Family History Tree Memento by Evelyn Jackson
O'Kelley Family Tree

Disclaimer: This tree was drawn in the 1970's based on oral history.  There are a few known discrepancies.  Family members are welcome to submit updates or corrections for our growing family tree.  This tree drawing is a  family memento.

O'Kelley Family Reunion Logo
O'Kelley Family Logo

O'Kelley Name Crest
O'Kelley Crest

August 24, 1957
Chicago, IL
Morgan Park Seventh Day Adventist Church


Transcript from “THIS IS YOUR LIFE” Celebration for Evelina O’Kelley Bush from her pastor Kenneth Jackson

Sr. Bush, I know you made those remarks on behalf of the church and I want to thank them for their kind thoughts, but I want to thank you especially for the time when I first came to Morgan Park.  You have been one of the best supporters of any program which I have been behind.  And since I have been with the MV department you have been more active than ever. Therefore, in appreciation for your good works, today: THIS IS YOUR LIFE.   Here to share it with you are many of the family as we could gather together. 

 [Enter family; record music “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring; Family is seated]

I understand that you have wanted to have a family reunion.  What better time and place to have a reunion than on the Sabbath in God’s house.

Yes, Evelina O’Kelley-Bush, presently active as a Deaconess  and Missionary  Leader in the Morgan Park SDA (Seventh Day Adventist) Church.  Born near Natchez, Mississippi, November 7, 1887, the first of ten children born to Dan and Rosy O’Kelley.  Your mother and father are gone now but you can look forward to seeing your dear parents again -for back many years ago you were instrumental in bringing them into the truth.  Perhaps, all of you can sing together at Jesus’ feet, “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

You were raised in a town called Magenta near Greenfield Mississippi and what good times you did have there.  Your joy was working in the field and in the garden although sometimes you had to work long hours in the field.

 [Voice of (her sister)Helen Pickens] …When we did work long hours Mama would bring our meals out to us.  [Enter Helen Pickens and also Teresa O’Neil]

Oh, the good old days of youth!  But youth is a time for school and so you spent several years in school at Magenta.  Ah, but youth also is a time for love.  Naturally, there was a battle between love and school but love won out and you and Thomas Carter went off to Louisiana and got married.

 Back in Magenta, you and Thomas carter were very devoted to one another.  You were blessed with two children and life smiled happily at all four of you.  You were moved from Magenta to Hollondale, MS and from there to Greenville.

Tragedy struck and your husband contracted tuberculosis and succumbed this dreadful disease.

Things just weren’t the same though and you packed your things and moved north to Chicago and settled on Lake Street. By then, you had married again to Edward Thomas.   Robbins, Illinois appealed to you and you purchased out there.  Hence, in 1924, religion played a bigger and bigger part in your life and you became a member of the Baptist Triumph Church of God.  Despite this, you and Edward couldn’t see eye to eye.  You were divorced and again you were without a husband.

 [Record playing : “At Times Life This you Need a Saviour”

The place you would expect to go to find peace and strength at a time like this would be the church.  But what happened?…the Baptist Triumph Church  disbanded and you had to search for another place to worship.  Along came a Mrs. Chaver, who convinced you that Saturday was the right day to worship.  So you joined the Mission Church of God in Christ.  Mr. Chavers was the Bishop and Mrs. Chavers was the Paster and you were the assistant pastor.

Tragedy returned in a consuming fire  which destroyed the Chaver’s home. Because of the huge loss, they were compelled to return to Carymill, IL- their home.  For four to five years your carried on as best as you could, clinging to the little light you had.

 No, in the Baptist Triumph Church , on the Mission Church of God in Christ you didn’t find a Savior but God must have been leading, for you did find Harry Bush, a man who would later on was to play a very important part in your life.  For in 1928, wedding bells again rang and you were entered into Holy Matrimony a third time. 

You still had your two children with you by your first marriage and the task of raising them.  Every resource was used to bring them up correctly.

 [Voice of Nancy Reeves: Mama do you remember the job you had of breaking me of sucking my thumb? (Nancy Reeves enters)- Evelina Bush:  Oh yes.  Mother’s wit won out]

 Finally, in 1938 Brother Robert White started holding tent meetings in Robbins, IL.  He too was a Sabbath keeper and the message he preached intrigued you.  The difference in his message was he preached concerning the Second coming Christ whereas Mrs Chavens had taught that Jesus had already come. You accepted this message and your life of service really began.


Swayed by the example of your life and a sincere inquiry on his own part, Harry finally became an Adventist.  Your joy for him knew no bounds.

Though you now had much smoother sailings in your own life, your children had their problems.  Beatrice had married and looked forward to the birth of their first child.

 [Voice of Beatrice Thomas: We looked forward to the birth of our first child, but to our sorrow he was born with spastic paralysis. (Enter Mrs. Thomas)]

 I understand that there was a family reunion in 1945. What a time , What a time.  You all sat down to dinner but for some reason or another all of you got sick except your fist cousin Mary O’Kelley.  So it became her job to get medicine to all the ill.

 We spoke a little of the services that you have performed for your fellow man and we want to list a few more:

 In 1950-52 your brother John O’Kelley became ill and you took the best of care of him during his illness.  Three years ago your neice, Mrs. Williams, was ill for 9 months and you took complete charge of the two children and ran yours and her households efficiently.

At one of the address in which you have lived in Chicago, there was a lady on the fist floor who was blind and you made it your practice to go down and clean for her.  Another lady lived in the front who was partially blind and an alcoholic on top of this, and you tried to straighten our her life because she was a tale-bearer and made up all sorts of accusations against you.

You have shown that you believe in letting our light shine before men because your brought your sister into the Adventist truth by giving her Bible studies.  I understand also that on your recent visit to St. Louis, you also gave your sisters there Bible studies.  Now that was a hard job- to give Bible studies to your own family.

 Members of your family who couldn’t be here wanted to share in this tribute to you and I want to read their letters to you:


“….Sr. Bush,

No words nor money could express the appreciation which your family has for the unstinted service you have given them; the appreciation which others have and the appreciation which the Morgan Park Church has for the services you have rendered. All we are able to do is offer you this permanent record of the program today which we all know you will cherish.   And since gardening has been one of your favorite pastimes, we give you some of the choice fruits of the garden….”

[Enter Lonetta Reeves]

 Mrs Evelina O’Kelley Bush, This is Your Life!

 [Record plays: Onward Christain Solders] 

Evelina Bush and sister Helen Pickens

Evelina O’Kelley Bush-L and her sister Hellen O'Kelley Pickens-R

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