Delesta G. Cross, 96, of Washington, DC, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2021. She was born in Corapeake, NC Oct. 15, 1924, the youngest of seven children, to Rev. Elijah Harris Griffin and Mary Etta Parker Griffin.
As the daughter of a preacher, she grew up and participated in many church activities. She excelled at public speaking and sang in the choir.
After graduating from Gates County High School in 1941, Delesta attended Hampton Institute in Hampton, VA and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education in 1944, fulfilling a lifelong desire to be a teacher. She accepted her first teaching position in Blackstone, VA. While at Hampton Institute, she met her future husband, H. Sullivan Cross, and they were married in 1946.
After Delesta married, she moved to Washington, DC and became a mother and homemaker to her 3 children. She and Sullivan joined Metropolitan Baptist Church in 1947. She was a faithful Deaconess and choir member and loved to plan programs and participate as a speaker for church events. After her children were school age, she returned to teaching, accepting a position in the DC Public Schools. Because of her love of books, Delesta decided to pursue a Master’s Degree which allowed her to become an elementary school librarian. In 1987, she retired as the school librarian at Seaton Elementary School.
Delesta loved children and loved to read to them, so much so that she maintained a home library of children’s books for all who visited. She also loved music and was an active member of the Senior Choir at Metropolitan Baptist Church for over 60 years. Her passion for gardening was evident in the beautifully manicured yard at her home.
She is pre-deceased by her husband, H. Sullivan Cross, and her son, Gayle S. Cross. Delesta leaves to cherish her memory: two daughters -Angela Cross and Marcia Cross-Briscoe; one sister-in-law, Rosetta Mask Griffin; one daughter-in-law, Brenda Farmer Cross; three grandchildren - Leeta Cross Brown (Tyrone), Kurtis S. Cross (Paula), and Kareem J. Briscoe (Tejanae); eight great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Capital Area Food Bank https://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/
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