Ollie Mayhall

My maternal grandmother was born Ollie Mae Ware in Magee, Mississippi. She could easily have lived a fairly comfortable life as a wife and teacher in a typical small southern town. However, her faith drove her  choose a different path. Not only did she leave behind the comforts of home in Mississippi to live (along with my grandfather) in Nigeria and work to teach and care for many challenging populations like the blind and the leperous, but she did it all while bringing four daughters into the the world to raise in the middle of rural Africa. Quite impressive to say the least. I still have memories of talking to her across the crackling phone line from abroad as she and my grandfather continued their work and administration for many years into my childhood. When they finally returned to the US, she remained just as active in her leadership of women’s programs, literacy, and missions support at her church and always kept their home full of music as she played on the piano. her later years, my mom and her sisters watched her struggle with a slowly degrading loss of memory and function before she passed away on New Year’s Eve 2012. But there is much to celebrate about her long life of work overseas in Africa and the welcome home she made for all of us afterwards.


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