She was, first and foremost, a wife and a mother. The third priority was a toss-up between being an educator or a devout church worker.

Mamie Barber White, 97, a retired teacher in Winston-Salem, died Feb. 18, 2011 at home. We could also add to her well-earned accolades that she was among the greatest of great-great-grandmothers.

Mamie was a Winston-Salem native and graduated with honors from Winston-Salem State University Teachers College and earned her Masters degree at N.C. Central University. She taught school for more than 42 years in Winston-Salem and retired as principal at Thomasville Elementary School.

She married Allen White and was blessed with daughter Imogene Joyner; grandchildren Ray, Edward and Stephen Joyner and Judy Harper; 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren – all before Allen died in 1997.

Consummate teacher

“The main thing she did was teach children,” said granddaughter Judy Harper. Even outside the school district, she was busy taking in neighborhood children to Bible School. She was a teacher consummate; after she retired, she continued to teach in adult life.

“The last months of her life, she shared with me the history of our neighborhood, East Winston — they call it Reynoldstown now,” Judy said.

“She invested herself in the youth of Thomasville,” said grandson Steve Joyner, himself an educator and longtime head men’s basketball coach and athletic director at Johnson C. Smith University. “Her passion was teaching and education. She never saw a child she didn’t like and take to immediately.”

“She was one of those grandmothers who was very supportive not only of anything we did, but also the kids in the community. She was an educator by trade,” her grandson said.

She gave her best

“She was very instrumental in merging United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church,” Steve said. “Grandma Mamie was on every committee, deacon board or educational committee. She started the Eveready Bible Study class, which is still in existence.

“She found competitive greatness through her life and said in later life that she gave the best she had to give to the world and it came back to her. She felt comfortable that she had done all she could do through education and the church.”

Well done, Mamie White, well done, indeed. You certainly left the world a better place than you found it.

Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them.

Got news to share with Qcity readers? Email us at
Sign up for our weekly email newsletter below

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *