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Mamie Ruth McNeely, Buffalo pastor’s wife once taught ‘Roots’ author Alex Haley

April 22, 1916 – Jan. 7, 2016

Mamie Ruth McNeely, 99, the wife of a longtime Buffalo pastor, died Jan. 7 in the Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Buffalo after a long illness. She was 99.

The former Mamie Ruth Watkins was a native of Henning, Tenn. She was educated at Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.

She married the Rev. Edward D. McNeely in 1945, and they moved to Western New York in 1948.

Mrs. McNeely worked with her husband, who was pastor for many years of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Buffalo. Her duties included teaching Sunday school, leading the Board of Christian Education and singing in the choir. She was also on the church’s board of trustees.

As a teacher early in her life, Mrs. McNeely counted Alex Haley, who would write the book “Roots,” among her students.

Her husband died in August 1977. She is survived by a stepson, Edward D. McNeely Jr.

Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday in Friendship Baptist Church, 402 Clinton St.

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