Shirley Mae Holness was a beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother. "sister", and friend. On Saturday, September 4, 2021 at the age of 86 while residing at the Hayes Manor, Retirement Home in Philadelphia, PA God sent his angel down to bring sister Shirley to take her rest in the loving arms of Jesus. She was born into an affluent family on March 17, 1935, to the late Rufus J. Bishop, Jr. (Grandpop Tunk) a united States Navy Chief Petty Officer and Kathleen Ford Bishop both of Brooklyn, NY. Although she was raised by her paternal grandparents, Delia Mae Bishop, New Bern, NC and Rufus J. Bishop, Sr., Brooklyn, NY. Her maternal grandparents Violet and Melvin Ford of Barbados, WI, Were always close by to provide continued nurturing and support.
Shirley graduated from the highly regarded Girls High School in Brooklyn, "Bed-Stuy," NY. She gained employment as a librarian with the Brooklyn Public Library. She attended Barush College in New York, NY., Where she studied Library Science to advancement her career. Shirley retired as an Associate Librarian with over 30 years of service, 1959 to 1990. Shirley's spiritual formation began as a young child at First A.M.E Zion Church, Brooklyn, NY, Where her grandparents, MR, and Mrs. Rufus Bishop, Sr. Sent her and her brother Kenneth Bishop to Sunday School. There, at first A.M.E, in 1956, she wed the beloved William (Bill) Sadler Jr. From this Union two children were born: Shanda Sadler King, Philadelphia, PA and Anthony (Tony) Sadler, Wilmington, Delaware. She transferred her membership from First A.M.E Zion Church to Calvary A.M.E Zion Church, Long Island, NY. In 1988, She met and wed The Reverend Dr. Donald Chamberlain Holness, Sr. Shirley continued to Work at the Brooklyn Public Library while traveling back and fourth between New York and North Carolina. In 1990 they permanently relocated to Winston Salem, North Carolina. Several years later, Shirley relocated to Salisbury, NC and became a member of New Hope A.M.E Zion and served on the Steward Board, Deaconess Board, and president of the Lay Council. Eventually, she transferred her membership to White Rock A.M.E Zion Church, Granite Quarry, NC.
In Late 2018, due to health challenges Shirley's daughter, Shanda and her granddaughter, Satisha relocated her to be closer to family and she reluctantly transferred her membership from White Rock A.M.E Zion Church, Reverend Thomas Lee, Pastor, North Carolina, to Wesley A.M.E Zion Church, Philadelphia, PA under the pastorate of Revered Michael A. King, Pastor/Presiding Elder of the Philadelphia District. She loved her A.M.E. Zion church Family Dearly and was proud to serve, no matter where she was located. She remained a devoted servant and loved the LORD. Shirley was a Zionite through and through.
A.M.E Zion Ministries Shirley was consecrated a Deaconess and Served Faithfully. AARP Faith-Based Information Coordinator: she served on behalf of White Rock AME Zion Church. Christian Education Dept.: Committed, member of the local Sunday School and Attended Christian Education Conventions and Mid-Winter Meetings. Lay Council: She was a Life Member and Served for several years as Local Lay council President at the New Hope AME Zion Church. Shirley traveled to the Connectional Lay Council Convocations and Conventions. Women's Home and Overseas Missionary Society (WHOMS): She was a Life Member and served as a District Officer, YAMS coordinator and as an Ecumenical Representative for the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church women. She attended many WHOMS Leadership Training, and Conventions. Salisbury-Rowan church Women United. She was an active participant. Western North Carolina Conference: Shirley attended Check-up Meetings; Leadership Training; Annual conferences and Special events. International Ministers' Spouses & Widows (ers) Fellowship: Shirley was an active member when she was married to the late Dr. Donald C. Holness, Sr. General Conference Delegate: She was an elected delegate to several sessions and on several occasions served in the overseas delegation. Global Missions: She visited A.M.E Zion Churches and meetings in Jamaica and the Bahamas, WI. Connectional Council: Shirley served as a member of the Restructuring Commission and attended meetings of the Connectional Council. International Ministers and Lay Association: Shirley Participated in the general Conference Legislation Developments Seminars and the Annual Meetings. Shirley was preceded in death by her parents: Rufus Bishop, Jr. and Kathleen Bishop; grandparents Rufus Bishop, Sr. Delia Mae Bishop; Violet and Melvin Ford; and Husband s William (Bill) Sadler, Jr. and Reverend Dr. Donald Chamberlain Holness, Our pillar of strength for 60-plus years leaves the following legacy, her devoted children: Shanda Sadler King, Anthony (Tony) Sadler, son in Law Jeffrey (Jeff) King, Philadelphia, PA; daughter in law Opra Sadler, Wilmington, Delaware Shirley also leaves to celebrate her life and cherish her legacy : 6 grandchildren: Satisha (Tee-Tee) Gibbs, Brooklyn, New York, Kareem Gibbs, Jersey City, NJ, Gadell Gibbs, Tianna Gregory, Deyshawn Luck, Brooklyn, NY; and Kadeem Sadler, Wilmington, Delaware, 4 great Grandchildren: Serenity and Nasurdeen Gibbs, Queens, NY., Amir Gibbs and Prince Armstrong, Brooklyn, NY and Lena Thompson, Wilmington, Delaware. In addition, Shirley is mourned by several nieces, nephews, first cousins, godchildren, Church Community/leaders, (Sister-friends), friends and coll.