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Iona Elizabeth Pearson Corley

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Iona Elizabeth Pearson Corley Obituary
Corley, Iona Elizabeth Pearson October 8, 1935 to May 13, 2014 Iona Elizabeth Pearson Corley was born October 8, 1935 outside of Greenwood, Mississippi to the late Reverend Emmitt and Roberta Pearson. Iona, known affectionately as the "Big Sister", was the first of seventeen children blessed to have parents who provided them strong Christian foundation early in life. At the age of three she moved with her parents to Chicago, Illinois where she attended Robert S. Abbott grammar school and later attended the Lucy Flowers High School for girls. Iona confessed Christ at an early age as her personal Savior and was baptized at Progressive Baptist Church of Chicago by the late Reverend T. E. Brown. Her family relocated to Blue Island, Illinois where she attended and graduated from Thornton Township High School in Harvey Illinois and also joined Emmanuel M.B. Church under the leadership of the late Reverend Harold E. Worthington. After completing high school, Iona attended the Chicago Public School for Nursing and graduated in 1954 receiving her LPN license for the state of Illinois. On January 17, 1959, Iona was united in Holy Matrimony to her loving husband, Robert N. Corley Jr., which added eight more brothers and sisters to her family. After marriage Robert and Iona started their life together in Gary, Indiana and were blessed with two sons, Melvin and Robert III. Iona was a faithful steward of her talents and genuinely loved caring for others. She worked at Methodist Hospital Northlake and the former St. Mary's Hospital in Gary and at several hospitals throughout Illinois (University of Chicago, Cook County, and Oak Forest). Although she worked in every wing of the hospital, her passion was geriatrics and oncology which led her to work at several Nursing homes throughout Northern Indiana. She also worked with the Visiting Nurses Association and the Nurse Staff Agency. Being the fighter she was, Iona was never afraid to stand for equality in the workplace and attempted to form a union based on her convictions early in her career. Iona loved to travel and to talk. She traveled internationally from Africa to Canada and from South America to Mexico, and nationally in over forty-two states and was at home on the sea sailing on 18 cruises throughout the Caribbean and Tropics. Iona really enjoyed talking on the phone, sight-seeing, cross word puzzles, reading, playing scrabble and meeting people. She was a faithful member of her neighborhood block club and social clubs. Iona joined Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church /Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Gary where she continued her stewardship serving as a parish nurse, a youth Sunday school teacher and a member of several church based committees. As wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, cousin and friend, "Big Sister" was family oriented and stressed the importance of education. She was always very supportive of everyone's dreams and relished in their accomplishments. Iona was preceded in death by parents, Reverend Emmett and Roberta Pearson; siblings, Larry Pearson, Hattie Smith, Clara Sneed and Mary Belle Smith. She leaves to mourn her husband of fifty five years, Robert N. Corley Jr.; two sons, Melvin Corley (Lafayette, IN) and Dr. Robert N. (Dr. Michelle) Corley III (Chesterfield, VA); six grandchildren, Terrance, Alicia, Alexandria, Kristen, Justin, and Jordan; one great-grandson, Elijah; thirteen brothers and sisters, Emmitt Pearson (Blue Island, IL), Lamar (Ann) Pearson (Chicago, IL), Brenda (Alfred) Covington (Calumet Park, IL), Michael (Lucille) Pearson (Harvey, IL), Leon Pearson (Aberdeen, MD), Diane (Emmanuel) Robinson (Williamsburg, VA) Cynthia Pearson, (Chicago Heights, IL), Roberto (Jeanette) Pearson, (Markham, IL), Sandra (Edward) Harris, (Flossmoor, IL), Alphonso (Renee) Pearson, (Creek, IL), Jo Ann (Michael) Banks, (University Park, IL), Sonja Pearson, (Blue Island, IL); and a special aunt, Eunice Carter (Mansfield, OH); other loving in-laws, Clara Roberts (Hazlehurst, MS), Faye Jones, (Lafayette, IN), Mary Johnson (Merriville, IN), Hazel (Wendell) King (Jackson, MS), Hannah (Hurtis) McFarland (Gary, IN), Jerry (Paulette) Corley, (Brookhaven, MS), and a host of nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, cousins and lifelong friends. Visitation Sunday, May 18, 2014 from 12:00noon-8:00p.m. with family hours from 6:00-8:00p.m. at the Guy & Allen Chapel, 2959 W. 11th Ave. Funeral service Monday, May 19, 2014 at 11:00a.m. at Western Christian Community Church, 2826 W. 15th Ave. Pastor Michael Steinke officiating. Interment Oak Hill Cemetery. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing [2 Tim. 4:7-8, KJV]". And then he will say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant [Matt. 25:21]".

Published in the Post Tribune on May 16, 2014
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