Shelia Thorne Baynes

March 31, 1952June 23, 2020

Shelia Thorne Baynes, 68, incomparable wife, mother and grandmother, made her transition on June, 23, 2020. Shelia no doubt passed through the gates of heaven with perpetual poise, grace and strength. The Lord added an empathetic, intelligent and loving member to His heavenly chorus.

Shelia was born on March 31, 1952, in Plainfield NJ, to the late Susan James Thorne and Joseph Benjamin Thorne, (affectionately known as J.B.). Mr. Thorne owned a local barbershop and used his entrepreneurial spirit to impress upon Shelia the importance of proprietorship and upright business ethics. The family barbershop also housed the local chapter of the NAACP, which helped shape Shelia's passion for community-based organizations and philanthropic endeavors.

Shelia was the oldest child, but was joined several years later by her dear brother Joseph Ira Thorne. She attended Columbus Elementary School and Edison Junior High School, where she enjoyed playing the piano, dancing, and spending time with all her neighborhood friends. Shelia is remembered by her childhood friends as having the ability to build friendships with everyone she encountered. Throughout her life, her social interactions transcended any color boundaries, during a time where racial divides were not always crossed. During her middle school years, Shelia attended the Bethel Baptist Church where she was the leader of the Youth Choir. The summer months would see the choir have several singing engagements. She would alter traditional church songs and play the piano for her choir-mates, creating her own contemporary renditions, where songs resonated with the youth.

Shelia attended Westfield High School and graduated in 1970. Following her graduation, she attended Kean College in Union, NJ, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1974. While at Kean College, Shelia was awarded the Barbera Ann Tuffel Scholarship for her involvement in the improvement of campus life. She also held offices as the Assistant Treasurer (1972), Treasurer (1973) and finally, the Chairwoman of Finance (1974).

After graduating from Kean, Shelia returned to her community in Westfield to teach at the local high school. Because she only had one African American teacher during her entire 4 years of high school, she wanted to set an example for all of the children of color. She remained a teacher in the Westfield Public School District for several years. In addition to her responsibilities as a teacher, she was also the Assistant Gymnastics Coach and a mentor to many future leaders. Several remained in close contact for the rest of her life.

Shelia met the love of her life, Carl Michael Baynes at a college business retreat, where they instantly fell in love. The moment he laid eyes on her, Carl knew they were going to marry. On December 21, 1975, the two were wed in a glorious celebration of matrimony, surrounded by their closest friends and relatives. During their 45-year union, they celebrated with tremendous loving pride, the births of their two children: Danielle Joye and Matthew Carl. They also celebrated two granddaughters: Payton Amma and Paige Asantewaa.

Shelia's drive and determination propelled her professional career onward and she moved into banking where she was employed as an Officer of the Chase Manhattan Bank. From there, she took her love of community to the City of Newark, NJ where she worked as Program Operations Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training. Shelia was instrumental in improving the overall performance of the agency, ensuring that the highest quality of training was provided to eligible residents. An opportunity at First Fidelity led her back to banking where she joined the Metropolitan Region as a Vice President, directing the performance of a cluster of retail bank branches. Her experience and understanding of banking and finance led her to pursue a General Securities Representative License (Series 7). Working a full-time job while remaining the doting wife and mother and through tireless preparation, Shelia still managed to pass her exam on the first try. After passing the Series 7 exam, Shelia went on to work as a Financial Consultant at Solomon Smith Barney.

Shelia continued her professional career as the Executive Director of Newark Emergency Services for Families (NESF). Under her direction, NESF provided food and housing for thousands of Newark residents, housing and job opportunities to Hurricane Katrina victims, and helped hundreds of parents obtain affordable childcare through the NESF daycare programs. During her tenure at NESF the social services agency served over 67,000 requests from Essex County residents annually. Her mission was to provide practical skills, affordable housing, and counseling. Shelia executed the construction of a healthcare facility within the agency, providing underserved residents with affordable healthcare 24/7. In 2004, the Thurgood Marshal Scholarship Fund recognized Shelia as an honoree at their annual Founder's Volunteer Award Reception and the ceremony was later featured in Jet Magazine.

In 2009, after having a distinguished career in banking and community service, Shelia and Carl relocated to Sarasota, Florida. She never lost her passion and commitment for making a difference in the community. Shelia's reputation of limitless energy and professional decorum made her the perfect candidate to join, found and participate in several clubs and organizations.

Shelia was a proud member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated is a private, not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to aid and support local communities through established programs. In 1986, Shelia was invited to join Jack & Jill, Incorporated, where she and her family remained members until 2008.

In 1987, Shelia was a co-founder of “The Bibliophiles," the oldest operating incorporated African American book club in the United States. For years, they raised money in support of the United Negro College Fund. The club also hosted the Culture Keepers Award every other year. The award honors people and organizations who preserve the culture of the African diaspora. They were featured in the Newark Star-Ledger, Essence, NJTV, and The New York Times. Shelia continued her love for reading and fellowship through literacy in Sarasota. There, she helped form the Literary Mavens book club.

For close to twenty years, Shelia was an active member of The Links, Incorporated, first in the Morris County Chapter and then in the Essex County (NJ) Chapter. Upon moving to Florida, she transferred her membership from the Essex County, NJ, Chapter of The Links Incorporated to the Bradenton/Sarasota (FL) Chapter. The Links, Incorporated is one of the nation’s oldest and largest volunteer service organizations for African American women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the cultural and economic growth of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. Also, she became a member of the Sarasota Chapter of The Society, dedicated to being a resource to young people in the arts and promoting educational, civic and cultural experiences within the African American community.

