Funeral services for Verlene Ellington will be held Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. at the River of Life Assembly of God Church in Mabelvale.  

Funeral services for Verlene Ellington will be held Saturday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m. at the River of Life Assembly of God Church in Mabelvale.  

Elder Ronny Miller-Yow will officiate. Visitation will be Friday, Dec. 29, from noon to 5 p.m. in Brown's Chapel.  Interment will be in Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery at 11 a.m. on Jan. 3.

Verlene "Madea" Ellington was born on Oct.12, 1934, in Phillips County to  Curtis Pike and late Rosie Lee Frazier. She accepted Jesus Christ at a young age and joined St. Matthew Missionary Baptist Church at Turner. During her membership she served as a choir leader. She was a faithful member of St. Matthew Church until it was destroyed by fire. In 2000, she became a member of Word Alive Harvest Church of Marvell and then Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church of Little Rock. 

Verlene married Leemon Paige and to this union a daughter was born, LaVerne Paige.

For 46 years she was married to Jeffery Ellington until his death in 2004 and to this union 13  children were born,  Claudine, Dale, Jeffery (Loretta), Lueann, Wanda (Marvin), Wayne (Terrie), Charles (Donna), Czarney, Kendolyn (Carlton), Gwendolyn (Ricky), Kimberly, Donald (Luna), Kayla (Frank). 

She was a homemaker until 1979, when she became a dietary cook with the Crestpark Retirement Center in Helena. She remained employed there until she resigned in 2002, in order to be become a caregiver for her husband. 

After the departure of her husband, Verlene enjoyed visiting her children, traveling as far as Germany, Hawaii, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Illinois, and throughout Arkansas.

She attributed her ability to manage the task of rearing 14 children to her faith in God. When asked by others, as she often was, "How did you do it?" Her response was, "I laid hands on each of them and prayed for them and gave them each back to the Lord."  

Verlene remained a devoted Christian until her home-going on Friday, Dec. 22, at the Hickory Heights Nursing and  Rehabilitation Center. She joins now in that great cloud of witnesses of many family members who include her father, mother, husband, three sisters, four brothers, two daughters, two granddaughters, and a grandson.

To cherish and carry her legacy  she leaves four sisters, Fayrene Davis, Doris Jean Davis, Inez Davis, Firmalee Cannon; 12 children; nieces, Regina and Lecia; nephew, Larry; 40 grandchildren; and  25 great-grandchildren. 

Family and friends may sign the guestbook at:www.brownseternallight.com