Emagene Willingham

Memorial Service

11:00 am
Saturday, July 20, 2024
University United Methodist Church
150 E. Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

Obituary of Emagene E Willingham

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Emagene E Willingham passed away peacefully to be with the Lord June 21st, 2024. Ema accepted Christ as her personal Savior and Lord at an early age.

She was born in Bainbridge, Georgia and was raised partly in Bainbridge, in New Bern, North Carolina, and in Buffalo, New York before her family eventually settled in Jacksonville, Florida. She was a graduate of Duncan H Fletcher Senior High School in 1955 and went on to graduate from Jacksonville University in 1959 receiving a Bachelor of Arts.

Soon after Ema married and relocated to Chapel Hill, North Carolina where she was a dedicated wife, became a wonderful mother of three, and a homemaker. She was an active member of the University United Methodist Church participating in the handbell choir and often assisting with communion services. She was a founding member of the P.E.O. Chapter AG in Chapel Hill and after 50 years of membership was considered a “Golden Girl” of the chapter.

In the early 1980’s she returned to school and obtained her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina, using it to help others in the community. She was a longtime member of the National Association of Social Workers dating back to 1982. She worked and retired from Duke University. While at Duke she worked within Human Resources providing counseling to employees and their families. Afterwords she opened a private Psychoanalytic practice specializing in family therapy and went on to obtain her Psychoanalytic Certification from The Psychoanalytic Institute of the Carolinas, an accredited Institute of The American Psychoanalytic Association. Ema was a great listener, always providing much love, empathy and understanding!

In addition to being a wife, a homemaker, and a mother, she enjoyed spending time with special friends, playing tennis, watching Tarheel basketball, helping with local estate sales, and exploring antique and consignment shops. She also enjoyed taking trips with loved ones to places like Atlanta GA, Charleston SC, Richmond VA, Sunset Beach NC, Cherry Grove SC, Morehead City NC, New Bern NC, Boone/ Valley Crucis NC area, and the likes thereof.

Over the past several years Ema enjoyed time spent with her loving son Rob. They spent time going on picnics, visiting friends and driving around Chapel Hill just smelling the roses and reminiscing. She is greatly missed!

Preceded in her passing are her parents Wooten and Louie Emanuel, and her brother Edgar Emanuel. She is survived by daughter, Tracy Doubts of Chapel Hill; son, Rob Willingham of Chapel Hill; son, Jeff Willingham (Shannon) of North Myrtle Beach SC; grandson, Parker Cannady (Samantha) of Youngsville NC; granddaughter, Laney Poole (Tré) of Mebane NC; granddaughter, Brittney Black (Eli) of Jackson Springs NC; grandson, Austin Willingham of Phoenix AZ; great grandson, Shepherd Cannady of Youngsville NC; and great granddaughter, Madelynn Cannady of Youngsville NC.

A memorial service will be held on July 20th at 11:00am at the University United Methodist Church 150 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514 with Reverend Justin Coleman, Senior Pastor, presiding. A reception will be held after the service at the church.

If desired, in lieu of flowers, friends may make donations in Ema’s memory to St Jude Children’s Hospital. Condolences may be made online at www.walkersfuneralservice.com.

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