Essie Mae Kirkland • March 25, 2023

Essie Mae Kirkland, 92, of Pensacola passed away on Saturday, March 25, 2023.

She was born in Jay, Florida to Ira and Mattie Carnley and was raised on a farm where they grew vegetables and cotton which she mentioned picking cotton and many times getting pricked by the pods that held the cotton fibers. Essie loved running through her neighborhood and visiting friends and neighbors as well as walking to church. She and her younger sister Corine liked to play in and around a nearby pond, climb trees, lay back on the ground and listen to the birds sing. Essie’s father passed when she was 6 years old and her mother followed shortly after. She and her younger sister stayed on the farm and were watched over by an older brother until she left home for Pensacola at the age of 16, in 1947. Essie began working at Dainty Dell’s Restaurant that she truly enjoyed as she loved the comradery with the patrons and the owners. She soon married and started her family in 1948. She began working at *Chemstrand/Monsanto/Solutia (Eastman Chemical) which they often called “The Plant” in 1953 or 1954 as a Drawtwist Operator (twisting the manufactured yarn for Astro turf and Automobile tires) on the D shift and worked rotating shifts that changed every 7 days and raised 6 children during her 31 year tenure in which she retired in 1985 or 1986. After Retiring, she continued to nurture her family and help neighbors and friends while she maintained her home and yard that sits on an acre of land (she tilled, planted and maintained her own big garden). Essie was a member of Cora Baptist Church in Jay, Florida.

Essie is preceded in death by her parents, four brothers and three sisters as well as her son, Johnny L. Grubbs; grandson, Ray Junior Grubbs II; ex-spouse of 9-10 years, Hubert R. Grubbs and ex-spouse of 21 years, Alfred E. Edgar.

She is survived by her son, Ray Grubbs (Betty); daughters, Rita Hall (Jerry), Mary Sue Watson (Jimmie), JoAnn Hope (Willie), Donna Gist (Jim); 19 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren and 33 great-great grandchildren.

A visitation will be held at Pensacola Memorial Gardens Funeral Home on Thursday, March 30, 2023 from 1pm until the service begins at 2pm led by Pastor Gene Hudson. Pallbearers will be Fred Bergeron, Ray Grubbs, Keith Grubbs, Clayton Grubbs, Logan Vaughn and Willie Mack. Honorary Pallbearers are Jim Gist, Jerry Hall and Jimmie Watson.

In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, donations may be made to Ethan Bergeron Foundation (great-grandson) at Servis First Bank 219 E. Garden St. #100 Pensacola, Fl 32502 (850)-266-9100 or 4980 N. 12th Ave. Pensacola, Fl 32504 (850)-266-9160

  1. Jo Hope says:

    Mama I love you, my heart is broken but I know you are not in any more pain. I miss you. You are the best woman and mom I have ever known the strongest person. I will cherish all the wonderful memories with you. I hope to see you again one day

  2. Rita Hall says:

    Love and miss you mama, you will be in my heart forever.

  3. Joyce Cranford says:

    Love and Prayers to the whole family!
    She was a very nice lady.

  4. The Marcy's says:

    We love you Great Aunt Essie and family! We will be there in spirit tomorrow.
    Love your family in TN,
    Matthew, Katelynn, Jewel, Margaret, Essie, and Duke

  5. Donna Gist says:

    Mama I love and miss you so very much! My heart is broken at least I know that you are not in any more pain. You will be in my heart forever until we see each other again until then enjoy your reunion with daddy, Johnny and the rest of the family that has gone ahead of you.

  6. April Bergeron says:

    I will love and miss you always Grandma.
    Our lives will not be the same without you.

  7. JoAnn Kemp says:

    My love, blessings, and prayers. I have beautiful memories of my family members when I was growing up. I wish I could reach back hugging my family members never to lose them. My love. JoAnn

  8. Jerry Hall says:

    Ms. Essie, I will miss our times visiting together and your big smile. God bless you.

  9. Michael Grubbs says:

    I love so much GiGi it was always good to see you out and about thanks for making my child hood very special we’ll love and miss you always

  10. Ray J. Grubbs says:

    I knew you longer than the rest. You cared for me, sometimes alone. You accepted my friends as family. You forgave me for being a rotten teenager. When I married, you treated my wife as your daughter. Mama I miss you and I love you very much. XOXOXO.

  11. Leslie Grubbs says:

    You will be always loved and forever missed. What is a loss for all of us is a reunion for the ones who have missed her for quite some time. You have done so much for so many and this is your time to spread your wings. Please give Johnny(dad)(papa) a big hug for me and his grandbabies.

  12. James Watson says:

    Ms. Essie, I will miss the visits we had and the nightly prayers we shared. You are now one of Gods “Special SonBeams”
    In Christ

  13. Hayward says:

    She was a loving mother and she worked hard even when she worked on the farm

  14. Mary Sue Watson says:

    Mama there are no words to express how I grieve for you. I love and miss you so very much but I know I will see you again when God calls me home.

  15. Bridget (Grubbs) Kutz says:

    Grandma, I miss you dearly. Thank you for taking care of me. I cherish every weekend and summers off from school when I would stay with you. Thank you for all of the love, the advice and wisdom you shared with me over the years. I love you so much.

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