Irene Freeman Briggs, 70, ended her earthly journey Wednesday, July 3, 2019, at Memorial Satilla Health in Waycross. She was surrounded by her loved ones and friends.
Her earthly journey began in Sanford, FL, May 17, 1949, as she was born the second child of Nathaniel Freeman and Maxine Ashley Freeman. The family moved to Detroit, MI and finally to Blackshear, where, at the age of five, she entered Pierce County Training School. She entered Lee Street High School, Blackshear and graduated with the class of 1967. After high school, she enrolled in the Job Corp - thus sending her back on her journey to Detroit, MI. S he married Israel Briggs, October 10, 1971 and to this union a son was born, Randy Dion Briggs.
She joined the City of Detroit Police Department in 1977. She served on the police force for 30 years and retired July 7, 2007. Again, she made her way back home to Patterson. She began another employment with the Ware State Prison as a corrections officer in Waycross. She was known within and throughout the prison walls as “Sergeant Briggs and Gangster Granny”.
She was a person that gave respect to all, but she demanded respect also. She was a person that went strictly by the book, no matter who you were. If anything was on your person that shouldn’t be, you were detained at the entrance. During her career, she received many awards. She decided to retire from the Pprison but stayed on in order to train others.
She reconnected with the St. James Missionary Baptist Church, Patterson in 2008. She served on the usher ministry, trustee board, vice president of the senior mission ministry and vice president of the usher ministry. Her passion was talking to the young people, helping them to realize that there are always consequences to our actions. She encouraged them to dress appropriately, watch your friendship associations, stay in school and have great work ethics.
She loved the children, but she took Al Ashley under her wings, calling him “her Boo”, always admonishing him to do what’s right whether alone or under supervision. Deacon Robert and BB Ashley’s home was the place for our Sunday dinner, She would prepare a feast, enough food to feed the community and the house was full of love. Prayer before the meal, watching football games, laughter and plenty of talking. Then it was time for her to go home and watch Columbo.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Nathaniel Briggs and Maxine Ashley Freeman; her husband, Israel Briggs; two brothers, Kelvin Freeman and Mark Freeman and one sister, Joan Freeman.
Those left to cherish her loving memories are her son, Randy Dion Briggs, Texas; four brothers, Robert L. Freeman, Jacksonville, FL, James H. Freeman, Atlanta, Albert (Pam) Freeman, Detroit, MI and Bennie E. Freeman, Oklahoma; four sisters, Patricia Dobson, Waycross, Villira Bates (Jeffrey) Jones, Joyce Freeman and Vivian Freeman, Detroit, MI; one aunt, Catherine (Lindsay) Vail, Waycross, two close childhood, renewed friends; Patricia Wilson and Estella Ashley, both of Patterson and numerous loving nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 13, from the St. James (on the Ridge) Missionary Baptist Church, Patterson. Bishop A. Wilmont Williams, pastor, will give words of comfort to the family.
Interment will follow in Gethsemane Cemetery near Patterson.
The cortege will assemble at 10:15 a.m. Saturday at 3295 Tyre Bridge Road, Patterson.
Rainge Memorial Chapel Funeral Home of Blackshear is in charge of arrangements.