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Evangelist Mary Ellen Strong succumbs at 91


Evangelist-prophet-teacher Mary Ellen Strong, a frequent speaker at such well-known ministries as the Abundant Living Family Church in both Rancho Cucamonga and Hesperia, Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, Word of Faith in Detroit and Nashville, Believers Body Christian Center in Atlanta, and Norvel Hayes Ministries, among others, has died. She was 91.

Memorial services are set for Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 a.m. at Abundant Living Family Church, 10900 Civic Center Drive, in Rancho Cucamonga. Strong died on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at her home in Rancho Cucamonga.

She was born Mary Ellen Brady on June 4, 1921 in Milwaukee, Wis. In 1970, she married James Strong, an attorney and U.S. diplomat to the Gambia.

Strong worked with a number of major corporations and was a former marketing executive with the Kellogg Corp. As a businesswoman, she founded Gugi’s Global Foods, a spice company whose products are sold in Publix and Kroger stores. She counted among her friends Jackie Kennnedy, Coretta Scott King and Mahalia Jackson.

After entering the ministry later in life, she was ordained in 1985 by Apostle Frederick K.C. Price, founder of Crenshaw Christian Center church and Ever Increasing Faith television ministries.

Strong, always articulate and humorous, could be heard on numerous radio stations and seen on such television programs as the 700 Club. Her messages were delivered with the authority of someone who knew her secure position in Jesus Christ. She was considered a trailblazer for change and improvement in each community where she resided, and she was known to stand up with great boldness to those who were thought of as powerful.

Those who knew her best said she never had a challenge expressing her opinion. “Dr. Strong’s heart to serve God’s people was always the same whether she was ministering to one person, or to thousands,” said longtime friend Elois Watson. “Her passion was to see souls won to the Body of Christ.”

Strong received numerous awards, accommodations, proclamations and citations. She held the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Strong is survived by a daughter, Carolyn Wright, and a son, Jerrel Jones, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A son, Douglas, preceded her in death.