In the dawn of Sunday, March 31, 2019, the earth angel, Ethel Lee Covington transitioned to be with the Lord. She passed peacefully on her knees as if she was kneeling in prayer whenshe was called home proof of her connection and commitment to the Lord even in her final moments. A devoted wife, mother and Grandmother, Ethel Lee’s pride and joy were her family.
Ethel was a native of Sussex County, Virginia, the daughter of a sharecropper. As a young girl, she moved to Norfolk, Virginia to be raised by her Aunt Thelma Harris and was only able to complete the 6th grade. She had a natural intellect that she honed over the years giving her the power to connect with people wherever she went. She is pre-deceased by her parents, John,and Effie Stringfield; her loving husband of 22 years Ferman Covington Sr., her sweet daughter Kathy Maria Claggion and her siblings Elliot, Herman, Henry, Norfleet, William, Margarete, Bertha, and Beaner.
She worked as a domestic and a housekeeper helping to raise many of her client’s children. Her ability to nurture young soulsincluded relatives and many young people from church and peers of her children in the Diggs Park neighborhood. Her home served as a refuge for those children less fortunate than her own. Ethel Lee could never see a child or anyone in need without stepping in to make a difference in their lives. She left her beautiful and nurturing stamp on families all across the Tidewater area.
During her lifetime she was a member at New Calvary Baptist Church, Gideon’s Baptist Church and finally her beloved First Baptist Church Bute Street worshipping from the same spot in the pew for over 25 years. Ethel devoted her life to Christ, a real child of the King. She took pride in entering the house of the Lord outfitted in stylish hats and dressed in her Sunday best. Her church community has always been like an extended family.
Well loved wherever she went, Ethel Lee’s big heart and compassionate spirit touched people and changed lives. She didn’t just talk the talk, but she walked in Christ every single day. The love for Ethel Covington runs deep and extends from coast to coast. Family and friends called her home, Ethel Lee’s Inn, famous for bountiful Sunday Dinners after church where she maintained an open door policy and always prepared enough for whoever showed up hungry. One of her favorite weekendactivities was going to the local fields to pick fresh greens in preparation for Sunday dinner. Ethel would cook enough to feed her entire family and their households for most of the upcoming week.
Nobody loved the invention of the telephone more than Ethel because it gave her the ability to call on family and friends, laughing with her girlfriends, and having conversations that often lasted for hours. You could see her smile through the phone and feel the love she extended to those on the other end. Her laughter and smile will forever be unmatched. Treasuring her memory are her last living sibling, best friend and little brother John Ira (Marlvin), two devoted sons Ferman Covington Jr. and Gregory Bernard Covington (Andrea) and son in law Richard A. Claggion Sr. Her grandchildren Kenda Claggion, Domeicus Paye, Janine Sykes, Richard Alexander Claggion(Jordan), Patrice Covington, Gregory B. Covington Jr. and Ericka Ricks (Lance) will cherish every single memory they have with their Granny. Her great-grandchildren Deshara Paye, Laila Cook, Gabrielle Cook, Irie Claggion and Jaycee Claggion will carry out the legacy of Granny for many years to come. The people who are grieving her absence include her sister like niece, Irene Jiggets, who will cherish her forever, her side kick and “in law”, Mary Pitt. Lastly, an abundance of nieces, nephews and cousin hold her dear to their hearts.
Ethel Lee Covington was everybody’s role model giving unconditional love, support, generosity, kindness and light. Her sweet demeanor, strong character and giving heart will affect and influence the lives of those she touched for years to come.