If you ever ran into Alberta, you would soon know about God and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Whether that had been your intent or not, you would listen to her tell of God’s plan and learn of his goodness.
Alberta Queen Esther Wesley Westmoreland of Charlotte, 87, died December 7, 2011. She had worked for Myers Park Cleaners, where she specialized in caring for the finest of silk garments. She counted among her customers such dignitaries as former Mayor Stan Brookshire and the legendary actor Randolph Scott. She had also worked for the Levine family and sat with the elderly.
“Her career was the Jehovah’s Witnesses,” said daughter Barbara Jones. “She was a member of the Southwest Congregation and used her jobs to further her career as a Christian minister. That was her most important job. Wherever she saw people, she saw the need to talk. She had a way especially with young people. She was known for her kindness and love.”
Called the governor for help
She once demonstrated that year ago when she found a lady who lived in Piedmont Courts who had no heat, lights or food. “She called the governor,” Barbara said. “They sent someone out. She instilled that in us to do that, including the boys.”
Alberta met Joseph Westmoreland at church when she was 17. He already had son Dickie and daughter Joann. They married in 1942 and added sons Douglas, Leonard, Stanley and the late Charles, and daughters Barbara, Gloria and Marcellous. Joseph joined Alberta in Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1961. He died in 2004.
“She was a good person,” said daughter Gloria. “She was always looking for God. When she found him, she never let go. She taught us our values, scruples and ethics. Mama was the cleanest woman in the world. She kept the cleanest house, the cleanest clothes, the cleanest everything. Right now, we’re the cleanest people in the world.
“She lived a long, beautiful life, and we’re sorry to let her go,” Gloria said. “We’ve reached a plateau – we always had mother and father, then mother; now both are gone. It’s something to get used to.”
Mama to the rescue
“I remember when she came to my football game and I got hurt,” said son Douglas. “She ran out on the field and came to the rescue the way she always has. She was right there for her children the whole time. Anything we needed, any problem we had, she was right there available for us. She was a good mama.”
Son Stanley said, “She was a loving, devoted, faithful and compassionate woman who loved her children. She was happy praising the Lord and dedicated her life to Jehovah’s Witnesses. She loved to travel and loved telling people about the Bible.
Marcellous said she was the “fun child” and her mother’s frequent traveling companion.
“Her favorite spot was the Isle of Palms near Charleston,” her daughter said. “Wherever we went, fine hotels and quaint restaurants, I’d look up and she’d be talking to somebody about God. She’d pull out her Bible and people would listen – she inspired them. Her greatest joy was to talk to people about God. We’d be at the beach and within 15 minutes, she’d be preaching to somebody instead of looking at the waves like me.”
Just think how much easier God’s job would be if he had more devoted helpers like Alberta.
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. Email email@example.com.