Verna Mae Pridgen was born on September 13, 1925, in Jason, North Carolina to the late Elcy Pridgen. Verna was one of six siblings. She had two brothers and three sisters. She attended the public school system in Greene County, North Carolina and graduated with a high school diploma from Green County Training School. Prior to her graduating from Green County Training school she was offered a scholarship to Shaw University.
She married her childhood friend Mack Donald Supel who she knew since the age of six on August 15, 1950. Both worked on the farmlands of North Carolina until 1957, when they decided to move to New Jersey for better opportunities for themselves and their children. They bought their first home in 1960 on Court Street in Elizabeth, where she resided until her passing on March 9, 2021. The love of her life, Mack Supel passed on December 25, 2002.
One of her and her husband’s most admirable traits was humanity and willingness to help others. This was illustrated by enabling well over fifteen family members who also migrated from North Carolina to New Jersey to stay at their home. From the early 60’s throughout the mid 80’s, Verna and Mack open their home, so that their family members could begin a new life.
The Supel’s home was known as the meeting place for both sides of the family every Sunday after church. It was not unusual to have up to thirty family members and friends at the home at one time. Pastor Supel enjoyed cooking and serving food at these family gatherings. She loved for her home to be full of family and friends, especially after Sunday morning church services. Many of these relationships have lasted throughout the years and are fondly remembered by all as a significant part of their lives and childhood.
Pastor Supel worked as a Nursing Aide at Saint Elizabeth Hospital, now known as Trinitas Hospital in Elizabeth. She held several positions at both the Deluxe and Singer Companies, and she served as a part-time domestic worker for over 40 years. After her retirement from the Singer Company in 1981, Pastor Supel went back to school for Sewing & Fashion Design, Nursing Assistant and Culinary Arts. She earned her Certificate in General Survey of the Bible on May 1, 1982.
Pastor Supel sent all of her six children through the public school system in Elizabeth, New Jersey and was active in the PTA meetings during her children’s matriculation. While working and being a housewife, she remained a faithful and loyal democrat in community activities and regularly exercised her right to vote in local and national elections. She also attended the monthly community meetings to improve the neighborhood and the quality of life of the residents of Elizabeth.
Pastor Supel was very active in church all her life. At the age of thirteen, she joined Saint Mary’s Church where she was on the Usher Board and the Young Adult Choir. She remained a dedicated member of Saint Mary’s Church until 1952, when she joined Bryant Holy Tabernacle Church. In 1957, after leaving North Carolina, she joined The Greater Holy Tabernacle Church in Elizabeth where she was an active member. She became involved in the following auxiliaries: Usher Board, Senior Choir, Missionary Board, and she served as a Sunday School Teacher. She further stressed the importance of good values and moral character in her offspring and grandchildren by ensuring that they participated in church activities during their childhood years.
In 1986, she was selected as the Pastor of The Greater Holy Tabernacle Church, an esteemed position that she held for 22 years. Under her leadership, the church grew financially, initiating an annual Health Awareness Program and Community Outreach Program. Pastor Supel truly loved her church family from picking up members and transporting them to church, fellowshipping with many for lunch after morning services, assisting members in personal and financial matters, ministering to the sick and shut-in, to mentoring, providing counseling and advice. She unselfishly made herself available to her church family 24/7. Upon her retirement, she was proudly named Pastor Emeritus and faithfully attended church until she was unable to do so for medical reasons in 2019. She was truly a devoted and loving servant of God, whose presence reflected love, kindness, forgiveness, joy, and faith.
Pastor Emeritus Supel, we will miss your affectionate smile and easy disposition. She leaves a legacy of caring, giving, and loving for all mankind. We will always remember her favorite motto after her prayer over meals – “We Got Bread, We Got Meat, and We’re Going to Eat!”
So, it is with great pleasure that we celebrate the 95 Years of Life of Pastor Emeritus Verna Mae Supel, a newly assigned angel of God.
Pastor Emeritus Verna Mae Supel is preceded in death by her mother Elcy Pridgen; siblings: Wheeler, John D., Edith, Emma and Lucille; children: William, Jackie, Mack Jr. and Baby Supel; daughter-in-law Pat; and grandchildren: Darrin and Earl. She reunites with her husband Mack Donald Supel on his birthday, March 25, 2021.
Pastor Emeritus Verna Mae Supel leaves to cherish her loving and spiritual memory: her children: Gene, Bobby Sr. (Avis), Sigma and Verna K.; grandchildren: Regina, Yolanda (Waleed), Angela, Keisha (Allan), Miacalla (Kevin), Bobby Jr., Omar, Shawna, Faheemah (Pedro), Khalilah (Ronald) and Khalidah (Michael); 22 great-grandchildren: Darrio, Zaquel, Gene II, Diamond, Alisha, Alterique, Kajuan, Dsysha, Imani, Ashawn, Benjamin, Al-Quan, Destiny, Jeremiah, Dezire, Elijah, Vashti, Kevin Jr., Jadon, Ronald III, Micaela and Mae; 1 great-great grandchild: Lyric; a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, friends and the Greater Holy Tabernacle UHCA church family.
A loving thank you to the family members that assisted in the care of Pastor Emeritus Supel while she was ill. A heartfelt appreciation to the Home Health Aides Nichol, Keisha, Kareena, Nekhena, Roaneka, Jessica and Vania who also cared for Pastor Emeritus Supel.
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