Lela Beatrice Haywood De Laine, third daughter of Nicholas Leonard and Katie Magnolia Jones Haywood, was born in High Point, North Carolina. She completed her earthly journey on Saturday, December 5, 2020.
Lela's early childhood was spent in High Point, NC. She was a member of the Mount Vernon Baptist Church, where her father was a Deacon Board member. While she was still very young, her family moved to Raleigh, NC. Lela attended George Washington Elementary and Middle School, and later a private high school, Mary Potter High, in Oxford, NC. Lela's mother taught her to play the piano, and during her teen years and until she moved from Raleigh, Lela was Pianist for Tupper Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. After she graduated from Mary Potter attended Shaw University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.
During high school, Lela had met Clarence Andy De Laine, who became the love of her life, and they dated for several years. After a U.S. Army tour of duty, Clarence moved to Washington, DC, searching for employment. After accepting a General Services Administration position, he returned to Raleigh and married his childhood sweetheart, Lela, on Christmas Eve, 1951. Before their marriage, Lela was an elementary school teacher in the Wake County, NC Public School system. After their wedding, they moved to the Washington, DC, metro area where they made their home. To this union, one son, Clarence, Jr., was born, the light of their lives. Lela and Clarence also adopted Lela's niece, Cheryl Dove, and raised her as their daughter.
Lela taught in Calvert County, MD Public Schools from 1959 to 1963. She began teaching at Capitol Heights Elementary School (Prince Georges County) in 1963, where she remained until her retirement in 1990.
In the early 1970s, Lela and Clarence became devoted members of the Second Church of God (affectionately referred to by many as "1530 Church of God)" Her brother-in-law, Everett De Laine, was Pianist; and Elder Robert L Key was Pastor. In later years, two additional brothers-in-law became members, Rev. Wilbert H. De Laine serving as Pastor and Dr. Thomas De Laine. Lela held a variety of leadership positions at Second Church. She was Chairperson, Board of Christian Endeavor, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School teacher, and "honorary" Director of Children's Programs and Activities. For many years, Lela faithfully spearheaded and organized countless Christmas and Easter dramas. She also developed a Promotion Award Celebration to recognize the church's children's academic achievements and grade promotions.
Lela was an incredible artist who especially enjoyed painting. She created beautiful works of art over the years, continuing to paint even through her struggles with Essential Tremor. Lela also loved to sing, notably Gospel/Hymns. No matter where she was (in private places or not), she would join in the choruses whenever she heard a familiar song. Lela loved to travel and frequently attended church conventions such as The Ushers conventions. She was a regular attendee at family reunions on all sides of the family, including The De Laine Family National Organization, Jones-Weston-Robinson Family, etc.
Affectionately known as "Aunt Sweetie" or "Sweetie" by family and friends, Lela was soft-spoken and compassionate. She revealed her loyal service to God and Christian character by her tremendous eternal offering of love for all, especially for her family.
Tender care is part of her core and was shown wholly and extraordinarily during the illnesses of the love of her life, her husband, Clarence. Lela was a very devoted wife and a loving mother and grandmother who took great pride in her son and grandsons' accomplishments. She was also very dedicated to her nieces and nephews, and they loved her dearly in return.
Lela is survived by her devoted son, Clarence, Jr. (Valerie); two grandsons, Bryan and Benjamin; four sisters-in-law, Rosia De Laine Butler, Viola De Laine Hollis, Anna Boyd De Laine, A. Lois De Laine; one niece, Cheryl Colbert (Lawee) one nephew, William Allen; 11 great-nieces and nephews; 20 great-great nieces and nephews; 18 great-great-great nieces and nephews; 14 great-great-great-great nieces and nephews; other loving relatives; and a host of friends. “
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