Floral 02

Odessa (Willingham) Snellings

March 2, 1926 ~ March 27, 2021 (age 95)


Odessa W. Snellings was born March 2nd, 1926 in Wendell, North Carolina, and reared by her late uncle John Willingham and his wife Rosa. She transitioned this life peacefully in the comfort of home on March 27, 2021.

Early in life she met her future husband, the late Hosie Lee Thomas and they were united in holy matrimony on September 25, 1943.   The union was blessed with two children, Patricia (Pat) and Johnese (Bobbie) whom she loved and adored.  Later, the family relocated to Raleigh.

Odessa, indeed, touched the lives of many through her love for Jehovah, her family and others.  She dedicated her life to Jehovah in the early 60’s and remained a vibrant and faithful servant until her death. She was passionate about the kingdom work and never neglected spreading the ministry for many years prior to her failing health.

Odessa worked at Westinghouse Electric Corporation where she retired after twenty years of dedicated service. In the late 80’s, she went on to pursue an Associate Degree in Cosmetology and enjoyed her work as a beautician.  Her tenacity, dedication and perseverance were admirable qualities that led her daughters to become the best that they could be as strong women of color.

After her retirement from Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Odessa continued to devote time to serving others.  She worked as a Nanny for a number of families who loved her dearly.  She nurtured and cared for their children, as if they were her own,  allowing the parents to work  away from home with a peace of mind.  These babies who are now young adults and college students have consistently remained close remembering her in very special ways.

Odessa has been an inspiration to many who have come to know and love her.  She enjoyed cooking and always wanted to have enough to eat in case someone stopped by.  She made it known that she had been a short-order cook which was one of her earlier jobs. She was an excellent cook.

As her health declined, she was endeared by many of her caregivers, who found her to have a great sense of humor.  Also, she did not hold back on letting them know how things should be done.

Her life truly reflects one of purpose, dedication and commitment.  Like Paul, on that day she can say, “I have fought the fine fight, I have run the race to the finish, I have observed the faith” - 2 Timothy 4:7. 

Odessa W. Snellings leaves behind many to cherish her memories; her devoted daughter, Patricia T. Christmas of Raleigh, NC,  her daughter, Johnese Dubois (David) of  Princeton, NC; grandson, Eric Thomas of Gilbert, Arizona, granddaughter, Papper Bristol (Chris) of Greensboro, NC; four great grandchildren, Jacob, Lake, Hailey and Jack ; sister, Irene Holden of Raleigh; two step-daughters,  one step-son and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and numerous friends.

Extended family; Pete and Nancy Tannenbaum, Ally and Charlotte, Nadine Mercer and Jazmeen Arielle Mercer. 

Jehovah's Witnesses Memorial service will be held via zoom at 10:30 am on Saturday, April 3, 2021.  

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The family visitation will be held at 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm on Saturday, April 3, 2021 at Lea Funeral Home, 2500 Poole Road, Raleigh, NC 27610 and will be live streamed.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Odessa (Willingham) Snellings, please visit our floral store.


April 3, 2021

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Lea Funeral Home Chapel
2500 Poole Road
Raleigh, NC 27610

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