Forest Lawn West Funeral & Cremation Service & Forest Lawn West Cemetery
4601 Freedom Drive, Charlotte, NC
Gertrude Quellie Kennedy
January 18, 1931 – August 25, 2019
Gertrude “Honey” Harris was born on January 18, 1931 in the Township of Harrisburg, Montserrado County, and Republic of Liberia to the union of Caroline Day Harris and Phillip Harris. Gertrude unfortunately lost her mother at an early age and the role of surrogate mother was played by her Aunt Sarah Harris. Her father was a great Dad who taught little Gertrude to swim at an early age, to fish and to understand the basics of business management. Her Dad was an accomplished furniture carpenter who had contracts to furnish the Executive Mansion and the President of Liberia residence in the 1930s and 1940s.
Gertrude converted to Christianity at an early age and regularly attended the Heard Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal church in Harrisburg, where her parents and family members were prominent leaders and members. She and her first cousin Lewis D. Harris grew very close, where Lewis played the role of a big brother.
Gertrude started her education at the Lutheran Training Institute which was built by the American Lutheran Mission in Liberia, an institution that was outstanding in providing quality education to the people of Liberia since the 1860s. The city of Millsburg across the St. Paul River from Harrisburg was considered the springboard for education as the missionaries moved deep into the interior of Liberia. The Emma V. Day Girls School in Millsburg and the David A. Day Boys School were merged to form the Lutheran Training Institute (LTI), which provided the foundation for Gertrude’s education. Gertrude would later matriculate to the Tubman National Institute of Medical Arts, where she enrolled in the School of Professional Nursing and received her certification as a Registered Nurse in 1952. In her continued quest and thirst for education, Gertrude would obtain her Bachelor’s Degree from Queens College in New York in 1985 and her Masters of Business Administration Degree from the Jones International University in January of 2012.
Gertrude life would take a turn when she met the love of her life, Robert Quellie-Kennedy, Sr. at a dance at the Pavilion Memorina establishment in 1953. She married Robert in May of 1955 and followed him back to Lofa County, where he received employment as a Public School Teacher. Her husband would later become Supervisor of Schools and the first Superintendent of Lofa County. In addition to being a consort and support of her husband in his career, she found time to serve as School Nurse at the Voinjama Public School. During her time as first lady of Lofa County, Gertrude organized the Women Activity Club of Lofa County, to address the following issues:
* Women and Girl Literacy issues
* Develop strategies to improve the living standards of rural families by providing workshops on the improvement of business practices of the market women
* Provide information on best sanitary practices which would lead to better health outcomes for rural families
* Provide advocacy services for poor women
In 1969 the family moved to Monrovia, where Gertrude sought employment at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital. She would eventually rise to the position of Director of Nurses at that hospital between 1972 and 1975. She started Honey Poultry Products in 1974 and built the business to the point where she supplied all of the major supermarkets, in Monrovia with frozen chicken. In 1977 she would follow her husband to Italy, where he was assigned as Ambassador. In 1980 after the coup in Liberia, the family moved to the United States, where they joined their oldest son, Robert. Gertrude was later employed as a Psychiatric Nurse in New York until 1989, when the family settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gertrude would serve as a Nurse in Charlotte and start her business Kaibeh-Quellie Creations. This business was a fulfillment of her love of fashion and designs, and highlighted her talents as an accomplished seamstress and jewelry designer. She retired in 2000.
Gertrude was married to the love of her life for 51 years, until his demise on October 4, 2006. That union was blessed with four children. Robert Quellie, George Zellie, Caroline Ceanea, and Saba Roberta. Saba Roberta predeceased her on May 31, 2012.
She leaves to mourn, her loss her children: Robert Quellie Jr. and Rosalita, George Zellie, Caroline Ceanea and Emmanuel, her grandchildren; Robert III, Emmalyn Trudy, Saye Carrie-Sonie and Fedner, Quellyn Rosa, Imaru Zellie Sr., Jesa Iman, and Jeremy Zion; her great grandchildren; Imaru Zellie “Ruji”, Jr., Fedale Emmanuel and, Zara Kennedy Gaters . She also leaves to mourn her sisters in law; Matilda Kennedy Woods, Williette Gawolu Moifolley, Rebecca Kennedy and Fatu Haines Harris, all of her families in Harrisburg, Montserrado County, Voinjama, Lofa County and her beloved people of Charlotte, and Liberia.
WE WOULD LIKE OUR MOM, TO BE REMEMBERED AS A SIMPLE WOMAN WHO DID GREAT THINGS!!
MAY HER SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE AND LIGHT PERPECTUAL SHINE ON HER!!!
- Visitation Saturday, September 14, 2019
- Funeral Service Saturday, September 14, 2019
- Graveside Service Saturday, September 14, 2019