Harriet Hermenia Houston, the 9th and youngest child of Stephen and Eva Forrest, was born in Charleston, South Carolina on April 8, 1945.
‘Pep’, as she was affectionately known by her family and friends, grew up on James Island and attended Charleston County Public Schools. She was always full of life possessing an independent, strong willed but generous spirit. She enjoyed having a good time.
At the age of 19, Pep met and married Henry Wilson; a marriage in which she took two children, Alfonzo and Lacrecia. To provide a better life for the newly formed family Pep and Henry moved to and settled in Brooklyn, New York where other family members established themselves. Pep had several jobs before settling on employment as a nurse’s aide at Coney Island Hospital where she worked for more than 25 years. After 5 years of marriage, Tonya Yvette was born as the family continued to adapt and thrive in their new surroundings. As sometimes happens, after 17 years of marriage the couple decided to go their separate ways but remained connected as friends through the children.
Harriet continued to work hard to maintain and provide the standard of living which she wasn’t afforded growing up. She often reminded her children that she wanted and expected them to do better – to accomplish more than she did.
After some time, Pep found love again in the person of John Henry Houston. John adored Pep and did all in his power to make her happy. 6 years into their marriage, God chose them to love and parent a newborn, Jamel Henry. Jamel brought new energy into a family that already had two young adult children and a teenager. He was his mother and father’s new joy. Pep and John remained happily married until he was called Home in May,2000.
Through all the challenges that life brought Harriet always held onto to her faith. She accepted Christ as her Savior at a young age and her trust in Him never wavered. In her last conversation with her daughter Lacretia she told her to “trust God” because that’s what she was doing and that’s what she always did. She was an active and devoted member of Open Door Church of God In Christ pastored by the Rev. Dr. Bernard Taylor where she was known for bringing up a hymn during a service. She was also well known for her cooking, especially her bread pudding. As a matter of fact, Pep ministered through cooking, inviting all and anyone for ‘at least’ a plate of food and a bit of advice.
Harriet ‘Pep’ Houston was called to her eternal rest early Monday morning, March 30, 2020.
She was preceded in her journey Home by her parents, Stephen and Eva Forrest; her siblings, Harrison Forrest, Coleman Forrest, Edward Forrest, Leroy Brisbane, Johan Eurie, and Lavinia Parker.
Harriet ‘Pep’ leaves to live and to cherish her memory her children, Jamel Houston (Amina), Tonya Wilson-Gilbert (Willis), Lacretia McRae (Willie), and Alfonzo Forrest; her grandchildren Roneika Smith (Elmer), Ronald Ladson Jr., Jullisa Campbell (Ian), Daquan Whaley, Kamile Wilson, Rashade Wilson and Assata Melina Houston; her great-grandchildren Aalexus, Triston, Evan, and Morgan; her siblings James Forrest, Mary-Ann Brisbane, Susan Forrest, and Leroy White (Clarice); her sister in-laws Ruthie-Mae Forrest, Francis Brisbane; her adopted children Michael Leak and Shatisha Ward; her grandchildren and great grandchildren by family extension, and a host of adopted sons and daughters, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Alfonzo, Lacrecia, Tonya and Jamel would like to publicly acknowledge and thank Mr. Oliver Stevens who provided the deserving, love, companionship, and support to their mother during the final years and days of her life. He will always be loved.
Local Services will be announced later.
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