Floral 10
Official Obituary of

Harriett Elizabeth Fentress

March 25, 1939 ~ February 17, 2024 (age 84) 84 Years Old

Harriett Fentress Obituary

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.”

On the evening of February 17, 2024, Harriett Elizabeth Fentress transitioned peacefully at home in Meherrin, VA, surrounded by her loving family. Harriett was born to Lillie May Eggleston and George Bennett on March 25, 1939, in Baltimore, MD. At an early age, she showed a great commitment to school and was an “A” student. This was just the beginning of her lifelong passion for learning. Growing up and as a young woman in Baltimore, Harriett enjoyed spending time with family and friends, especially at the local ice cream parlor. She would spend summers visiting family in Meherrin, VA. It was there that she met her future husband, “Jake.”

Harriett graduated from Dunbar High School in Baltimore, MD. She earned a scholarship to Morgan State University and graduated in 1961. Upon graduating, she worked at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene where she helped to develop the birth control pill and at the US Dept. of the Army at Fort Meade, MD, training personnel to verify the autopsy reports of military deaths.

Harriett and Jake had a loving marriage that produced three sons, Phillip, Michael and Lawrence “Emerson”. She was a dedicated mother who loved her boys deeply. Following the death of Jake in 1972, Harriett switched her career and began working in the Baltimore school system. This change gave her more time to raise her three boys. Her educational career has been as a science teacher, head of the science department, acting principal, and assistant principal.

Throughout her adult life, Harriett was active in various causes. For example, she was part of the civil rights movement for blacks and the equal rights movement for women. She participated in sit-ins and protest marches in Baltimore, MD. Additionally, she remained active even after retirement with her Golden Girls group and church functions. Harriett was a member of Mt. Tabor Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD. After relocating to Virginia, she joined New Bethel Baptist Church and later joined Midway Baptist Church where she was a faithful and active member until her death. She also was a member of the Mt. Zion Star Chapter #16 Order of Eastern Star and a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Harriet had a green thumb. She loved flowers, traveling, and working with young adults.

Harriet is preceded in death by her parents; sisters, Mignon Wratchford and Bertha Sheperson; brothers, George Bennett, Joe Early, Vincent Early, Truman Early; husbands, Lawrence “Jake” Early, Herman Fentress; son, Phillip Early; nephews, Willis Brown, Brian Early, and Kaunda Early.

She leaves to cherish precious memories: her sons Michael (Lisa) and Lawrence (Nancy) Early; grandchildren, Phillip Jr., Chant’e Early, Melissa Early, Nantasia Patterson, Lauren Early, Jerbree Jackson, Addison Early, and Shaylah Early; great-grandchildren, Madison Webster and Milia Early; the Golden Girls; and a host of nieces, nephews, and friends

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harriett Elizabeth Fentress, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program

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February 23, 2024

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Minor B. Eggleston Chapel
914 S Main St
Farmville, Virginia 23901

Video is available for this event

Funeral Service
February 24, 2024

11:00 AM
Midway Baptist Church
837 Guinea Rd
Farmville, VA 23901

Video is available for this event

Interment following funeral service
February 24, 2024

New Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery
14167 Farmville Rd
Meherrin, VA 23954


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