Sky Scene 07

Lonnie Lee Crenshaw

September 16, 1934 ~ March 10, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Lonnie Crenshaw Obituary

John 11:25-26

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.' ”

Lonnie Marie “Ree” Crenshaw transcended peacefully to her heavenly home on  March 10, 2023, in Southern Maryland surrounded by her loving and devoted family. Born on September 16, 1934, Lonnie was the first of nine children born to Hezekiah & Walterine Bell in Williamston, North Carolina. As a teenager, Lonnie demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills, was fiercely independent, a trailblazer in her own right and matriarch as she displayed immeasurable compassion and love for her family.

Lonnie attended E.J. Hayes School in Williamston, North Carolina and had big dreams for her life. In 1952, at age 15, Lonnie relocated to New York City on her own to make her dreams a reality. In the late 1940’s New York was the epicenter of early civil rights movement and mass migration of Black southerners gave New York the largest urban black population in the world. Lonnie saw the vision and would soon pave the way for many of her family members to follow suit.

On August 9, 1950, Lonnie and Leo Long were blessed with their son Jerome Gaylord Bell affectionately called “Butch” and soon after birthed their daughter Janice Marie Bell on April 30, 1952. As a young mother, Lonnie worked as an au pair to support her children. In 1960, Lonnie tragically lost both of her parents and without a second thought returned to Williamston, North Carolina to raise her youngest siblings Sarah and Harry. 

In 1968,  Lonnie left Williamston for the last time and moved back to New York City to live her dream. Soon after returning, she enrolled in culinary school at Holmes Laundry Hospitality. She loved working in hospitality, creating culinary masterpieces that landed her a job at RCA in the Rockefeller building. Lonnie was a highly esteemed employee and eventually retired with RCA many years later.  

Lonnie lived an extraordinary life, with countless chapters and decades of memories. She loved her family, and made it a priority to travel to see those she loved near and far. Lonnie was a socialite, an avid member of several social clubs including small groups that supported local city councilman and coordinated banquets for them. Lonnie was many things…a daughter, a sister, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a supporter, a fighter, a woman of wisdom and a child of God!

Lonnie Crenshaw is survived by her sister Sarah Bell; daughter in law Clara Bell; grandchildren John Gillison, Shalante Davis; great grandchildren Dominique McKnight, Orianna Gillison, Elise Gillison, John Gillison III, Cortez Davis, Mark Davis, and Linnell Bell. Lonnie is preceded in death by her parents Hezekiah & Walterine Bell; siblings Hezekiah Bell Jr., William Frank Bell, Violine Bell, Shirley Mae Bell, Verna Mae Bell-Williams, Napeleon Bell, and Harry McKenney Bell; children Jerome Gaylord Bell and Janice Gillison; grandson Donovan Gillison; great granddaughter Jada Gillison. Lonnie was also preceded in death by her long time spouse Bennie “Chuck” Chambers of which she shared 48 years of her life with. Lonnie was also survived by a host of family and friends.


Funeral Services: Saturday, March 25, 2023- Visitation 10:00am

Funeral 11:00 am at 3rd Baptist Church.

917 Princess Ave, Alexandria, Virginia


Mount Comfort Cemetery 

6600 So. King Street, Alexandria, Virginia 


Repass: Holiday Inn Carlyle

2460 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 

Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Lonnie Lee Crenshaw?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Lonnie's memory.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Lonnie Lee Crenshaw

© 2023 Mercedes' Funeral Mansion & Cremation Service. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility