Dr. Mary Elizabeth Ashley-Livingston was born on December 4, 1950, to the late Clyde Ashley and Quincy Marie Ashley in Salley, South Carolina. She received her primary and secondary education at the A. L. Corbett School ultimately receiving her high school diploma from the South Carolina Adult Education Program. She received Christ at an early age having been baptized at the Piney Grove Baptist Church in Perry, South Carolina on July 6, 1960.
In 1966, Dr. Ashley-Livingston married Reverend Dr. L. V. Johnson, Sr. in Richland County, South Carolina. From this union, four (4) children were born, Arlene, Marlene, Levan, Jr. and Christopher.
As a life-long learner, Dr. Ashley-Livingston received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Benedict College in 1973. She later received a Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from University of South Carolina - Upstate in 1978 and a second Master of Arts Degree in School Administration/Supervision from University of South Carolina – Columbia in 1989. In 2005, Dr. Ashley-Livingston earned a Doctor of Education Degree in Elementary and Middle School Administration/Principalship from the Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Ashley-Livingston had a distinguished career in Education impacting the lives of thousands of elementary school age children for over thirty-four (34) years in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and throughout the state of South Carolina. She served as an elementary school science teacher, assistant principal, principal and school district administrator prior to her retirement in February 2007.
In 1998, Dr. Ashley-Livingston married Vandie Livingston in Perry, South Carolina. As a result of this union, Dr. Ashley-Livingston gained a bonus family including a daughter, Lizbeth, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Upon retirement, she entered a second career as a grant writer and educational consultant for over fifteen (15) years. It was Dr. Ashley-Livingston’s joy to help individuals and entities identify the resources necessary to fulfill mission and purpose. The great joy of her grant writing career was writing the grant to build the Samaria Sunday School Union, Incorporated building in her hometown of Perry, South Carolina. In addition to this grant, Dr. Ashley-Livingston worked closely with the Samaria Sunday School Union as a member of the Executive Board and constant supporter.
As a proud alumna of Benedict College, Dr. Ashley Livingston loved “her” Benedict Tigers. She was a constant supporter of her alma mater and active alumna of Benedict College National Alumni Association. Dr. Ashley-Livingston constantly encouraged other alumni to both join their local alumni club and provide financial support for Benedict College. She not only encouraged others to show support, but she showed her support for Benedict by joining the Half Century Club and the Benefactor Club at Benedict College. She was a constant voice in the Salley-Springfield Benedict Alumni Club, always promoting support of her alma mater. Upon moving to Baltimore to spend time with her children, Dr. Ashley-Livingston joined the Baltimore Benedict Club. She was known to bring a sweet spirit to all gatherings. Club members also relied on Dr. Ashley-Livingston for inspiration and knowledge. At the time of her death, Dr. Ashley-Livingston served as the President of the Baltimore Benedict Club where her last act as President was to moderate the December Club meeting and sending heartfelt Christmas greetings to all members.
Dr. Ashley-Livingston loved God and enjoyed life to the fullest. She loved to travel, spend time with friends and was an avid Scrabble player. She also loved shopping at Dollar General and Walmart for “her knick-knacks”. She had an infectious smile that would light up any room she entered and warm the hearts of every person she encountered. She loved her church families and faithfully supported Piney Grove Baptist Church and First Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church.
Dr. Ashley-Livingston was also constant source of private support to many students going to college and seeking other advanced degrees. From words of encouragement to financial gifts and care packages and even tuition assistance, she worked hard to support the next generation of African American professionals.
Dr. Ashley-Livingston is rejoined in Heaven with her husband, Vandie Livingston, her parents, Clyde Ashley and Quincy Marie Ashley and three of her siblings, Eleanor Marie Ashley, Clyde Ashley Jr, and Clayton Ashley. She leaves a legacy of love in her four children, Arlene Johnson (Douglass), Marlene Johnson, Levan Johnson, Jr. and Christopher Johnson; three grandchildren, Norman Coray Hairston (Brunette), Xavier Johnson, Crissondra-Lee Johnson and D’Aleczandria Johnson; her sisters, Essie Lou Ashley and Audrey Ashley; her bonus family, Lizbeth Lecesne, Monique Macklin, Nicole Garland, Matthew Garland, Monica Lecesne, Nastacia Ford(Dorian), Taraji Nutter, Kadence Ford, Gabrielle Ford and Zara Ford; her best friends, Regina Purcell, Mae V. Tyler Tobin, Reverend Dr. Lavenia Sapp and Carolyn Coleman and a host of nieces, nephews, other family members, colleagues and friends.
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