Sleety was born February 14, 1935, to Della and Joshua Bourne in Oak Vale, Mississippi.
How appropriate that she was born on St. Valentine’s Day because she really was a sweetheart. She moved to Chicago where she would raise her sons. Sleety only stood five feet tall but she had a presence that filled the room when she entered. Known for her stylish dresses and sharp hats, she loved putting on her Sunday best. She enjoyed sharing stories of her growing up in Mississippi with family and friends. Sleety started volunteering at her son’s school in 1980 to provide stability to her son’s second grade class when they didn’t have a regular teacher. Even after Stephen graduated in 1985, she continued to volunteer at the school. She was most proud of her award for being an Outstanding Schoolhouse Volunteer which she received from Chicago Public Schools in 1985. It represented her dedication to volunteering at both Crispus Attucks Elementary School and Thomas A. Hendricks Elementary School from 1980-1987.
Sleety read her bible every day. She truly hid “His word in her heart so she might not sin against Him.” When she said her grace to ask God to bless these “few little scattered morsels,” she would end it with a bible verse; her usual was “Rise, Peter, slay and eat.” She was a member of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church where she was a member of the Buzy Bee Club. She later joined Fidelity Missionary Baptist Church in 1986, where she served on the usher’s board, the women’s ministry, and the Mother’s Board among other ministries. She looked forward to the annual church tea and the State Rally where she was the State Captain for Mississippi. She later joined Pleasant Green Baptist Church in the mid 1990s. She was active with the Mother’s Board and the February Group ministries until the pandemic when her health started to decline. But her true ministry and passion was taking care of the sick elderly. Sleety would be the first person to visit someone in the hospital. She loved taking care of others. Sleety kept a clean house, and according to many, “it was the cleanest house in the projects.” She was a true homemaker, maintaining a garden and canning vegetables for the winter. An all-around good cook, she was most famous for her baking, especially her lemon glazed pound cake; in fact, a church event was not the same without one. She took joy in her summer garden and often shared fresh vegetables such as collard greens, peppers, and zucchini with her neighbors and the property management office. They really looked forward to her zucchini bread. Her hobbies included reading, word searches, thrifting and watching sports especially tennis. Sleety even had a creative side-- she was an artist, painter, and she even fancied herself an interior decorator. She was a pretty good barber too. But her crowning accomplishment was raising seven sons in the housing projects of Chicago. According to Sleety, “I graduated all of them from high school and I have never had to go to jail for one of them.”
She is preceded in death by her parents, Joshua and Della Bourne; her brothers: John L. Bourne, Leonard Ray Bourne and Arthur Ray; her sisters: Ivory Joe Bourne, Teola Bourne, Ruth Thomas, Applessie King, and Lee Dora Bourne Simmons; and her son: Larry Bournes.
Service will be held on Friday, November 19, 2021 at 12 noon at at Pleasant Green Baptist Church 144 W. 59th St. Chicago, Illinois 60621 with Reverend Dr. Ray C. Bonner to do Eulogy. Viewing will be held at 11am at the Church until time of service.
An additional Celebration of life will take place on Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 12 noon, at 112 Palestine Rd. Oak Vale, Mississippi 39656 with Reverend Johnnie Pittman Jr., to do Eulogy. Viewing will be from 11am until time of service at the Church. Burial to follow at Crystal Springs Cemetery in Oak Vale, MS 39656.
She leaves to cherish her memories her sons Selman, Ronnie (Angela), Kenneth (Linda), Christopher, Rishard (Denise) and Stephen (Deone). Her brother James Melvin Bourne and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins.