November 4, 1926 ~ March 12, 2019
Elise Kelker was born November 4, 1926 in Louisiana to the late Richard and Elnora Graham. Elise was the youngest of six children, three brothers, Leroy, Richard, and Charles and two sisters, Bernice and Grace, all of which preceded her in death. Elise, although born in Louisiana, grew up in Mississippi and began her formal education at Pleasant Grove Elementary School. She later attended high school at Southern Christian Institute in Edwards, Mississippi. After high school, Elise married her schoolmate Edward Dalton Kelker (preceded her death) and to this union their first child, Charles Henry Kelker was born. Several years later they moved to Los Angeles, California, where three additional children were born, another son, Edward Austin (Butch) Kelker, and two daughters, Carolyn and Deborah Kelker. Both of her sons, Charles Henry and Edward, and her youngest daughter Deborah preceded her in death.
Elise was fondly known by her cousins and husband as “Wee”, and as Mother Kelker to her church family but to all the rest of us she was our “Mimi” or Grandma Mimi. Mimi loved sharing her life with her family and friends. She especially loved the Sunday family dinners, where her nieces, nephews, children, and grandchildren gathered together to feast and enjoy a friendly game of Spades, Gin Rummy or Bid Whist. It’s amazing to see how Mimi had such a strong impact on the younger generation. She would nurture and correct all who were around her, and it was all welcomed because everyone knew it was all done out of love. And when things were presented to her that seemed to have no explanation, she would reply “It Is.. What It Is”â€¦ “Give it to God”
Elise was a fun, loving, caring, generous, kind, soft spoken, and an amazingly strong woman yet so gentle. She was a virtuous woman, a woman of principle and high morals, a graceful woman full of integrity. Elise was the Graham Family Matriarch; she was fearless, greatly loved, highly respected and was the glue that held her family together. On any given day, she would be blessed with visits from her Grandchildren, Nephews, Nieces and her spiritual Son as they would randomly stop by to check on her. Elise always started her day in private prayer time with God, and when she prayed, she forgot no one, including our President, (whomever it was at the time) along with our Nation, followed by her morning call from her dear friend Mother Patricia Johnson.
Elise dedicated her life to Christ, at an early age she attended Penile C.O.G.I.C. under Pastor Zachary Murray where she was baptized, she later attended Holy Temple C.O.G.I.C. and worked faithfully under Pastor Henry Byars. Mother Elise Kelker became a member of Saints Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in 1992, under the leadership of her Son in the gospel, Elder William J. Smith. The pastor always made known to the congregation that she was his mother and, he gave her that respect. Along with her commitment to Christ, one of her duties was to be a prayerful liaison between the Pastor and the members. She was a prayer warrior that watched her conduct in such a way that she was not just talking about a holy life, she lived a consecrated life. As the church mother, she was an example to be admired. A leader among other mothers who made sure the vision of the pastor was not hindered by the actions of the congregation. That’s if she saw any ungodly actionsâ€¦.and believe, she was looking.
She wore many hats at Saints Tabernacle: Church Mother for 27 years, President of the Women’s Department, prepared Communion directing the committee in their duties, Counselor for the women and men of the church, member of the Church Board, President of the Mother’s Board, Exhorter of the Word of God, Sunday School Teacher, Street Witnessing, Prayer Warrior, Tither and any other area needing attention. She was a part of the total operation of the church.
Mother Kelker had an open heart to receive the broken hearted and the down trodden. She had the determination to encourage all to make Jesus Christ their choice. If she said it to one, she had said it to manyâ€¦.”You can make it.”
MOTHER ELISE KELKER received the “UNSUNG HERO AWARD”, July 7, 2011, from Mother Gloria Lynch, Supervisor of the Women’s Department of Southern California 2nd Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, who recognized her faithfulness and dedication to Ministry. Her works were known from her local church to the National and by Almighty God. Mother Kelker was not one to ‘sing her own praises’ about her work in Ministry. Others saw and recognized her faith unto good worksâ€¦ all to the glory of God. Mother Lynch saw and wanted Mother to know that her work is not in vain. Her love, wisdom and good works are still ministering to others!
When Mimi could no longer care for herself she was cared for by her daughter Carolyn, & nieces Ira and Desiree, and other family members would gladly step in to give relief time to those caring for her. Grandma’s grandchildren all believed it was an honor to care for her to the very end, and they did.
On Tuesday morning, March 12, 2019, Elise departed her earthly life. She leaves to cherish her memoryâ€¦. Her daughter, Carolyn Jacobs, a daughter in law; Elizabeth Floyd, a son in law; Larry Jackson, a sister in law Johnnie B. Johnson, 16 grandchildren; Derick, Janniece, Tamera, Tanya (Andrew) LaTescia, Anthony (Celeste), Angela (Michael), Ava (Eric), Devon (Shareka), Kimberly, Tracy, Kim (Karen), Quiana, Andre, Alexsis, Amanda, 19 Great Grands; Melody, Ramius, Brandon (Ashley), Taylor, Anthony Jr., Michelle, Ashley, Tracy, Maloni, Bre, Sadie, Xavier, Trinity, Kimiyah, Kadeja, Joseph, Nisah, Nehemiah, Noah, 6 Great Great Grands; Yeniyah, Harmoni, Maliyah A., Maliyah H., Brielle, Ace Anthony, a host of Nieces, Nephews, Cousins and Great Friends.
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