Johnnie Mae (Pickett) HollowayDecember 20, 1949 ~ January 4, 2018 (age 68)
Johnnie Mae Holloway was an incredibly generous and good-natured woman. She was a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, wife, mother-in-law, daughter, granddaughter sister, aunt, niece, cousin, employee, friend and amazing cook. Johnnie touched the lives of everyone who was privileged to know her. Her legacy of unconditional love, grace, and generosity will live on – in our hearts and deeds.
She was the Daughter and third child of Helen and Willie Pickett. Johnnie grew up in Maple Hill, NC. As a child and throughout her adult life, she was very close to her mother and her four siblings - whom she loved dearly.
Johnnie was fiercely independent – and took pride in her drive and self-reliance. A straight-”A” student in grade school, Johnnie was the only member of her immediate family to earn a college degree. After graduating with honors from Durham Business College, Johnnie held notable positions at Internal Revenue Service, the federal government and eventually Merck & Company, where she retired.
During her tenure at Merck, she served as an Executive Assistant for the head of Merck’s HR manufacturing division. This role allowed her to recruit numerous job candidates. Her warmth and advocacy on behalf of the young recruits made her a celebrity at Merck – where she was beloved by her bosses, colleagues and the many people who owed their livelihoods to her.
As a mother, Johnnie always put her children first. She was their cheerleader, confidante and constant source of unconditional love. She was there for every talent show, dance recital, concert, birthday, wedding and graduation. And she was 100% committed to her children’s success. She helped all three of her children land jobs with Merck, paid for her eldest daughter’s college education and even helped raise her eldest granddaughter. Her children grew up thinking it was normal to wake up to a hot breakfast every morning and come home to a delicious dinner every night.
They also grew up witnessing their mother’s resilience and endless acts of generosity. Throughout her life, Johnnie frequently baked pound cakes, chocolate chip cookies and other sweet treats for people – just because she cared. Cooking was her passion, and boy…she could cook – like no one else! She loved her oldies music, shopping, gardening, reading, watching talk/judge shows and spending time with friends and family.
She loved the Lord. Her faith in God carried her through marital, parental and health challenges as well as the loss of her beloved mother and youngest daughter. She would always repeat the bible passage, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can move mountains.” That’s just what she did, and the Lord blessed her accordingly.
In 2005, Johnnie met the love of her life – Alan Holloway – who loved her the way she always deserved to be loved. Married on September 2, 2006, they were the best of friends and lovers. And even after Johnnie was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, Alan remained 100% committed to her, serving as her primary caregiver. He was there through it all – from the diagnosis, to the progressive loss of her memory, speech, motor skills and eating ability. On January 4, Johnnie died peacefully sleeping in his arms, as he told her how much he loved her.
Johnnie was preceded in death by her parents Helen and Willie Pickett, her brother, Billy Pickett, and her daughter, Stephanye Wright.
She leaves to cherish her memory: her husband; Alan Holloway; son, Derek Wright; daughter, Tiffany Hamilton; daughter (granddaughter) Kairah Mae Wright; sister, Wilma Rich; brothers, Cornell and Jimmy Pickett; grandchildren, Isaiah Hamilton and Olivia, Myles and Derek Wright, Jr., great grandson, Makai Wright; and numerous aunts, uncles nieces, nephews, cousins and cherished friends.
We will forever be inspired by Johnnie's grace. She fought until the end to survive and be there for her family. We’re everything we are because she loved us. We'll miss you Johnnie, and we'll be grateful for everything you've given us. We love you!
Memorial Service Sunday, January 21, 2018, 4 pm at Pippin Funeral Home, 119 W. Camden-Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, DE. Friends may arrive beginning at 3 pm.