Lena East

Passed 12/17/2020

Obituary for Lena East

Viewing Wednesday December 30, 2020 10:00-11:00 AM St. Matthews AME Church 336 Oakwood Ave Orange, NJ

Funeral services Wednesday December 30, 2020 11:00 AM St. Matthews AME Church 336 Oakwood Ave Orange, NJ

Interment Heavenly Rest Memorial Park E. Hanover, NJ

STREAMING INFORMATION Website: https://stmatthewame.org/streaming.html

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stmatthewamechurch/

Lena Marie East Life-long East Orange resident, Lena Marie East, (89), born in Orange, New Jersey on March 18, 1931 to the late George Russell Banks and Ola Beatrice Banks (Smith) of Richmond, Virginia departed this life on Thursday, December 17, 2020 in Orange, NJ. Russell (as he was known) passed suddenly in 1938 leaving Beatrice, who would lovingly become known to her grand/great grandchildren as “Bea Bea” to raise Lena and her three older sisters; Althea, Winifred and Muriel. The four of them becoming known as the fabulous “Banks Girls.” Soon after graduation from East Orange High School, Lena and John R. East of New Brunswick, NJ married in September 1949. From this union three children were born; John Jr., Derek and Jacqueline. They were very proud parents with all three children graduating from HBCU’s. John and Lena belonged to a social organization called “THE CLUB” composed of over 35 couples of family members and friends, whom vacationed, travelled, socialized, and prayed together while addressing social issues and causes of the day. This was an integral part of “the village” which helped in the raising and mentoring of their young family for well over 50 years. In 1964 Lena became a school crossing guard for the City of East Orange assigned to the corner of William and North Clinton Streets where she served for 39 years safely and lovingly crossing generations of students on their way to and from school. Lena retired in 2003 and began to enjoy spending more time with her grand/great grandchildren . Over the years she enjoyed seeing the 100’s or 1,000’s of students who would come and say “Hi Mrs. East you used to be my crossing guard and my children’s too.” Lena Marie East peacefully transitioned to eternal rest in the early hours of a crisp snowy December morning. Lena was predeceased by the love of her life and husband of 52 years, John R. East, Sr. Lena was also predeceased by her sisters and brothers in-law; Althea Giles (William), Winifred Wilson (Elihu) and Muriel Brown (Louis), as well as son in-law, Waymon L. Hall, Jr. Left to cherish their memories of Lena are her children John R. East Jr. of North Brunswick NJ, Derek M. East Sr. (Angela) of Austell GA and Jacqueline East-Ross (Robert) of West Orange NJ; 7 Grandchildren, 5 Great Grandchildren and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives and friends. A private family home going service will be held 11 am Wednesday, December 30, 2020 at St. Matthew AME Church 336 Oakwood Ave. Orange, NJ 07050 preceded by screening & socially distant walk-by viewing at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the United Negro College Fund in Lena’s name. Arrangements provided by the James E. Churchman, Jr. Funeral Home. For service and live streaming information Visit www.churchmanfuneralhome.com


Guest Book

I was a little boy (1973) and Ms. East would make sure I behaved while crossing the street. She did not play while trying to protect us. Currently, I am a Math Professor at an HBCU, perhaps, because of her caring attitude towards students. Thank you Ms. East..I will never forget you. Reginald W.

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We had the candy store on the corner of William and Clinton where Ms. East would come in and sit and talk during her break. Such a wonderful lady..RIP Ms. East! Sincerely, Alexsis Deli

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To my beautiful cousins. Condolences and prayers from Ohio. We love you all so dearly and pray for peace and laughter in memory ofAunt Lena. Xoxo

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Lena was a joy to know; and she spread a lot of sunshine along the way, as she weaved in and out of people's lives; she knew how to do it, too, with ease! Thanks to the East Family for sharing this beautiful Soul with us!! We are all better people for having Lena in our lives!!

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Dear John and the East Family. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you during this time of bereavement. May God surround you with his comfort, and may his ambassadors in the form of family and friends be steadfast at your side. Jennifer Keyser Bryan

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Dear Jackie and Derek, My deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your mother. Many thoughts and prayers are with you at this sad time. Carol Gaither Clark

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Dear Jackie and family, We extend our condolences to you and your family and will continue to pray for your comfort in this time. God Bless Judy and Wes

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Dear Jackie and Derek; Our sincere heartfelt condolences from my family to you and your family. Your mom was the iconic crossing guard, giving countless years service to the community. She was our guardian angel watching over us, correcting us and protecting us. As children we grew to love and respect Mrs. East - something that carried over into adulthood. It was always a pleasure to see her and be greeted with a smile and a "Hi Chucky." Thank you for sharing her with us. God's Blessing and Love, Chucky & Celine Hall and family

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To Jackie and family, I extend my deepest heartfelt condolences to you and your family may GOD continue to strengthen you during these difficult times. God Bless! Tangee

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Dearest Jackie, Robert, Jerel, Janell and Jayla: May you find comfort and peace in your faith and your family during this very difficult time of mourning. Your Mom was a lovely woman and giving spirit. Rest assured that the angels have welcomed her with gratitude hearts and welcoming arms. With love, Denise Gray-Felder and Donald Felder, Korbin, Kristina and Enoch Claude.

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My condolences to the family. You are on my prayers Derek. Earth has no sorrows that Heaven can not heal

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Heartfelt condolences to the family. While her soul transitions, her spirit shall forever remain as a constant reminder of her love of family and community. As one of the many children who was under her watchful eye crossing the street, I will forever appreciate her presence in my life. Mark & Nyna Allen and family.

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Your family has my condolences thru these tough times. May God continue to bless you with peace and strength.

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Beloved East family, May the Mighty hand of God Guide and Protect Mrs East and may she Rest in Peace. Love, Donald Vest and Almaz Teferra

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Previous Condolences left by Calvin Vismale Jr.

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Allow me to express my heartfelt condolences at this time of bereavement. Know that Angels surround you as they escort Her Home to dwell in the House of the Heavenly Host Forever! I am so grateful to have benefited from her gift of Legacy that she brought into the World who shared her Spirit of Joy, Love and Service with me and so many by way of her children. My she Rest in Peace and Power.

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To the East family with deepest sympathy I will always be thankful for kindness shown me by your mother and father. James Taitt

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To the East family: Praying that God keeps the entire family In the comfort of His arms during your time of bereavement Nathaniel and Michele Baskerville Couram

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Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.

- James E. Churchman, Jr. Funeral Home | Newark, NJ