Zezalee Smalls, 84 of Beaufort, SC died Tuesday, September 17, 2019 at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. She was the wife of Reverend Arthur Smalls. Visitation will be held from 5-7 pm Sunday, September 22, 2019 at Faith Memorial Baptist Church on St. Helena Island, SC. Funeral services will be held 2 pm Monday, September 23, 2019 also at Faith Memorial Baptist Church on St. Helena Island, SC. Allen Funeral Home of Beaufort in charge.
On Wednesday, September 17, 2019 Zezalee Johnson Smalls heard the call of one who sustained and gave her strength of heart saying come home my child, and she entered into eternal rest at the Beaufort Memorial Hospital in the presence of her loved ones. She was preceded in death by two children; a son, Kenneth Smalls Sr., and a daughter, Eleanor Mack.
Zezalee Johnson Smalls was born March 28, 1935 to the parents of Ben “Candy” Johnson and Helen “Pink” Johnson of Scott Plantation on St. Helena Island. Zezalee was always a trailblazer. She attended, and was a member of the final graduating class of the National Historic Landmark Penn Normal Industrial and Agricultural School in 1953. She later attended St. Augustine College in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Vocational Division of Nursing of the Elizabeth, New Jersey, and received her Associates Degree in Nursing from Armstrong State College in Savannah, Ga. Continuing her history-making legacy, Zezalee was a proud supporter and volunteer public health nurse who marched with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s. She made history as the first African-American nurse employed with the US Naval Hospital Beaufort where saw many new lives come into this world through her superior excellence as an obstetrical nurse for over 33 years. Zezalee was the Vice-President of the Gullah Church Nursing Association and served as a faithful member of the Missionary Board, Health Ministry Chairperson and Christian Education Instructor for Faith Memorial Baptist Church. She was a Certified Grief Counselor and later in life was the Nurse Emeritus for New Life Christian Academy.
Among her other most important accomplishments, she was a wife to Reverend Arthur C. Smalls, Sr. whom she leaves to cherish her memories, with 64 years of holy matrimony. She also leaves holding dear to her memories: son, Arthur Smalls, Jr. (Ruth) Shreveport, LA; daughter, Marcie Small (Rodney) St. Helena Island; daughter in law, Sundra Smalls Bossier City, LA and son in law, Henry Mack Atlanta, GA; one brother, Ben Johnson (Ruthie) St. Helena Island; three sisters, Deloris Woodard (John) Shreveport, LA, Noetha White (Haram) and Lisa Josey Lai-Fang (Clayton) both St. Helena Island; Saundra Renee Smith (Michael) St. Helena Island, Pastor Charles Cuthbert (Arthur Mae) Summerville, SC, Shirley Lee Gastonia, NC, Ricky Sweatman of New York, Bernard Sweatman of Georgia, Stanley Pryor Columbia, SC, and Anthony Williams, Grays Hill, SC; one sister in law, Eleanor Thompson (Alfonzo) Tampa, FL; one brother in law, James Peter Smalls, Sr. St. Helena Island; nine grandchildren, thirty-two great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends including special friends Nersene McDomick, Christina (Katie) Pope, Geneva Small, Ervena Faulkner, Peggy Allard, and Arabelle Fripp. She had an immense fondness for two daughters: Hilda Fyall of Beaufort, SC and Veronica Miller of New Orleans, LA; along with a most devoted and compassionate caregiver, Sharon White; above all, she leaves a forever mark on our hearts and all the lives of those that she has touched.