On Friday, October 22, 2021, Ernestine Marie Barnes Ware, BSN, RN, CDCES, affectionately known as “Tine” to her family, transitioned from this earthly realm to her heavenly home to reap the rewards of God’s promise. Thankfully, another one of God’s children received her crown. Ernestine was born on April 5, 1940, in Scotland Neck, NC to the late Clarence Henry and Annie Dell Blanding Barnes.
If we were to look in Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary for a definition for Ernestine Ware, it would surely read, “a nurturing, caring, compassionate, dignified, soft-spoken prayer warrior with a big heart and a gentle spirit.” When Ernestine was a young girl, the family’s dog was accidentally burned. She took it upon herself to treat the dog’s wound until it healed. At that time, her father predicted she would become a nurse.
Ernestine loved learning and seeking knowledge was her life-long pursuit. She was educated in the Halifax County Public School System. She attended Mullens Rosenwald Elementary School and Brawley High School where she was a member of the Dramatics Club, the Library Club, and the Albert Einstein Chapter of the National Honor Society. She graduated in 1957 as class Salutatorian. As a first-generation college student, she attended Winston-Salem State University (formerly Winston-Salem State Teachers College) as a nursing student. She left Winston-Salem and later attended Federal City College, in Washington, DC and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. She was a Registered Nurse and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. She attended classes towards a master’s degree at Trinity Washington University (formerly Trinity Washington College) in Washington, DC. She was a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society, a member of the Black Nurses Association of the Greater Washington Area and a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
She met and fell in love with the love of her life, the late Walter Allen Ware, in Washington, DC in 1960. They were married for 50 plus years and were blessed with three wonderful children - Kathi, Reginald, and Rita.
Ernestine had a strong work ethic. She started her nursing career as a Private Duty Nurse. She then worked at Children’s Hospital of Washington, DC for 10 years and later joined Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. She retired from Medstar in 1999, after 24 years of service, as the Psychiatric/Eating Disorder Unit Department Head. After she retired from Medstar, she did contract nursing at Greater Southeast Hospital and Capitol Hill Hospital both in Washington, DC. When she moved back to Scotland Neck, she returned to private duty nursing. When her mother-in-law and husband became ill, she took excellent care of them until their deaths. Her entire family relied on her medical expertise and often called her before calling the doctor.
Ernestine heard her country’s call of duty and joined the United States Army Reserves in 1974. After a short tour, she decided that her small children needed her more, so she opted-out to answer the call of duty at home.
Ernestine had an entrepreneurial spirit and engaged in several business ventures. She sold life insurance and investment products for Primerica Financial Services Company, collectibles on eBay, Amway, security products for Quorum International, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and It Works wellness products. She co-owned Barnes and Ware Limousine Service and TNT Wellness.
Even though Ernestine was a hard worker, she knew how to relax and have fun. She enjoyed fishing, thrifting for vintage glass, dining out, and traveling. She traveled to many destinations within the US, Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, and loved cruising. She enjoyed activities with the Just Us Social Club of Maryland and painting with Art Buddies in Scotland Neck. She and her husband hosted many New Year’s Eve celebrations, cookouts, crab feasts, Thanksgiving, and Christmas dinners.
Ernestine was active in her community and volunteered countless hours at the Hattie Palmer Staton Senior Center of Excellence (HPSSC) in Scotland Neck. As a member of the SCOPE Committee, she was very instrumental in helping the senior center certify as a “Center of Excellence” in 2012 and to recertify in 2017. She chaired the HPSSC Advisory Council, served on the Halifax County Council on Aging Committee, and was a co-health educator at the senior center. She was certified in CPR and as a Red Cross Shelter Volunteer. She represented the senior center in the Down East Senior Games for several years, earning both medals and ribbons.
Ernestine was a faithful woman of God. Faithfulness is a gift of the Holy Spirit, and she exercised her gift without hesitation. She was reliable, steadfast, and unwavering in her service to her church. She joined Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Scotland Neck at an early age. She was a member of the Junior Choir and participated in other church activities until she left for college. She later joined Sanctuary Church at Kingdom Square in Capital Heights, Maryland. When she relocated to Scotland Neck, she rejoined Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church where she worked tirelessly for God’s glory. She faithfully attended Sunday school, bible study, was a member of the senior choir, and sang on occasion with the combined choir. She chaired the Evangelistic Ministry, and the Carpet Replacement Committee. She was consecrated as a Mother of the Church on September 30, 2018, becoming a member of the Mothers/Deaconess Board. She attended services until her health failed. Though her body became weak, her faith remained strong.
She was predeceased by her husband, Walter Allen Ware, Sr.; her parents, Clarence, and Annie Barnes; her stepson, Walter Allen Ware, Jr.; her mother-in-law, Beatrice Anderson Ware Moore; and her grandson, Derron Bartlett.
She leaves to cherish her memory and benefit from her legacy, her children, Kathi Askew (Adrian) of Clinton, MD; Reginald Ware (Reva) of Upper Marlboro, MD; and Rita Gibson (John) of Forestville, MD; her brother, Freddie L. Barnes, Sr. of Scotland Neck, NC ; her sisters, Ethel Miller of Clinton, MD, Streata Yarborough (Raymond) of Lanham, MD, Launice Owens and Elsie Barnes of Scotland Neck, NC; her aunt, Magnolia Pittman of Scotland Neck, NC; 6 grandchildren: Brandi, Nicole, Jayla, Reginald, Jacob and Kyle; her 8 great grandchildren: Treivon, Tyniah, Jermaine, Malachi, Jasiah, Teneika, Janai and McKenna; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Ernestine’s family and friends will miss her in this earthly realm, but as believers, we know that there is the promise of a sweet reunion in heaven that is everlasting. Thomas Moore said it best, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.”
Thoughts of Ernestine’s life remind us of a biblical passage quoting a message of perseverance from the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7 KJV)