Ethel Mae was born on February 11, 1940 in Fort Pillow, Tennessee to the union of Sim Friend Sr. and Ellen (Taylor) Friend. Ethel was the third of sixteen children. Ethel’s mom Ellen passed at a very young age, later her dad met and married Mary Louise Brown who affectionately became Ethel’s second mom and raised her as her own. Ethel’s parents along with seven siblings, Charles Jones, Sim Friend Jr., Gertie Friend, Lela Friend, Almeta Wright, Lawrence Friend Sr., and Ross L. Friend proceeded her in death.
Younger Year of Ethel Mae
Ethel Mae received her elementary education at the grammar school in Cherry Tennessee, she graduated from Lauderdale County High School in Tennessee. After graduating, in 1957 Ethel relocated to Chicago, IL where she began her career working in the Hotel Industry. After 37 years of dedicated service, Ethel retired. Ethel was very enthusiastic as a young girl, her brothers said that she would run and jump a ditch with no hesitation, and she did not play when it came to her family. She looked forward to family gatherings, family reunions, and her favorite was traveling down home to Tennessee for “Labor Day” weekend.
Ethel Mae’s Christian Journey
Ethel Mae accepted Christ at an early age, were she joined and was baptized at the Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church of Fort Pillow, Tn. When she relocated to Chicago she became a member of the United Baptist under the leadership of the late Pastor L.C. Caver. Pastor Caver later moved and became the Pastor of Great True Vine MBC. Ethel had a great love for the Lord when Pastor Caver became the leader of St. Jude Baptist Church she moved her membership and served faithfully. After the death of Pastor Caver, Ethel remained a dedicated member of the St Jude Church Family under the leadership of Pastor Alexander Jones until she became ill. Throughout Ethel’s Christian journey she held many titles, she was an ordained Deaconess, Choir Member, and member of the Mother’s board. Ethel introduced a majority of her family to Christ. No matter where Ethel went on vacation, through rain, sleet, and snow Ethel found a place to worship, she was a faithful servant of God.
Ethel Mae’s Heart & Soul
Ethel Mae met Johnny Rice in 1958 and to this union three children were born Rosalyn, Christopher, and Joni. Like any other mom, Ethel loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. She loved family in general and was a very sweet person who would open her home and heart to those in need. Ethel’s wit and sense of humor lives on in a creative way. She named all three of her children. She named all of Rosalyn’s children and both of Joni’s sons. She provided either names or nicknames for most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. The following nick names were created by Ethel: Roslyn (Sue Ellyn), Alexis (FuFu), Jason Alexander (A.J.), Tamya (MiMi), Alicia (Fat Baby), Lanyla (CoCo), and Javon (Bunk). Ethel’s love Johnny, her daughter Rosalyn, and her grandson Travis proceeded her in death.
Legacy of Ethel Mae
Ethel Mae departed this earthly home on April 1, 2022 surrounded by her loving family. She leaves to cherish memories and carry on her legacy one son Christopher Rice, one daughter Joni Rice, five grandchildren Myles, Candice, Adam, Amber, and Chad. Eleven great grandchildren J’Von, Tamya, Tykell, Jason, Jayden, Alicia, Alexis, Myles Jr., Keanu, Chad Jr., and Lanyla. One sister Elvernia Alston of Henning, Tn., seven brothers John (Diana) Friend, Abraham (Edna) Friend, C.J. (Lisa) Friend of Henning, Tn. Robert L. (Terrie) Friend, Robert T. Friend, T.J. (Judy) Friend, and Steve Friend all of Chicago, IL. Three special nieces whom she called “My girls” Patrisha, Erica, and Rosette. A special cousin Rob Ware, three special cousins who were more like sisters, Dorothy Ware, Flossie Ware, and Fannie Early. A special cousin who was more like a brother, Ivory Ware. A host of loving family and friends. Annette Taylor who took amazing care of her, and her St. Jude Church Family whom she loved dearly.