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Westhaven Memorial Funeral Home, Inc.

Elijah Forkner

10/28/1935 - 06/26/2020

Obituary for Elijah Forkner

Funeral services will be Friday, July 3, 2020 at 11:30 a.m., Garden Memorial Park, 8001 Highway 49, Jackson, MS 39209.

Mr. Elijah Forkner entered his earthly life on October 28, 1935 as the first child of Junus Forkner and Eveliner Cosey. He spent his childhood in the Bay Ridge Community where he was reared by his beloved “Aunt Shep” and Uncle Jessie. As a young boy, Elijah attended Bay Ridge Elementary. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, riding horses and shooting BB guns with cousin/best friend, Johnny Harris. The two spent a lot of time together and formed a friendship which lasted a lifetime. Elijah attended Johnson High School, where he played football and basketball. Elijah spent time working and traveling in New Orleans and Baton Rouge during his late teen, early adult years. Elijah attended Coahoma Junior College on a football scholarship and continued his college education at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. He studied education receiving both Bachelors and Masters degrees. It was during this time that he met the former Juanita Rose Lawyer, also an aspiring teacher, who would later become his wife. During this time, he worked on civil rights campaigns with Medgar Evers and the NAACP. He also pledged Kappa Alpha Psi during this time, becoming a life time member. Mr. Forkner taught school for thirty years in the Jackson Public School System, where he touched the lives of many students by instilling hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. Elijah was well-loved and respected in his community. A barber since childhood, Elijah cut hair throughout college, setting up a barber chair in both the boys’ and girls’ dorms. He later became a licensed cosmetologist in order to care for his daughters’ hair. He took pride in doing roller sets producing beautiful bouncing curls. Elijah’s barbershop was a place of community, political banter, stories of hunting and fishing, laughter, and a place to gather with old and new friends. After retiring from teaching, Elijah spent his time taking fishing trips, hosting card games, calling and visiting friends and tending to his beloved gardens. He loved planting many flowers, fruits trees, and vegetables. Anyone visiting would leave with an armful of garden gifts. Elijah enjoyed traveling, cooking and baking, especially pecan pies, sweet potato pies and his famous red velvet cakes during the holidays. Elijah was preceded in death by his devoted wife of 54 years, Juanita Rose Forkner; parents, Junus Forkner and Eveliner Williams; step-father, Columbus Williams, Sr., aunt and uncle, Jessie and Stella Harris (Shep); aunt, Alice Johnson; grandparents, J.H. Cosey and Betsy Cosey; in laws, Cyrus and Lillie Lawyer; and special friends, Newton Handy, Kelly Graham, Reverend Jessie Sutton, Jr., and Robert L.T. Smith. Elijah leaves to cherish his memory his children, Gertrude Lawrence, Gregory Lawrence (April), Winfred Forkner, Jewel Forkner, Mimi Kaye Forkner-Berry (John), Betsy Rose Randolph (Alfred), and Tamika Anne Forkner (Joseph Evans); siblings, Horace Williams, Hazel Stewart, Columbus Stewart, and Walter Williams; and a host of grandchildren, cousins, nieces, nephews, and special friends. Mr. Forkner entered into eternal rest on Friday, June 26, 2020 at the age of 84.

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