Emma Lee (Stephenson) KirbyFebruary 7, 1944 ~ June 25, 2017 (age 73)
Emma Lee Stephenson Kirby was born on February 7, 1944 in Conway, North Carolina, Northampton County to the late Wallace Herman Stephenson and Elizabeth Frances Garris. Emma is preceded in death by two brothers Grimm E. Stephenson and Wallace Fernell Stephenson.
Emma attended Willis Hare High School in Pendleton, NC and graduated in 1962. While in high school, she was a member of the girl’s basketball team and was well known for her outstanding jump shot. At one game Emma scored an all-time high score of 44 points! Even the boy’s basketball coach wanted to recruit her on his team. She still holds the record to this day as far as we know. One of Emma's very close friends said that she was the female Michael Jordan of that era. She also attended North Carolina Central University, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education in 1966.
On May 2, 1970 Emma married her sweetheart and true love, Thomas Earl Kirby, Sr., whom she affectionately called "Honey". They both dedicated their lives to God together on July 10, 1970 by water baptismal as Jehovah's Witnesses. As a couple they devoted themselves to learning about God's Word the Bible and helped others to learn about Kingdom truths.
Emma was known for writing the most beautiful, heartfelt, encouraging Bible base letters and poems to neighbors and anyone who was in need of comfort. When Emma was unable to make her spiritual meetings, she would listen to the meetings on the Kingdom Hall Tie in Line. Emma looked forward to living in a peaceful world when the Bible's promise from Isaiah 33:24 will be fulfilled-"and no resident will say: I am sick".
Emma found great joy and pleasure having family and friends over for a wonderful meal and wholesome association. She also had a passion and flare for decorating and designing.
Emma has been described by friends and family as a warrior with a Championship Spirit, as well as one of the most graceful and kindest people you could ever meet. She also had a beautiful personality and a warm inviting smile. Truly to know her was to love her!
Left to cherish her memory is a very devoted husband of 47 years, Thomas Earl Kirby, Sr., Stepson, Thomas Earl Kirby, Jr. (Janaye) Raleigh, NC, two brothers: John Clifton Stephenson, (Katie) Upper Marlboro, MD and William Benjamin Stephenson (Conway, NC), three step grandsons: Ross Kirby, (Atlanta, GA), Christopher Johnson (Los Angeles, CA), Nycalis Johnson, (Las Vegas, NV). A host of relatives, nieces, nephews, close friends and a very large spiritual family; and also a very devoted spiritual sister, Ruth McCullers, all whom she dearly loved.
The family of Emma S. Kirby would like to express our deepest appreciation for all the expressions of loving support made by members of the many congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses and others who cherished their friendship with Emma.