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Sheila Arlene McLeod (Long) was born on January 6, 1958 to her loving parents William Henry Long and Vera Mae Wade (Long). She was the youngest of four children. Although she was born in a Newark hospital, she was raised in East Orange, NJ.
Sheila received her formal education from the East Orange Public School system. After graduating from East Orange High School. Sheila went on to college at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. She originally started her college career to become an Ambassador. Later changing her major to Fashion Merchandising.
In 1979, Sheila married Eugene McLeod, from which two beautiful children were born. Of the two, the first was Denne’. Three years later Sheila and Eugene followed her parents and her first cousin Althea Long to leave East Orange and moved to Phoenix, AZ. In 1985, their second child Jarret was born.
Sheila spent the majority of her working years with Fennemore Craig Law Firm, 32 year to be exact. During those 32 years, she became a member of Pilgrim Rest Baptist church approx. In 1984 which was the beginning of her spiritual awakening and her journey to serve God. After some time, Sheila became very involved in Christian Ministry. Another passion of Sheila’s was international travel and family genealogy. At one point, she studied to become a travel agent. It wasn’t long before Sheila began traveling internationally for personal fulfillment and for Christian missionary ministry as a member of Christian Women’s Devotional Alliance (CWDA) and Oasis International Fellowship Ministry. Ultimately, Sheila became an ordained minister operating in the office of evangelism and the spoken word. Her last place of ministry was with Living Waters Church of Mesa.
Aside from Sheila’s work in ministry and her many travels around the world, she loved spending time with her immediate and extended family. She comes from a family full of singers and musicians. It’s no wonder that one of her favorite passions in church and singing the choir and with her family was to sing. Sheila grew up singing with her sisters, her brother and many cousins who were more like siblings than cousins. Sheila took many cruises and when she was at home she enjoyed her favorite TV shows which is a shared family trait.
Sheila and Eugene were married 41 years. They had an undeniable bond that could not be broken just as the scripture “a three-strand cord cannot easily be broken. They lived their vows until parted by death.
Sheila heard the trumpet sound and received her wings on the afternoon of May 29, 2021. She will always be remembered for her strong opinions, her fierce sense of fashion, perfect posed pictures and her love for her husband and children and granddaughter. She loved her mother “Mommy” , her siblings and her nieces, nephews and all of her hundreds of cousins who were an extension of her sibling family. Sheila was affectionately called Grammy by her only granddaughter Alivia, aunty or aunt Shilla or just “Shilla” by her nieces, nephews and everyone in the family and by her friends. Anyone who had ever met her would quickly be corrected with the proper pronunciation of her name. She would say, “it’s not Sheela it’s Shilla”.
She leaves to cherish her memory, her loving husband Eugene McLeod, daughter Denne’ Armstead, son Jarret McLeod, a stepson and stepdaughter Terrell Lucas and Qamar Cureton, a son-in-law David Armstead, one granddaughter Alivia Armstead, mother Vera Mae Long-Morgan, two sisters Maxine Marshall and Caressa Long-Golden, a brother Kevin Long, a sister- in-law Julia McLeod Traylor, four brothers-in-law, Edward Marshall, Hallowell McLeod II, Larry Traylor and Willy Bright, 12 nieces and nephew, 12 great-nieces and nephews, a host of cousins, and a tremendous number of beloved friends and co-workers. She was predeceased by her father William Henry Long, mother and father-in-law Hallowell Sr. and Artelia McLeod, two sisters-in-law Robin Long and Linda Bright. She will be sorely missed by all but her memory will always be held in our heart forever.