Rev. Sheila Kingsberry-Burt was born Oct. 23, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York, to the late James Morrison Kingsberry and the late Sarah Lucille Judkins Johnson. She departed this life on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at Maria Parham Hospital in Henderson, North Carolina

As a member of a military family, she grew up and lived in many places. Of all of these places, she was fondest of Warren, Vance, and Franklin County, North Carolina, especially the Hecks Grove Community. Some of the schools she attended included the Hecks Grove Community School, South Warren Elementary School at its integration, and she also graduated from Vance Senior High School in 1972. She further attended St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina, where studied English Education.

Sheila would come to be known as a wordsmith. She was always eloquent, highly intelligent, an excellent writer, and a dynamic poet. She founded Fresh Ink Productions, through which she assisted people and numerous groups with graphic design and program production. She was a news reporter with many local newspapers. She also authored and edited a community newspaper called “Minding OUR Business,” along with many other publications featuring her own poetry as well as the work of others. She also recited and performed her poetry and creative works all over the country on her own and with a company called SheRob Productions co-founded with her dear friend, the late Robert Barnwell.

Sheila was a multi-talented and multi-skilled, Renaissance woman. As a community leader and activist, she was highly involved in every community where she lived and worked to make places better. She worked at WVSP Radio Station in Warrenton, North Carolina, as a radio personality. She was also an Adult Learning Coordinator and Adult Basic Education and GED teacher with Vance-Granville Community College, helping many learn to read, write, and obtain their GEDs and high school diplomas. She also worked as a Housing Coordinator with Warren Family Institute, helping numerous families deal with issues associated with poverty and obtaining affordable housing. Her love for justice and equity led her to become an outreach coordinator and grassroots organizer with the North Carolina Justice Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, advocating for impoverished people and creating campaigns and media to bring awareness and progress statewide. She supported and assisted in the campaigns of many political figures that she thought would help make places better, and she was an active member of the NAACP, the Hecks Grove Educational Council, and many other community groups.

Above all, Sheila was a woman of God. She was licensed and ordained as a minister at Jordan Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, where she was baptized and received Christ at an early age. She was also a faithful member of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona; Second Baptist Church and Hampton Avenue Church of Christ in Aiken, South Carolina; and Abundant Life Deliverance Center in Henderson, North Carolina. She was an alto singer with perfect pitch and a strong voice, a Bible teacher and scholar, and a lover of Sunday school.

In 2007, Sheila had some massive strokes that left her different, but the essence of Sheila always remained. Still eloquent, she would call things and people “beautiful” in her characteristic way. No one could make spinach pies and chicken salad like her. A single mother, the pride and joy of her life were her sons that she always bragged on and who made her extremely proud. Her pride for her sons was only rivaled by her love for her precious grandchildren that she spoiled and dared their parents to mess with.

She leaves to cherish her memory her sons, Ofayo V. Kingsberry (La Tonya) of San Antonio, Texas, and Hassan T. Kingsberry, Esq. (Francemise) of Wake Forest, North Carolina; her grandchildren, Alayshia and Reign Kingsberry of San Antonio, Texas; Jaymes Kingsberry of Panama City, Florida; and Hassan II and Keren Kingsberry of Wake Forest, North Carolina. Two of her grandchildren, Amira and Kelyn Kingsberry, predeceased her, as well as her two sisters, Chariot Kingsberry and Tracey Gregory. She also leaves to cherish her memory her aunts, Maggie Wilson of Henderson, North Carolina, and Ida Judkins of Brooklyn, New York; and her uncles, Douglas Judkins of Raleigh, North Carolina, and Willis Judkins of Manson, North Carolina; her nieces, Taylor Gregory of Durham, North Carolina; Raven Gregory of Tucson, Arizona; Devonne A. Haywood and Yanara Y. Porter of Brooklyn, New York; her nephews, Kameron and Rashaad Gregory of Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Corondi Kingsberry of Brooklyn, New York; her goddaughter, Shanta Clark of Henderson, North Carolina; and a host of cousins, relatives, and friends. Sheila deeply loved her family and friends, and she will be greatly missed. She was truly one of a kind.

A graveside funeral service was held on Friday, November 27, 2020, at Jordan Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, Warrenton. Arrangements were by William Toney’s Funeral Home of Zebulon, North Carolina.