Nature 19

Gracie Mae Pinkney

April 6, 1924 ~ July 17, 2021 (age 97)



Gracie Mae Watkins Pinkney was born on April 6, 1924 in Saxton, Missouri to parents of Nathalie Miller and James Colom. Nathalie passed away at an early age leaving Gracie Mae and her two sisters, Florida Mae and Ruby Mae, to be raised by their grandmother, Elizabeth Miller in Mississippi, along with her own 12 children. Elizabeth “Mama” moved the family to California in 1940 and they settled in Madera. In 1942, Gracie met and married Jerry William Watkins. To this union came nine children. They began their lives together in Alameda then settled in Oakland, California and joined Bethel Baptist Church. Gracie worked seasonal at Del Monte Cannery each year. She also worked at Noble Nursing Home for over 20 years. In 1970, the family joined Agnes Memorial COGIC under Bishop Marshall Q.C. Simmons where she sang praises and worked in the church.

Gracie’s husband Jerry passed away in 1974. She met and married William Pinkney and became a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness. She loved attending the meetings and conventions of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation. Each year she looked forward to their memorial. However, she still trusted and believed in the power of the Holy Ghost. Gracie and William Pinkney moved to Chowchilla, California in 1975 where she lived until her transition. William Pinkney also preceded her in death.

Gracie loved the country life. She looked forward to having her grandchildren come down each summer. She had hogs, chickens, and cows. She loved sitting on the porch picking greens and peas. She would often make grape jelly and canned peaches. Gracie had many hobbies. She loved to do upholstery and crafts and was a great cook. She was famous for her homemade biscuits, tea cakes, butter rolls and apple turnovers.

Gracie’s passion was yard sales. She owned Miss Gracie’s Closet wherein the community could buy clothing from her, or if they were in need, she would freely give to them. She was a charter member of the Fairmead Community and Friends Group, often allowing the meetings to be held at her home. She made her home available for community food, clothing and water distributions.

Gracie was a wonderful mother who loved her children. She was most happy when the grandchildren were around her. She was a friend to all. You could always come to her house for a home-cooked meal, clothes and a place to stay. Her home was always open to friends and family. She was loving, kind and hospitable to all. Her smile would light up the room.

She loved to watch The Price is Right and Family Feud and was pretty good at getting the right answers. She liked working word search puzzles and reading the Word without glasses. She had a great memory and could remember things from her childhood. She loved to sing and always had a song in her heart. Her song all day was “Lord I’m in your care.” She always sung her version of “You gotta trust God.”

Gracie had many names: Mother, Mommy, Grandmommy, Grandma, Gracie Mae, Miss Gracie, and Butterfly. At 97 years, she was still in her right mind. She loved the Lord and taught her children to love each other, and to trust, depend, and believe in Jesus Christ. Gracie lived to see five generations to enjoy in her life.

Gracie passed away on July 17, 2021 at the age of 97 years. She leaves to cherish her memory all nine of her children: Betty Williams, Barbara Nelson (Clyde deceased), Lavern Watkins, Ruby Swafford (Arthur), Freddie Watkins (Connie), Danny Watkins (Claudette), Linda Imrie (Charles deceased), Dennis Watkins (Gail), and Starr Goode (Lynn). Grandchildren: Earleen Williams Alexander (Donald), Earl K Williams, Jr. (deceased), Danah Michelle Williams, Pamela McGuire, Gracie Nelson, Fanta Washington (William), Robert Pier (Pamela), Jerry Wafer, Rhasan Wafer (Whitney), Kasey Swafford, Stacey Swafford Nixon (Sam), Tracey Swafford, Frederick Watkins (Nghi), Desmond Watkins (Lisette), Jason Watkins, Reosha Watkins, David Watkins, Starr Glynn (Marquese), Jameelah Scott, Marquetta Gaines, Porsche Gaines, and John Frederick Gaines Jr. 27 Great Grandchildren and 14 Great-Great Grandchildren. Sister-in-law Mary Watkins of Los Angeles, California. Two nieces: Nathalie Patricia Bailey and Beverly Phillips, and one nephew: Michael Brashear. Goddaughter: Tauheedah Ali. Special friend: Mary Eddings. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 29, 2021, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at Jay Chapel, Madera, CA

Funeral service will be on Friday, July 30, 2021, 10:00 a.m. at Jay Chapel, Madera, CA

Followed by an interment at Chowchilla District Cemetery

To send flowers to Gracie's family, please visit our floral store.


Funeral Service
July 30, 2021

10:00 AM
Jay Chapel
1121 Roberts Ave
Madera, CA 93637

Video is available for this event


Chowchilla Cemetery
23359 Road 14 1/2
Chowchilla, CA 93610

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