Her philanthropy did not stop there. She also founded the Masala Giving Circle while in Sarasota. Masala’s mission is to “promote economic and personal empowerment through financial support for programs and initiatives that benefit African American communities in Sarasota and Manatee counties.” Through 2020, the Masala Giving Circle awarded grants and gifts to 15 different nonprofit agencies totaling over $67,000. They funded programs ranging from fighting human trafficking, making mammograms more accessible to African-American women, to establishing a farmer’s market in the Newtown neighborhood. The membership grew to 68 members, and all gift the Circle with annual financial support. Shelia’s legacy will live on, in part, through the work that she has done with each of these organizations. Shelia is reunited in heaven with her parents J.B. and Susie, as well as her brother, Ira.

Shelia leaves to cherish her memory her beloved husband, Carl; her adoring children, Danielle Baynes-Boateng and Matthew Baynes; her loving son-in-law, Kwame Boateng; and the absolute joys of her life, her granddaughters, Payton Amma Boateng and Paige Asantewaa Boateng. She is also survived by her cousin Marilynn Moses who was like a sister to her, and many other cousins, nephews, nieces and a host of friends. As Sheila would say, “Friends are the family we get to choose.”


6 July


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home at Palms Memorial Park

170 Honore Ave
Sarasota, FL 34232

6 July

Memorial Service

7:00 pm

Robert Toale and Sons Funeral Home at Palms Memorial Park

170 Honore Ave
Sarasota, FL 34232


Shelia Thorne Baynes

have a memory or condolence to add?


July 4, 2020

To the Baynes and Boateng families and extended family

Please accept my deepest and most heartfelt condolences on the passing of Shelia.

Shelia was my wonderful friend for over 30 years and her warmth, compassion and kindness will forever be remembered. I will treasure the memories we shared.

May God bless each of you and Shelia.

Much love,
Roberta Ruddy

Denise Gray-Felder

July 3, 2020

Shelia was an amazing wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. In the 25-plus years I have known her I never remember a conversation where I did not “see” her smile that all-encompassing smile. She did everything with great passion and was delighted when others were happy and well cared for.
The testament to her life well-lived is evident thru her adult children Dani and Matthew who display their mom’s grace, sense of humor and courage. She and Carl together were a joy to witness. May dear Shelia rest in eternal peace.

Karen Johnson

July 2, 2020

Dearest Carl, Dani, and Matt,
Already I am missing our beautiful Shelia so much! Her radiant and oh so enthusiastic zeals for life were infectious and nurturing. We shared many mutual passions: reading, films, politics, and of course; the joys of motherhood. One of my fondest projects was when she and I co-founded our Mother/Daughter book club for our girls during their middle school years.
Please know Shelia’s legions of friends and associates share your family’s sorrow in your loss and we are sending prayers and comfort during this difficult time.
Much love, Karen (Johnson)

Randi Neiner

July 1, 2020

Carl, Dani & Matt...
So sorry to hear that Sheila is no longer with us. I extend my deepest sympathies.
My memories of Sheila are all of a positive and caring very special person. I remember having lunch together every day at Westfield High School and coaching gymnastics together. I remember our both leaving Westfield the same year — I visiting Sheila in Chicago and Sheila visiting me in Oakland CA. My memories are all happy and loving ones — a reflection of Sheila. She will be missed and I do hope you know that you are welcome at my home any time. Please know that she has had a lasting impact and will live on in all of us. Love .... Randi Neiner

Patricia Todd

June 26, 2020

Shelia was my line sister in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., S.A.B.L.E. Revelations, Montclair Alumnae Spring 1994. Though we lost touch over the years, I, along with our other line sisters were extremely sad to learn of her passing. Reading the tributes I know she will be truly missed. Praying peace of mind for her family.

Melva Wilson Lewis

June 26, 2020

Dear Carl & Family: May you be comforted by the outpouring of love & support surrounding you. Shelia was a phenomenal woman who was always caring & sharing to others especially her family. May she rest in peace with our Lord. Praying God will comfort & care for you while you celebrate the legacy that lives on. Gone too soon but remember the love not the loss.

With our love & deepest sympathy,

Melva W. Lewis & Dorothy T. Wilson
Hopewell, VA Family

Benilde Little

June 26, 2020

Dear Carl, Dani and Matt,
We were so sorry to hear about beloved Sheila. She was a full of life. She and I used to have movie dates in Montclair; we both loved movies and books. We used to ride to Jack & Jill meetings together, often hanging out at Rita’s afterward where we’d talk until the wee hours. It's been awhile since you two moved to Florida and we missed you in Montclair.
Cliff and I are sending you love and comfort during this heartbreaking time.

Linda Baker

June 26, 2020

Deepest sympathy to the Baynes family! We are first cousins Sheila's mother, Aunt Susie and my father, Edward James were sister and brother from Emporia, VA. Prayers and thoughts to all of the entire family. Love, Linda E. Baker, The James Family

Estherine Harding

June 26, 2020

Family, you have my deepest sympathy and prayers during this most difficult time. I have been so sad since learning of my dear Cousin Shelia's passing. Shelia was such a joy to be around, so full of life, love, and encouragement. We all will truly miss her; however, there is no loneliness that God can't get us through.

May the comfort and peace of Jesus Christ be with us and help us to get to the next level. We'll try not to waste too much time in grief and sadness as Shelia would not want us to. I know that her desire is for us to continue to live on during good things for the up building of God's Kingdom.

So, I say "Sleep on Shelia and take your rest, we love you; however, God loves you best."

Love, Estherine J. Harding of Chesapeake, VA