Born to Mr. John Henry and Maggie Salters in Columbus, Georgia, on June 10, 1931, Susie Lee Gilbert was the youngest of five daughters in the family. She began her Christian walk at an early age at the Antioch Baptist Church in Columbus where she sang in the choir and worked with the church missionary board.
Susie started her education in the Columbus school system. Upon graduation from Spencer High School, Susie immediately pursued higher education at the Reid’s Business College in Atlanta, Georgia. She later continued her educational path to New York City, where she attended Bronx Community College and Bernard Baruch Colleges to complete studies in Nursing.
In between her career and her love for the Lord, she met, fell in love, and married Deacon Robert Gilbert in June 1977. The two remained faithful and in love until his death.
Susie retired after 36 years in nursing at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Although she was retired from her career in nursing, she continued to serve the Lord and her community in many capacities.
Susie leaves behind a legacy of Christian devotion and discipline in her relationship with the Lord. She was actively engaged with National Baptist Conventions, New York State Empire Congress, the Women’s Auxiliary of the United Missionary Baptist Association, and certainly with her beloved church of 50 years, the Southern Baptist Church of New York City. She successfully completed the four-year Sunday School Publishing Board COP Certification Program and held certificates from the Baptist Education Center, the Leadership School, and the New York State Congress of Christian Education. She served as Chairperson to the Deaconess Committee of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Empire State Baptist Missionary Convention of New York, President and First Vice- President to the United Missionary Baptist Association Women’s Auxiliary, many years as the Junior Sunday School teacher, and over 10 years as the President of Christian Education at Southern Baptist Church.
Along with her steadfast spiritual learning, Susie spent countless days as an adult educator, tutoring and enriching the lives of adults in reading at the Fordham Public Library in the Bronx. This work resonated “pure joy” for her. She had a love for mentoring and coaching people in the church and her community. As Brother White so eloquently stated, she brought “correction” on the scene, and she demonstrated love in showing you how to conduct yourself in and outside the church. He stated she impacted his life greatly. This was also expressed by family and church members. Susie created a model for all to learn and follow, with God beside her. During her homebound years, she remained spiritually grounded in her faith until the end, joined the virtual daily prayer sessions, hosted by the Reverend Dr. J. Albert Bush, Senior at Walker Memorial Baptist Church, Monday night Women’s Auxiliary Intercessory Prayer, and weekly bible study and Sunday services at her church and Sunday services at Shiloh Baptist Church.
Susie was a classy, prim, and proper Fashionista – she had a love for hats, dress suits and shoes. She enjoyed traveling; “the Hawaii trip” was one of the best highlights of all her travels, along with her visits to Georgia and Detroit to be with family members, cruises, church trips to see the shows in Pennsylvania, State Congress, Christian retreats, and Women’s Auxiliary meetings. She had a love for fellowshipping with Christian brothers and sisters. It must be said, the Bible Studies at Abyssinian was the epiphany for her. This was the “Great News” at the start of the week -- bible discussion with Reverend Rashad R. Moore, scripture reading, and indulging in delicious food she feasted on for a week.
Susie loved to eat great food, and Harlem was the place. Whether it was the Matthews’ home, Sylvia’s, Sweet Mama’s, a BBQ stop, Jacobs, House of Prayer, Southern Baptist Church, Charles, a New York diner, or perhaps, not too far, The Gilberts in New Rochelle; Food was her delight. And of course, she had to have a dessert – cheesecake, pound cake, chocolate cake, Jell-O, mallomars cookies, and candies (milk chocolates and lifesaver peppermints).
She enjoyed quiet moments with the Lord – morning fellowship and afternoon Christian music -- and evening entertainment watching the Steve Harvey’s Family Feud, Law and Order, Blacklist, Chicago PD and Chicago Fire and Christian Network.
Susie will be tremendously missed by her family, friends, and loving church members and others in the Christian community.
Susie Lee Gilbert leaves to cherish her memory: Son – Lewis Copeland (Mary); granddaughters – Cassandra Copeland and Amber Linton; great grandchildren – Deonte Copeland, Don Copeland and Ava Linton – all of Atlanta, Georgia; Dearest nieces and nephews – Columbus and Atlanta, Georgia, Detroit, Michigan, and New York; best friends – Deacons Johnny and Dorothy Matthews and Family; a wonderful circle of friends and neighbors; and the lovely Southern Baptist Church.