Sherley Hollie Akiwowo (“Akie,”) age 90, Harrodsburg, passed away on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at Landmark of Danville Rehabilitation Facility. Born March 8, 1931 in Harrodsburg, she was the daughter of the late Alvis and Goldie (Smith) White. She attended Westside High School in Harrodsburg where she developed an interest in art and history. She later moved to Cambridge, MA and was employed by John Hancock Financial Group and co-owned a beauty salon. She relocated to NY and became an administrator for Nassau County’s Department of Drug and Alcohol, while being employed by a modeling school and other well-known companies. Sherley was a member of Little Zion Baptist Church in Burgin, KY and later became a member of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, NY and Unity Church of Christianity in Valley Stream, NY.
Her survivors include daughters, Olanrewaju Akiwowo of PA and Alphonstine Hollie of NY and son, Harold Hollie, Jr. of MA; four sisters, Anna Wilma Parks and Eleanor White Dunn of Harrodsburg, James White James (aka Jane) of GA, Jacquelen White of NY; two brothers, Charles White of MA and Alvin White of Burgin; six grandchildren, Harold Hollie III, Lawrence Hollie, Adam (Mehwish) Akiwowo, Maya Hollie, Matthew Akiwowo and Brandon Hollie; two great grandchildren, Jared Hollie and Deen Akiwowo. Other than her parents, Sherley was preceded in death by two sisters, Ruby White Dunn and Arnetta White.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 16, 2021 at Little Zion Baptist Church in Burgin, KY with Rev. Dr. Phillip A. Yates, Pastor presiding. Other memorial services will be held in the NY area at a later date.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Little Zion Baptist Church, 204 East Water Street, Burgin, KY 40310
Arrangements are entrusted to Sims Funeral Services of Harrodsburg, KY.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.simsfuneralservices.com.
Sherley Ann Hollie Akiwowo (Akie)
A Compilation of Her Life
When we view the life of Sherley Akiwowo, we will see her reflections etched in the universe, whether it be by a bright smile, thoughtful word, generous act, or exquisite sense of fashion. She was kind and loving and always willing to lend a hand or prepare a meal to embrace her family and friends.
Sherley, more often known as Akie or Miss Akie was born to the late Alvis Madison and Goldie Savannah White March 8, 1931, in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. She was the second eldest child in a family of ten children. Little Zion Baptist in Burgin, KY was the family’s home church.
During her early years in Kentucky, she lived on a farm and attended Westside High School, where she showed a strong interest in art and history. Following her graduation, she married Harold Hollie and shortly after, she became a widow. It was at this time that she moved to Massachusetts and lived in Brookline on Beacon Hill and in Cambridge near Harvard University. Her relocation later inspired a couple of her sisters and her two younger brothers to make their journey north for a new life.
While in Cambridge, Sherley was employed by John Hancock and co-owned a local beauty salon. She enjoyed doing hair and being attentive to others. She was a member of Union Baptist Church in Cambridge. She married Akinsola Akiwowo in 1956, and when he completed his Doctorate’s degree at Boston University, they moved to Beloit, Wisconsin and then to Brooklyn and Long Island, New York.
In New York, as a divorcee and single mother of three, Sherley worked in retail and community service before she delved into a career in social work. She became an administrator for Nassau County New York’s Department of Drug & Alcohol and reviewed outreach programs. She also helped young people in her community who faced substance abuse issues.
Sherley had the spirit of a champion. While working and parenting in New York, she attended Old Westbury University and Stony Brook University. She was employed by Barbizon School of Modeling and conducted Neighborhood Youth Programs to help young people become employed. She was a civil rights activist and marched fervently in Washington, D.C. She was a member of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, NY and Unity Church of Christianity in Valley Stream, NY.
Sherley was a pillar of the Hempstead, NY community, where she lived most of her life. She founded the first African Dance troupe on Long Island and owned and operated The Learning Journey Childcare program in Hempstead, NY. She received numerous commendations from Nassau County. She was president of the Kiwanis Club and a member of The Public Theatre in Harlem, Adelphi’s Summer Repertory Theatre, National Black Theatre Company, Hempstead Heights Civic Association, and the NAACP.
She was a loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend. Sherley was the glue that held her small northeast family together, and she will remain lovingly in the hearts of her children, Harold Hollie, Jr. (MA), Alphonstine Hollie (NY), Olanrewaju Akiwowo (PA); grandchildren, Harold Hollie III, Lawrence Hollie, Adam Akiwowo (Mehwish), Maya Hollie, Matthew Akiwowo, Brandon Hollie; great grandchildren, Jared Hollie, Deen Akiwowo. Her sisters and brothers, Ruby Dunn (deceased), Eleanor White Dunn, Arnetta White (deceased), Charles White, Anna Wilma Parks, James White James (aka Jane), Jacquelen White, Alvin White. She has a host of nephews and nieces and longtime kindred neighbors and friends: Jose Araniva (deceased), Bertha Gregory and family, Robert Gregory, Michael Caesar, Ozielee Porterfield & family, Shirley & Ernest Rich & family.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10 (NIV)
In Loving & Eternal Memory
The Fallen Limb
A limb has fallen from the family tree.
I keep hearing a voice that says, “Grieve not for me.”
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song,
The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage. I’m counting on you.
Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest,
Remembering all how I was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small.
Go on with your life. Don’t worry about falls.
I miss you all dearly, so keep up your chin,
Until the day comes we’re together again.
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