Christian 01

Dr. Ethel Purvis Stokes

April 27, 1925 ~ July 23, 2020 (age 95)


Dr. Ethel P. Stokes 

Lady Ethel P. Stokes 95, 'mounted on the wings of an eagle' and has made her way to her Heavenly Father. She made this sweet transition on July 23, 2020 at St. Joseph's/Candler Hospital. Dr. Stokes led a glorious life and has left an indelible mark on every single person that she has ever met.

Dr. Stokes was a native of Salters, South Carolina; the daughter of the late Reverend Dottie and Annie Purvis. She was the second oldest of eighteen siblings. Dr. Stokes received her formal education in the public schools of Williamsburg County and furthered her education in various Colleges and Universities in the Southeastern  United States. She received a bachelor's degree from Morris College in Sumter, SC and a Master's  Degree from South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, SC. Dr. Stokes did further studies at Temple University, Philadelphia, PA , Winston-Salem Teachers College, Winston-Salem, NC, Hampton Institute, Hampton, VA, the University of Georgia, Athens, GA and Georgia Southern College, Statesboro, GA. In addition to her secular education experiences, she received her doctorate in the area of Christian Education from Brown's University in Downingtown, PA.

Dr. Stokes was a retired principal from the Savannah-Chatham County School System. She served in the education field for 37 years having taught in South Carolina (St. Stephens and Andrews) for 14 years, Savannah for 11 years and as principal for 12 years at Anderson Street Elementary School. She was a member of several professional organizations during her years in this field. 

In addition to her education experiences, Dr. Stokes was a very dedicated and committed member of several civic and social organizations. She served on the  Board of Savannah Science Museum,  a Girl Scout Leader and a member of the Order of Eastern Star. She held offices in the Jonquil Garden Club, Sigma of Alpha Pi  Chi Sorority, the East Side Neighborhood Association and the NAACP.

Dr. Stokes was a faithful and committed member at all the churches that her husband, the late Rev. Dr. W. Franklin Stokes, II was fortunate to be the pastor. She taught Sunday School classes, sang in the choirs and worked diligently with all other ministries of these churches. She held continuous membership at the historic First African Baptist Church of Savannah, GA- the oldest black church in North America. Her husband was the 15th Pastor (of 17) of this historic congregation. This church was her love and she worked untiringly with Pastor Tillman until her health failed recently.  

Dr. Stokes was the past president of the interdenominational Ministers' Wives and Widows Association and the Baptist Ministers' Wives and Widows Alliance in Savannah. Additionally, she held the prestigious title of President of Georgia Association of Ministers' Wives and Ministers' Widows for eight years. She distinguished herself as a great orator-speaking at churches colleges and other organizations throughout the United Stated and abroad.

Dr. Stokes leaves to cherish her memory; her son, William F. Stokes, III (Cynthia); her daughters, Ethel Stokes Bowles (Ernest) and Saundria Stokes Jackson; eight grandchildren; thirty two great-grandchildren; two lovely great great-granddaughters. Additionally, she leaves to cherish her memory six  sisters-Diane, ,Emma, Annie, Dot, Claudia, Lucille; 2 brothers- Eugene and William. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends are left to spread the good news of her love and laughter for everyone.

Her life's mission has always been 'if I can help somebody as they pass along, then my living will not be in vain.' She was indeed a woman of great stature, both physically and intellectually. She will always be remembered for her unwavering love of God, love of family, love for the church and love for every endeavor that came her way.

Graveside services will be held 11:00 am Friday August 7, 2020 at Oak Grove Cemetery. Mask and Social distancing are required. Public viewing Thursday August 6, 2020 from 3-6;00 pm at the Chapel of Bynes-Royall.

                                                                                                                    To God Be The Glory    

Services of Comfort are entrusted  to  Bynes-Royall Funeral Inc. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Ethel Purvis Stokes, please visit our floral store.


August 6, 2020

3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Bynes-Royall Funeral Home
204 W Hall St
Savannah, GA 31401

Graveside Service
August 7, 2020

11:00 AM
Oak Grove Cemetery
Skidaway Road @ 52nd Street
Savannah, GA 31404

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