naeemah, Destini, Raheem, Siriah, Tyler, BreAnna, Marzarius, Treasure, Tonico, Sergio, Sophia, Keenan, Makayla and Maki.

A son-in-law, Louis Chisom; a grandson, Louis “Reese” Chisom; six siblings, Haywood Lee, Eddie Mae Burrage, Marcell (L.C.) Lee, George Lee, Christine Green and David Lee; and a grandchild, Maurice–all preceded him in death. VFP

To submit a loved one’s bio or obituary, please email content to thevillagefreepress@gmail.com. All content is subject to editing at the editor’s discretion. 

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