Cornelious “Connie” Mae (Blevins) Shambry was born on June 26, 1921, in Indianola, Mississippi to the late Castoria W. Blevins Chavis and Julius Oats. She transitioned to eternal rest on Monday, May 17, 2021, with her loving and devoted son, Neil, by her side.
She spent her early childhood in Mississippi but moved to South Bend, Indiana in 1938 to live with her aunt, Mrs. Louvenia C. Cain. Cornelious graduated from South Bend Central High School and then Okolona Junior College in Okolona, Mississippi.
Cornelious accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior at a very early age and united with Mount Beulah M. B. Church in Indianola. Upon her arrival in South Bend, she united with (Greater) St. John M.B. Church. On June 26, 1946, she married John G. Shambry Sr. They shared 53 wonderful years together before his passing in 1999.
Cornelious united with Grace A.M.E. Zion Church in 1950 to worship together with her husband as a family. While at Grace, she was appointed by Rev. Wayne C. Harris to serve as a Class Leader, and she continued to serve until her health began to fail. She was also a member of the Hattie Pierce Missionary Society and Life Membership Chairman, the Service Guild, and the Usher Board. Cornelious was a strong and loving Christian woman who loved the Lord and made sure her sons were brought up and trained in the Church.
Since 1948, Sister Shambry has been a member of Odessa Chapter #28, Order of the Eastern Star. She served in various capacities in her local Chapter and Grand Chapter, including Grand Chairman of Budget and Finance Committee, Public Relations Chairman of District No. 8, District Deputy Grand Matron, a member of the Jurisprudence Committee, Chairman of Jurisprudence Committee, and from 1982-1984 the Grand Worthy Matron of Prince Hall Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, Jurisdiction of Indiana. Other fraternal affiliations include Past Loyal Lady Ruler and Past Secretary of Wabash Assembly No. 68, Order of the Golden Circle, and Mahomet Court No. 93 Daughters of Isis. She was also honored for her service by receiving a Key to the City from Mayor Roger Parent in 1983. Cornelious worked for many years as a seamstress at Gilbert’s Men’s Clothing Store and later retired from White House Manufacturing Co.
Those left behind to cherish her memory include her son, Neil F. Shambry of South Bend, IN; special daughter, Cathryn L. King of South Bend, IN; grandchildren, Matthew (Beth) Shambry and Michael R. Jackson, Jr. of South Bend, IN, Audrey (Reginald) Jones of Hammond, LA, Delano Boling of Indianapolis, IN and special ‘granddaughter’ Nicole (Nolan) Phelps of Seattle, WA; great-grandchildren, Turquois, Michael, Jamale, Redricka, Matthew II, Braylon, Madisyn, and Brendan; sixteen great-great-grandchildren, and one great-great-great-grandson; niece, Judith Johnson of Springfield, IL; nephew, James (Donna) Harris Jr. of South Bend, IN; special ‘sisters’ Bettye Carter and Beatrice Robertson; first-cousins, Johnnie L. Williams of Rockford, IL, and Mary E. Williams of South Bend, IN; along with numerous cousins, great nieces and nephews, friends, and her entire Grace A.M.E. Zion Church family.
Those who journeyed the road ahead include her parents; husband, John G. Shambry, Sr.; son, John G. Shambry, Jr.; daughter, Johnnie Mae Adams; brother James L. Harris; and grandson Claude Boling.
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