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Reflections of Her Journey
Joe Ella was born on January 28, 1937, to Grenada (Outlaw) Stallings and Matthew Lewis Stallings in Starkville, Mississippi. Joe Ella attended Oktibbeha County Elementary School and Pleasant Grove High School where she was on the basketball team. She confessed her faith in Jesus Christ at a young age and upon graduation she moved to St. Louis, Missouri to both support family and pursue a better life with more opportunities. Shortly thereafter she met the love of her life and husband-to-be, Walter P. Jackson.
Joe Ella and Walter married on July 10, 1957, and were blessed with three beautiful children, Kenneth, Marilyn, and Linda. Their children brought such joy to their lives and that propelled Joe Ella to enter the education field in 1969, first as a teacher’s aide. This was the beginning of a series of bold endeavors she would embark on.
During the following years, Joe Ella decided it was time for her to learn how to drive, so she began taking classes and received her driver’s license in 1974. This allowed her to continue her walk with God and became a member of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church. Around this same time, Joe Ella began taking classes at the local community college while her three children were in grade school. Joe Ella’s love for learning was immense but she always maintained her devotion to family, friends, and the Lord. Joe Ella received her Associate in Applied Science with honors from St. Louis Community College at Forest Park on December 19, 1980.
Over the coming years, Joe Ella and Walter supported their young adult children as they pursued their respective passions, which included Kenneth joining a band after self-teaching himself how to play the drums, guitar, and keyboard; Marilyn and Linda pursued higher education and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO.
The 1980s was an exciting time for the family, especially as the family expanded, and she became a grandmother to Keith Young, Sherry Young, Jacinda Motton, and James A. Motton II. And later to Jasmine Motton and Joshua Luster. However, Joe Ella was not finished being an active example of determination and commitment.
After finishing her associate degree, Joe Ella enrolled at Harris-Stowe State University and graduated Cum Laude on May 6, 1995, with her Bachelor of Science in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood. She was on the 1994-1995 National Dean’s List and became a member of the International Honor Society in Education, Kappa Delta Pi. This would lead to Joe Ella realizing a vision almost 30 years in the making of becoming a certified classroom educator.
Joe Ella taught at Webster, Walnut, and Farragut Elementary schools over the next 10 years and retired in 2004 with 35 years of service with St. Louis Public Schools.
The latter years of Joe Ella’s life presented a unique challenge that would call for her to stand tall in the face of numerous health challenges encountered by her son, husband, and herself. She fought a valiant fight alongside her family and even last year when faced with cancer, she made it through radiation and chemotherapy. And in her final weeks, though she was private and reserved, she was able to be loved on openly, in-person, and virtually, by her daughters, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and church members.
Joe Ella has always been a fighter and now she can rest with the Lord “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) And mom can peacefully rest in her prepared place in the Kingdom of God. Amen.
Joe Ella is an all-time amazing woman who had immaculate style, wrote poetry, created beautiful cards, loved watching basketball, enjoyed singing and listening to gospel songs, and loved deeply, humbly, and without fail.
Joe Ella has her wings in heaven and is reunited with her loved ones who preceded her in transition, including her parents, Grenada & Matthew Stallings, husband, Walter, son, Kenneth, one brother, Charlie, and two sisters, Emma and Anna.
Joe Ella is survived by her daughters, Marilyn (Byron) Luster and Linda (James) Motton; stepdaughter, Victoria Holman; grandchildren, Keith Young, Sherry Young, Jacinda Motton, James A. Motton II, Jasmine Motton, and Joshua Luster; great-grandchildren I’onah and Kennedi; siblings, Bertha Rice, Jessie Stallings, and Arthur Thomas (Ann) Outlaw; and nieces, nephews, and many others who loved and cared for her.
Joe Ella’s final resting place will be next to her husband of 51 years at Jefferson Barracks.
In Mom's Words, "Love You More!"
Well done, good and faithful servant!