Her Storied Life
Jesus, God incarnate, truly is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the One who proclaims the beginning and end of every good and perfect gift. And every good and perfect union. He made that clear on November 17, 1941, when He ordained the marriage of Samantha Marcellus Toole to Finley Jesse Kendall. And it was Jesus who called Samantha Toole Kendall from labor to reward on November 17, 2021, so that she could reunite in heaven with Finley, the love of her life, on the exact date of their 80th wedding anniversary.
Jesus authored the beginning of Samantha’s life and her perfect union with Finley. And He sealed the deal by finishing it all with a perfect ending for a woman of God who walked and talked, who lived and breathed, who taught and modeled love.
No one can describe her journey here on Earth better than Mother Kendall. So, following are some of the words she wrote about who she is—and why—from a short autobiography she drafted in 1976.
In Her Own Words
I. Samantha Toole Kendall, was born to Dixie Williams and Ira Toole in the small town of Oneida, Arkansas, on January 11, 1923. I was the fifth of eight children, seven girls and one boy. My parents were farmers, but they also did odd jobs to supplement their farm income.
After graduating from elementary school, I attended high school 115 miles away from home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. 1 lived in a Home for Girls that was located on the campus Arkansas AM&N College. After completing high school, I received the equivalent of an Associate’s Degree from Forest Park Community College, with emphasis on Communications. I spent many hours receiving educational training that was job related.
I accepted Jesus Chris as my Savior in 1932 at First Baptist Church of Elaine, Arkansas.
I married Finley Kendall, whom 1 have been married to for 35 years as of this past November 17, 1976. We are the parents of four children, two boys and two girls. The children were born in St. Louis, where we moved in 1948. At the writing of this autobiography, the children have graduated from college. The youngest son (Steven) received his Master’s in Business. The youngest daughter ( Jessica) received her Master’s in Counseling. The oldest son (Charles) has a degree in Music and is an Instrumental Instructor for the St. Louis Public School System. The oldest daughter ( Jean) is a Physical Therapist at the St. Louis Comprehensive Health Center. All of the children are gainfully employed and are on their own.
During the early years of my married life I did many odd jobs, which contributed very little to the income. My husband disapproved of my working, but did not insist that I stop. Due to having children I only could work for short periods of time.
My husband and I opened a restaurant on Jefferson Avenue and operated it for 11 years. We did not make any money, but we learned how not to run a business.
FAMILY: Mother of four successful children.
CHURCH AFFILIATION: A member of Wayman AME Church since 1949. Former Sunday School Teacher. Presently Sunday School and Bible Scholar. Founder and member of Wayman’s Scholarship Council. Past president and active member of the Local and Conference Lay Organizations and the Choir.
EMPLOYMENT: Have worked in Community Programs (Human Development Corporation, Yeatman District Corps and Women in Community Service/Job Corps) for 23 years. 1 work with young people ages 16-25, recruiting them for Job Corps programs in St. Louis, outstate Missouri, Utah and Kentucky.
MY STRONG POINTS:
Analytical Skills: Able to check situations out, using available information plus additional data that may be obtained from a variety of sources.
Leadership Ability: Experience gained from work, serving as a Supervisor and Department Head at Yeatman Training Corps.
Church: Sunday School Teacher. Youth Instructor for Special Events. Founder of the very successful Scholarship Committee, the Bessie M. Pointer Memorial Council of Wayman, presently giving financial assistance to 33 college students.
Motivational Ability: As a result of my interest and my enthusiasm, maturation takes place with many that I come in contact with.
Interpersonal/Communication Skills: I work well with people, regardless of age, gender and/or color. Experienced in working with young people and summer youth workers. Organized Youth Councils and trained them in leadership responsibilities.
Open-Mindedness: I learn from many sources. Preparedness: Advocate of education and continuing education.
There's So Much More
Over the years, Mother Kendall’s inclination to nurture everyone she encountered continually affirmed the depth of character, faith and service she wrote about in the brief autobiography she drafted in 1976. Throughout her life, her energy was focused on the betterment of humankind and love of family— biological and spiritual. She believed her efforts were successful because of her strong Christian beliefs, which were rooted in her awareness that only what you do for Christ will last.
Mother Kendall will always be remembered for her broad smile, quick wit, inventive mindset and visionary leadership, all of which came to an end— quietly, peacefully, shockingly—just shy of a century’s worth of living and giving. Everything she contributed to uplift and enlighten God’s people was great. But, to Mother Kendall, her greatest gift was to give Bro, Finley and the world four children who exemplified the Christlikeness she radiated throughout her life.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Finley; sons Charles and Steven Kendall; nephew Trent Kendall; six sisters, and one brother. Left to cherish her memory are daughters Jean Barnes Kendall and Jessica Kendall Ingram (Gregory); grandchildren Kendrick Kendall (Leslie), Relton Barnes (Michale) and Jennifer McCoy (Gregory); great granddaughters Amber, Madison and Raigan Barnes, Anjanee’ Kendall, Gabrielle McCoy and Jayda Sanford; great great grandson Riley Bailey; nephew Douglas Johnson; caregivers Angela Kendall and Arnita West; members of Wayman, and a host of relatives and friends.
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