How does one define the matriarch of a family? The matriarch of a family must be strong. She must be respected. She must be fair. She must be supportive. She must be kind. She must be gentle. But most importantly, she must be loved, and that is who our beloved Elizabeth Ann Stewart was to us.
Born on July 23, 1945 in Havre de Grace, Maryland to the late Francis Jones and Edward L. Perkins, Elizabeth, affectionately known as Libby, was a vibrant but tough young woman. She didn’t take any stuff from anyone, and she always had a smile. At a young age, Elizabeth was an active member at St. James A.M.E. Church in Havre de Grace. Libby loved and trusted God in all she did. At church, she sang on the Junior and Senior choirs and later the Vernon Sewell Ensemble Mass Choir. She remained active in the church assisting wherever needed. She served as President of the Annual Children’s Day event and supported in the Annual Summer Enrichment Program sponsored by the church.
Elizabeth was educated in Harford County at the Havre de Grace Consolidated School. In 1963 she graduated from high school and sought to use her education to make a better life for her family, and she enrolled at the Cortez Peters Business School in Baltimore, Maryland. Libby loved to serve and help others, which is why she was a member of The International Order of Youth Fraternity , a masonic youth service organization that teaches leadership training through community service to young women. When she became an adult, she joined the Eastern Star Chapter 20 to pledge her lifelong commitment to helping others through community service.
After high school she met her one and only love Nathaniel C. Stewart, Sr., and on October 3, 1964, they wed and began to grow their family. From this union came six children, whom they loved and cared for: Nathaniel, Jr., Aaron, Adriene, Napoleon, Nicole, and Jonnette. Libby relished being a mother. She cared for each one of her children and always offered them individual attention no matter what was happening.
Taking care of people came naturally to Libby. She took care of her children, the neighborhood children, and even family members. Libby was an active parent add community member. She chaired the Somerset Manner (Hilltown) committee that sponsored youth to attend trips to amusement parks and the annual block party. Shortly after her own children grew older, she also began to care for everyone else’s children. Being the outgoing people person she was, the caretaker job was a perfect fit for her. With a genuine love and passion, she committed herself every day to each child she cared for and loved what she did. She threw herself into this roll wholeheartedly, and this passion led to her forming lifelong bounds with not only the children but their families as well.
At the forefront of all of the qualities that have made her a wonderful human being was her ability to be of service to others. Libby was always giving and had a huge heart with so much love to give. Miss Libby, as she was affectionately called by all the neighborhood children, had an open door policy. If she had it, so did you, even if it wasn’t much. Her willingness to love and her sincerity and kindness made her one of the most kindhearted and easiest souls to love.
She leaves to cherish her children Aaron (Jonya) of Las Vegas; Adriene (Ellis Sr.) of Canton, GA; Nicole of Aberdeen, MD; and Jonnette of Aberdeen, MD. Also, she leaves one daughter in law Linda Stewart; two brothers Kenneth Perkins of Aberdeen, MD and Mark Perkins of Harford County. She also leaves to cherish 17 grandchildren Ellis Jr., Si’tisha, Paris, Nathan, Samantha, Eellisa, Aaliyah, Elijah, Nataya, Aaron, Jr. , Jzontaya, Clemont, Aanjalina, Jamie, Natalie, Namiah, and Megan. Her God-children Delayne Johnson, Jerod Henson, Jennifer McKee, Jeffrey Shivers, Jr., and Shannel Shivers. She also leaves special friends Paula Garrett and Ceceila Brown, and a host of nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives who loved and cherished her.