With sincere compassion, we respectfully announce the transition of one of our own, Mrs. Merlentene Singleton Whitehurst. A native and resident of Montgomery, AL, "Momma Tina," as she was affectionately called, transitioned on Saturday, August 14th, 2021. There are few words to express the deep pain and sorrow of losing someone so dearly loved. A devoted mother, grandmother, sister, mentor, friend, Licensed Funeral Director, and tenured professional, Mrs. Whitehurst proudly gave more than two decades of dedicated service to the funeral service industry.
Ms. Whitehurst was a blessed child of God: A long-term and active member of Weeping Willow Missionary Baptist Church. Over the years, she had been a participant of the Usher Board, Pastor’s Aide/Hospitality Committee, the Nurses Guild, and the Bradford Singers Choir (later changed to United Voices). Throughout the years, she has been vocally thankful for the support of the church. She often expressed special gratitude to Reverend and Mrs. Kenneth Thomas for checking-in on her well-being.
A true daughter of Montgomery: Merlentene S. Whitehurst was born on Maxwell Airforce Base in 1952. Her early life was spent in Mobile Heights. While she started High School at Carver, she completed her education at South Philadelphia High School. Throughout the years, she has made homes in Philadelphia, PA; Omaha, NE; Midlothian, VA; and Warner Robbins, GA. However, Montgomery has always been the location of her heart and true home.
A born organizer: Ms. Whitehurst had a passion for organizing everyone and everything. This is because she was from humble beginnings and was determined that nothing in life went to waste. She believed that every person had a purpose and the capacity to positively impact others. She put her skills to work as a librarian in Nebraska, an associate in the Philadelphia Tax office, and as an associate in insurance companies in Georgia and Alabama.
She was a difference maker in her community: Merlentene drew strength from her personal challenges and lessons learned as a diabetic. She often coached fellow diabetics and also served as an active volunteer with The Alabama Kidney Foundation. Similarly, deeply impacted by her beloved mother’s experience with stroke, Ms. Whitehurst also volunteered with the local stroke support group. Another one of her passions was the Lincoln Cemetery Revitalization project. She deeply believed that we carry the responsibility of caring for our elders while we are graced to walk the earth with them and to see that they are not forgotten once they have moved on to glory.
A Licensed Funeral Professional: For over 20 years, Ms. Whitehurst was a humble and experienced leader as a Funeral Director in the Greater Montgomery area and surrounding communities. Ensuring that those who transitioned were handled with dignity and that their families were treated with care was not just her job, it was her calling. As a funeral director, she channeled her strength and calm to families. This effort eased their navigation during their most pressing times of grief. The daughters of Ms. Whitehurst give special thanks to Mr. Lawrence E. Jackson, Jr. for caring for us in the same way our mother cared for so many others.
Knowing Ms. Whitehurst: Knowing her was knowing that she loved her children and grandchildren. What you may not have been aware of is that this love turned her into an avid watcher of softball games, first for her daughter, Terina, and then for her granddaughter, Tia. Her most recent sports adventure was learning about soccer with her grandsons, Tre and Trent. When her youngest daughter, Terina, went to work at Kindred Hospice, Ms. Whitehurst went to work there as a volunteer. To Ms. Whitehurst, no person in need should go unaided. With her eldest daughter Dena, Ms. Whitehurst traveled the world. She trekked through the jungles and beaches of Costa Rica, spent time in resorts in Barbados and throughout the Caribbean, walked through the cobblestone streets of Venice, Italy, and finally saw the birthplace of civilization in Tanzania. She will be missed by her many friends and those from her adopted second home in Seattle, WA.
Preceded in Death By: Merlentene was preceded in death by her dearly beloved mother, Mary Alice Russell Cook, her father, James Earl Russell, two brothers, James “Junior” Russell and Julius A. Russell, and her ex-husband, Richard Singleton.
Remembered by All: Merlentene leaves to cherish her memories her daughters: Dena Singleton and Terina Singleton; her grandchildren: Tia Soleil Crampton, Tre Christopher Wells, and Trent Elijah Wells. The memories of Merlentene will also be treasured by her surviving siblings: Odessa Washington, Robert Earl (Linda) Russell, Janice (Ron) Sanders, Robert (Sharon) Cook, Donald (Cynthia) Cook, and Harriet Lewis: her surviving aunts and uncles: Pinkey D. Marshall, Zula P. Marshall, Lovie Moore, John E. Marshall, and Harry Cook. Additionally, nieces, nephews, and cousins will miss her ever calm and ever soothing presence along with the staff at Jackson Professional Funeral Services, Weeping Willow M.B.C. family, and many other funeral service professionals. Merlentene leaves memories of a lifetime of friendship and special occasions with Mattie Munford and Cynthia Jackson. Mattie will always remember her visit to Costa Rica with Tina, and Cynthia will always carry with her the days of playing hopscotch with Merlentene in Mobile Heights. Robert Cook, Sr., her stepfather, ex-son in-law, Tim Wells, Ida Mae Willis, Simone Singleton, Laura Russell, and the list of special friends who were part of her everyday commitment, kindness, and caring will also deeply miss her presence.
A public visitation will be held from 4-6PM Friday, August 20th, 2021, from the McComb Honorary Chapel of Jackson Professional Funeral Services. In compliance with government recommendations and J.P.F.S. public safety standards, individuals attending the public visitation are required to wear a mask or face covering at all times while inside the facility. Beginning at 2PM, on Saturday, August 21st, 2021, Mrs. Whitehurst will "lie in honor" at Weeping Willow Missionary Baptist Church, Montgomery, AL. A Homegoing Celebration will follow at 3PM with Reverend Kenneth Thomas delivering the eulogy and Reverend Dr. Ross officiating.
The proprietors and staff of Jackson Professional Funeral Services are grateful to the family for entrusting our caring and dedicated professionals with this heartbreaking task. We solicit your sincere support and prayers for her children, family, Jackson Professional Funeral Services family, and all who knew and loved her.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Merlentene (Singleton) Whitehurst, please visit our floral store.