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Wednesday, February 14, 2024
6:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)
Thursday, February 15, 2024
10:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)
Thursday, February 15, 2024
1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)
Zelmodine Brown slipped away from this earth on February 10, 2024 at the age of 93. With loving care from her children, she got to spend the last six weeks of her life resting in bed, looking out the bay window of her home of 66 years onto her yard and garden where she loved to spend time. Many times during that last six weeks, she would perk up as her home was filled with her four children and their spouses, 17 grandchildren, 30 lively great-grandchildren, and extended family and friends who loved her dearly.
Dean was actually born on October 20, 1930 (10-20-30) in a small house at Nelley, Arkansas, but the doctor who delivered her drank and recorded the date as November 20, 1930. She was never able to correct it on legal papers so perhaps because of this, she became a recorder of family history and could always remember exact birthdates of family as well as friends and their families.
Her parents, James David Billings and Mary Alice (Alexander) Billings were sharecroppers and she and her six siblings (Floyd (Wilma) Billings, Maxine (Bill) Whorton, Martha Lou (Jack) Whorton, Hazel (Truman) Langrell, Bill (Mary) Billings, and Bob (Barbara) Billings) would earn money for school clothes by picking cotton. She said the most she ever picked in a day was 340 lbs. She attended Nelley, Cardombottom, Wabbaseka, and Altheimer schools. Their family moved a lot and even though she had to miss school to pick cotton, she still made good grades.
Her family didn’t have a car and never lived near a church when she was growing up. But when she was 15, Dean began attending a small Church of God in Altheimer, making consecrations and seeking the Holy Ghost. She received the Holy Ghost when she was 19. Her life changed and she and her mother moved to Little Rock when she was 22. They lived near the Children’s Hospital and she would ride street cars and buses to work at Ottenheimer’s, a garment factory in the downtown area. When she was 25, she noticed a nice-looking man riding the street cars. She saw him on the bus often, and again near a Pentecostal church at Fifth and Victory. It seemed to her like she would see him everywhere. She found out that her friend who went to South Highland Pentecostal Church had a friend who went to Fifth and Victory so she gave her phone number to her friend, who gave it to her friend at South Highland, who gave it to her friend at Fifth and Victory, who gave it to George Brown who was 38 and never married. He called her and they began dating in February. He proposed a few months later on the State Capital grounds and they were married July 5, 1956.
George and Zelma (he was the only one who called her that) honeymooned in Hot Springs, then returned to a small house at 1511 Rock Street. They attended church together at Fifth and Victory Pentecostal Church where George received the Holy Ghost during a revival with a blind evangelist, Brother Joe Duke. Dean was baptized in Jesus Name during that same revival in October of 1956.
George began building a concrete block house on wooded property he had already purchased in West Little Rock and they moved in when first child, Mary, was a year and two days old. Georgia was born three years later, then George, Jr. in 1964 and Greg thirteen months later. George was a housepainter during their married life and Dean stayed home with the children. She enjoyed working outdoors and always had flowers around the house and a big garden from which she canned quarts and quarts of vegetables. After she raised her family and George had retired, Dean began working at Brookside Nursing Home and later at Chenal Nursing and Rehab where she was a CNA. She received many awards for her outstanding labor and finally retired when she was 75. She and George had been married 46 years when he passed away in 2002.
Dean had a talent for always remembering the birthdays of her family: her daughters Mary Virginia Adams and her husband David, Georgia Ann Best and her husband Harvey; her sons George Anderson Brown, Jr. and his wife Teresa, Charles Gregory Brown and his wife Darla; 17 grandchildren: Caleb, Benjamin, Charity, Timothy, Sarah, Joseph, Samuel, Abigail, Josie, Krista, Tiffany, Hunter, Brianne, Logan, Chase, Kolby, and Clayton; and 30 great-grandchildren.
George and Dean began attending First Pentecostal Church in North Little Rock in 1964 and Dean was a faithful saint for the remaining 60 years of her life. She loved Bishop A.O. Holmes, Sister Agnes Holmes, Bishop Joel Holmes, and Pastor Nathan Holmes. Even after she lost much of her hearing she was able to enjoy their preaching through in-ear amplification. She loved to read her Bible and continued to read it with a magnifying glass after she lost most of her sight. A few years ago when asked where would be one of her favorite places to travel, Dean said, “Anywhere that there are beautiful flowers.” Today, we like to think of her walking with Jesus in the beautiful flower gardens of Heaven.
Visitation is Wednesday, February 14, 2024 from 6-8 pm at North Little Rock Funeral Home and her funeral will be 10 am Thursday, February 15, 2024, at the church. Interment will be at Pinecrest Memorial Park.
Smith North Little Rock Funeral Home, 1921 Main St., North Little Rock, AR 72114. 501-758-1170