Julia Mary Blanks VonLeggett was born in Bessemer, Alabama on September 27, 1914, to the late Jimmy Blanks and Francis Blanks Bradford.
She lived in Bessemer with her grandmother and father, Ida and Papa for years. Her younger sister, Ruby came along from Rube Bradford and Francis Bradford. She also had seven other siblings by Jimmy Blanks and Polly. Two of them are still living, Jack Blanks and Louis Bridges. With all that love surrounding her she began to sing in church Choirs. Her grandfather, Frank Blanks gave her piano lessons and shared her talent with his friends.
Julia developed her talent while attending school in Bessemer, where she got good playing Gospel Music. When she graduated from Dunbar High School, she was in demand to play for Choirs, weddings, and funerals. Julia not only played the piano, she sold Insurance for small debit companies around Bessemer and Birmingham, Alabama. She sold a Policy to the man she would later marry name, Arrelius VonLeggett who was a Gym School Teacher.
Julia relocated to an aunt’s house in Kansas City named Sadie Smith, whom she had visited many years before leaving Alabama. Mr. VonLeggett kept in touch and they married on July 13, 1944, in Kansas City, Missouri. They had two children during their marriage, Arrelius VonLeggett, Jr. was born on August 23, 1945 and William Oscar VonLeggett was born on July 9, 1948.
Here in Kansas City she played for churches and did light Day Work. She began to play piano for St. Stephens during the time Reverend Williams was Pastor and continued to play for Sunday School for a long time. She also added a little Alto to the Choir. Julia loved playing the piano and taking care of her husband and children. She worked with her husband and children delivering The Call Newspaper until her children had graduated from high school. They were blessed by William’s marriage to Brenda Taylor with their first grandchild, Byron VonLeggett. Later other marriages produced Moulana Shah, Marlyam Shah, and their siblings, Amanda James and Uriah James.
As a great-great-grandmother she was blessed with Jazmyne Whitlow, Jade VonLeggett, Brooklyn VonLeggett, Iona Shah, Cherish Diamond, and Journey Dodd. She also shared joy with Ramanda Smith, Amariooa Nunn, and Rozalina Nunn, Uriah James, Jr., Isiah James, and Noah James.
Other friends and family includes, Khorea VonLeggett (great-daughter- in -law), nieces: Anita Briggs, Margaret Tarver, and Thomastine Leggett-Robinson; daughters-in-law, Sammye Loretta VonLeggett and Patricia James Shah; nephew, Curtis Doss and family; the late, Tommie Doss and Lonnie Doss (nephews and Family); the late William H. Leggett ( son-in-law ) and Rose Leggett and William H. Leggett, Jr. (nephew) and family; Wendell Carr ( nephew) and family, Sonni Carr (niece) Jack Blanks ,( brother and grandchildren,) Lois Bridges,(sister), children and family and grand-children; Mary Johnson (niece), Beatrise Blanks (niece), also Saleem Rasheed and Aisa Jackson (friends of family)
In her later years she was happy visiting with Anita Briggs and her mother, Ernestine. She traveled from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. and from Kansas City to Disneyland. She also helped a good friend’s son from Alabama to attend U.M.K.C. who graduated and, went to Michigan University to become a Doctor. She really had a wonderful one-hundred and three years. Amen
Julia was also loved by a host of other family members: Lauri Bridges, Tonita Briggs, Gwendolyn Briggs, Marvirstine Briggs, Derrick Tarver, Jerrell Brigg, Anthony Burris, Stephanie Briggs, Sherri Burris Chukwuma Nosiri, Chukwuemeka Nosiri, and Demon Williams (great grandson and family). As the saying goes “See you again on this side or the other”
Funeral Service for Julia Mary Blanks VonLeggett will be held Saturday, March 10, 11:00 a.m. at St. Stephen Baptist Church, 1414 Truman Road.
Visitation will be form 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at the Church.
Interment, Forest Hill Cemetery.