In Memory of






Obituary for Deaconess Barbara Jean Tarleton Pettaway

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Deaconess Barbara Jean Tarleton Pettaway, native of Mobile, Alabama, was born on May 15, 1951, to the late Rev. Oscar James Tarleton and late Dora Lee Tarleton and departed this life for her eternal home on Monday, December 19, 2022.
“Let the works that I have done speak for me.” A 1969 graduate of Toulminville High School and retiree of the Mobile County Public School System Child Nutrition Program, she used her gifts to touch the lives of administrators, faculty, staff, and students at Maryvale Elementary School for nearly two decades. Talented in baking, cooking, catering, and all aspects of food preparation, amazing food was one of her love languages. She poured her heart and soul into her delicious dishes, some of which were: dressing, pound cake, gumbo, red velvet cake, fruit cake, white pecan fudge, chicken salad, and German chocolate cake.

On November 27, 1970, she married her high school sweetheart, Jessie Lee Pettaway, Sr. The two were inseparable. You did not see one without the other. In the most humble way, she and the love of her life, Jessie, epitomized the true essence of building together and love in its purest form—in both sickness and health. When describing their union, she would often share that she prayed intentionally for God to send her husband, Jessie—and his pretty brown eyes were just an added bonus.

“Big Sis”—the oldest sister of her siblings, she was often looked up to and considered a source of wisdom, knowledge, understanding—a beacon of hope, unwavering compassion, and support for all of them.

She grew up in Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the late Rev. T.R. Hines, where she actively served in a host of capacities and auxiliaries including, but not limited to: Deaconess, Matron, President of Usher Board #2, Nurse’s Aide Guild, and Sunday School Teacher.

Later, a faithful member of Lily Baptist Church, she served as a Deaconess, Chaplain of the Deaconess Board, member of Sunday School Class #4, Treasurer of the Sunday School Love Fund, and member of the Senior Missionary Society.

She is preceded in death by her father, Rev. Oscar James Tarleton; mother, Dora Lee Tarleton; paternal grandparents, Elisha and Mamie Tarleton; maternal grandmother, Leola Jones; and three siblings, Oscar James Tarleton, Jr., Warren Otis Tarleton, and Leon Ray Tarleton.

She leaves to cherish her life, love, and memories her devoted husband of fifty-two (52) years—Deacon Jessie Lee Pettaway, Sr.; her children—Angela Renee (Terrance) Stokes of Kathleen, Georgia, Jessie Lee Pettaway, Jr., Shantoino Denise (Charles) Jackson, and Dr. Shanita L. Pettaway of Fayetteville, Arkansas; her grandchildren—Telvin M. Stokes of Atlanta, Georgia, Quentin T. Newsom, Jr., and Brianna N. Stokes of Kathleen, Georgia; her siblings—Shirley (Roy) Hawkins, Brenda (Gary) Mickles, Minister Patricia Allen of Houma, Louisiana, Wallace Tarleton of Houston, Texas, Michael (Georgia) Tarleton of Houston, Texas, and Willie Tarleton of Moore, Oklahoma. She also leaves to cherish a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, other relatives, friends, neighbors, and Lily Baptist Church family.

“Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” A true matriarch of her family, Deaconess Barbara Jean Tarleton Pettaway died, but leaves a lasting legacy that will live on—a legacy of selflessness, devotion, unconditional love, hard work, joy, peace, perseverance, meekness, gentleness, a pure heart…and many, many good recipes.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, December 31, 2022, from 10am until the 12pm funeral hour at Lily Baptist Church, 358 Kennedy Street, Mobile, Alabama 36603. Interment will follow in Lawn Haven Memorial Gardens.