Reflections on Soror Rosie L.T. Pridgen-Johnson


The State of Mississippi of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. mourns the loss of Rosie L.T. Pridgen Johnson, Ph.D, our beloved sorority sister. Dr. Pridgen-Johnson was the epitome of finer womanhood, scholarship, sisterhood and service

Dr. Pridgen-Johnson was always the voice of reason. She had a wealth of knowledge which she freely shared.  She was a woman of high moral character. She was an enthusiastic team player who loved her sorority and lived our oath.

“While she was Dr. Pridgen-Johnson to many, to her sorority sisters in Mississippi she was fondly know as “Soror Rosie.” I first met Soror Rosie when I was at Alcorn State University over 30 years ago. At that moment, I noticed a young woman who was passionate about Zeta and passionate about representing the sisterhood with the utmost of elegance and grace. When Soror Rosie spoke, everyone listened. When she made suggestions, everyone agreed.

“When I became the Mississippi State Director almost six years ago, Dr. Pridgen-Johnson always offered love, support and sound advice during my administration. Just weeks before her passing, she informed me of her excitement to attend our Annual State Leadership Conference which will be held in March. She was a proud Mississippi Zeta, and supported her state in every way possible.

“There is no doubt that the life and legacy of Soror Rosie L.T. Pridgen-Johnson has reached and touched thousands of people across Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. Yes, we are saddened, and yes, we will miss her, but we will continue the work of Zeta, in memory of our beloved Soror Rosie, with professionalism, sophistication, style and class, just as she would.”

Serving for the Love of Zeta,

Vanessa R. Banks

Mississippi State Director

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Rosie… Rosie… Rosie, God really smiled on me when HE connected Rosie and me as friends.  Then we became BEST friends.

For 40 years we shared a very special bond. Our friendship was built upon respect, trust, sisterly love, finer womanhood, everyday frank conversations and fun. We always enjoyed doing things together – football games, traveling, shopping, family gatherings, cooking or daily conversations on the phone.

Wherever we were, in the same city, in another state and even in another country, we would always talk or send a text, just to stay in touch.

Today, my heart is really hurting. Where do I go from here now that Rosie is not here? Rosie, would certainly have an answer. She would say as she did on many occasions,” It is what it is”…. “Tie another knot and hold on,” That is what I will try to do. As soon as the hot tears stop…and my heart starts to heal…I will pull from the nuggets of our numerous conversations and the values we shared and awesome reflections of the way we were…the wonderful memories of all the outstanding times that we had together. ..the strong bond that we shared…the confidence in knowing that my friend would surely tell me to, “lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.”

In the days ahead the joy of the Lord will surely be my strength. God is now smiling as HE welcomes HIS angel, HIS servant and MY best friend home. I am so thankful for the time that I was blessed to have a very best friend.

LaVerne Gentry, Ph.D.

“Dr. Rosie L.T. Pridgen-Johnson was a trail-blazer and integral part of the Zeta Organizational Leadership Team. Her presence was a catalyst for quality. A friend, a leader and always striving for excellence, Rosie will hold a place in my heart and the hearts of the Sisterhood.” – Dr. Mary Breaux Wright, International President, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated.

The Zeta Organizational Leadership (ZOL) Program is a future-focused, nationally-structured intensified leadership training program that serves as the blue print for the leadership development and enhancement efforts of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated. It was designed to ensure a future talent pool of leadership for Zeta on the national level of the sorority by delivering consistent, high quality training.

Dr. Pridgen-Johnson served on this committee from 2003 to 2018. In 2012, International Grand President Mary Breaux Wright re-appointed her as the co-chairperson of the ZOL Committee. She was later appointed chairperson. She has been instrumental in developing the current training methodologies used by the committee.

Listed below are reflections from the 2017 ZOL Steering Committee

“I have known Rosie for over 25 years. My thoughts of Rosie are of a woman who was calm; one who was always there to be the “voice of reason.” She was always level-headed and never let anyone see her sweat. She was a true servant leader. Rest in peace my dear soror; my sister regional director; my friend; my ZOL steering committee team member.” – Dr. Nell Williams Ingram, chair of the National Executive Board of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

“Working with Rosie was a humbling experience. She would strive for excellence in all that she did and had a way of making you want to excel to reach your full potential. When she walked into a room, you could not help but be amazed by her grace and style. She was the epitome of all of Zeta’s principles. Her legacy will live on in the lives of those she touched.” – Cheryl Brown, 2017 ZOL chairperson, Andrea Buckley and E. Fran Johnson

“Prior to serving with Dr. Rosie Pridgen-Johnson on the ZOL Steering Committee, I had the privilege of working with her in the South Central Region. Rosie’s deep devotion, her quiet strength, sound judgment and loving spirit will be forever cherished in the hearts of the countless lives she positively impacted.” – Vicki Hammock, 2017 ZOL co-chairperson

“Rosie Johnson was such a beautiful person and could always see the positive in any situation. She had a way of making you feel as if you were the most important person in the room. Her cool calm nature could soothe almost any situation. I learned so much from her and truly enjoyed these last few years serving on the ZOL Team with Dr. Rosie Pridgen Johnson, a true Zeta Lady and Finer Woman.” – Denisha L. Hendricks, EdD, National Director of Undergraduate Advisors

“One of God’s beautiful angels – A Christian Woman of good works, prayer and faith. A Zeta Lady for all seasons with a heart of gold. As a member of the ZOL Team, Dr. Rosie Johnson was very professional, dedicated and an outstanding leader. She was admired and respected by all because of her pleasant personality, humble spirit and encouraging attitude. Rest my sister. One day we will meet in that great Boule’ that will never end. Peace my dear Soror and felicity to your soul.” – Donnie Faye Hull, National Director of Amicae Affairs

“I had the privilege of working with Rosie as a member of the current and a prior ZOL Steering Committee.  I am so grateful that prior to her passing, God led me to share with her that she is one of my “Zeta” idols– someone who I have admired over the years and strive to emulate. I will never forget her poise and grace. Our loss is heaven’s gain.” – Gina Merritt-Epps, Esq. National Director of Risk Management/National Resolutions Coordinator

“Rosie exhibited all that is good, all that is kind, and all that is right in this world. When challenged, she was calm and composed, encouraging those within the sound of her soothing voice to collect themselves and rely on the strength of the Lord. Exhibiting poise and compassion, Rosie was the epitome of Finer Womanhood. Rest now, Rosie, as He giveth His beloved sleep.” – Denese Wolff-Hilliard. EdD, National Director of Youth Affiliates

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