BROWNSVILLE—Jessie Mae Reed lived all 100 years of her life inside less than one square mile, yet the Brownsville native’s influence will travel the globe changing lives in a real and lasting way.
Reed, who passed away 24 days short of her 101st birthday last November, bequeathed $10,000 to the Cooperative Program of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Through the Cooperative Program, her gift will join those from Southern Baptists representing more than 2,400 KBC churches to help start new church plants, train church leaders, and fund missionaries serving across North American and around the world.
“Mrs. Reed’s legacy gift is a great example of the Cooperative Program’s eternal reach throughout the world, touching lives for Christ even beyond her long earthly life of over 100 years,” said Lowell Ashby, KBC Finance and Business Services Team Leader.
Reed’s passion for sharing the love and redeeming message of Jesus Christ likely came from her years of service with the Woman’s Missionary Union at Brownsville Missionary Baptist Church, said niece Katie Ashley of Brownsville.
“She was very much missions-minded. She knew what she was doing,” Ashley said. “She made this decision long ago.”
Ashley described her Aunt Jessie as an active church member who believed that through the Cooperative Program her gift would have the ability to reach more people than she, or even a single church, could from rural Edmondson County.
“She was a very God-loving, people-loving person,” Ashley said.
Calvin Bond, pastor of Brownsville Missionary Baptist Church, said Reed joined the church in baptism in 1924 and remained a faithful member until her death. She not only served with WMU, but also as a Sunday School teacher and with Vacation Bible School.
He fondly recalled Reed’s independent spirit and dedication to regular attendance by remarking how at 99 she was still driving herself to church.
“Ms. Jessie was a great lady,” said Bond. “She was one of the sweetest Christians you’ll ever meet.”
Reed was one of seven siblings and spent her whole life in Brownsville, always living within sight of the house where she was born. She married Cortland Reed when a teenager in 1931 and began her teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse. Ashley said the pair were never able to have children of their own, so Reed showered her love on the many students while an elementary teacher for 28 years.
“She was a remarkable person,” Ashley said. (KBC)
Robin Cornetet is marketing and media relations associate with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.