Carolyn Kerns

Obituary of Carolyn Yevonne Newsome Kerns

Our amazing mother, Carolyn Yevonne [Newsome] Kerns, transitioned from this earth on June 3, 2023, surrounded by her family. Carolyn maintained focus on her family and God, as well as living her best life while battling a devastating autoimmune disorder. Through lengthy hospital stays and illnesses unknown, hard to pronounce, difficult to describe, and rare, she remained faithful to her family, friends, church, religious groups, and social clubs. She was 70 years young.


Mama was born in Ahoskie, North Carolina on November 16, 1952, to her loving parents Zelda Berniece [Ruffin] (deceased) and Willie Clayton Newsome (deceased). She was the second of ten children born to this union; among her siblings, she was the most sensitive; she wanted everyone to be happy. At the age of nine, she accepted Jesus Christ as her savior, and she was baptized at Calvary Baptist Church in Ahoskie. She remembered this milestone as one she achieved without fear. She locked in, modeling much of her religious activities after her mother and her grandmother, Mrs. Emma [Rooks] Ruffin. From the Sunshine Band and A-1 Missionary Circles to local, state, and national missions’ organizations, Mama remained connected and active, always sharing the importance of mission work in your home, community, and abroad.


After high school graduation, she went to the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, graduating in 1975 with a B.A. in Home Economics. Carolyn began her career as a county extension agent, working with 4-H and senior programs in North Carolina and Illinois.


For approximately 40 years, Carolyn worked as a nutritionist for the Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program. She started as a nutritionist in Onslow County from 1983 to 1988 and worked in Forsyth County, NC from 1988-2013; after retirement, in 2014, she returned as a part-time nutritionist, working until May 2023. It was in this work that she integrated her love for people and her heart for God. She had an indelible impact on colleagues and clients. Countless numbers became friends, and many were like family. She lovingly earned the title of “the WIC Lady” because of the respect and care she invested in those she served in the office and when out in the community. Her leadership tactics and people interactions most certainly stemmed from her experience on the other side of the desk at a WIC office. In transition from Illinois with three small children and a husband settling into a new career, she was registering her infant daughter for the WIC program. Her nutritionist asked about her professional background, suggesting that she apply with the organization. She got the job and often shared with program participants that she, too, had been on WIC, and it changed her life. This is one of the many miracle moments that impacted and defined her path.


It was at NCA&T that she met John Curtis Kerns (deceased), whom she married on May 7, 1975. Soon after, they moved and built a life in Illinois. From this union, three children were born: the twins - John Alee and Malinda Yevonne - and Myleah Yevette. She was a dedicated, loving wife and mother.


In 1982, Carolyn and John returned to Jacksonville, NC to raise their three beautiful children.In order to ensure a safe and loving environment for her children, Carolyn separated from her husband, in spite of the unknown. She allowed John and Malinda to choose a region within the state, and she applied for positions with WIC programs in those areas. Upon accepting a position in Forsyth county, with the help of her brother, Jerome, Mama packed a moving truck and a car, leaving Jacksonville. In July 1988, driving a green Dodge Diplomat that had no air conditioning and transmission issues, so the car only went forward, Carolyn made a life for herself and her three little ducklings. Even the goldfish survived the 213-mile trek to Kernersville. Just like the car, Carolyn was steadfast in standing on the promises of God, moving forward, never looking back or reversing to pick up what was lost. 


It was in Forsyth County that she truly flourished. She found a church home at Providence Baptist Church, led at that time by Reverend Derioux Johnson. She joined the choir, taught Sunday School, was the youth missionary advisor, and eventually became the president of the senior missionary circle. She participated with commitment and grace in all that she invested. She continuously reflected on one of her favorite sayings: “Don’t talk about it; be about it.” She loved working, hosting, and highlighting the good work of Providence - from missionary meetings to the annual Sweetheart Tea. She continued as a member of Providence, under the leadership of Dr. Keith Vereen, until her passing.


Mama valued the work she did with her home church and the Forsyth County Missionary Union. She believed and reminded all that “everyone is a missionary.” Mama was also an active member of the Twin City NC A&T alumni chapter. To keep her mind sharp, she took piano lessons and participated in the Music Club. She was a loved participant in the Bible Study Fellowship, attending in person and on-line. She was creative and artistic; she loved to sew, sketch, color, as well as read, play spades, bid-whist, and other games.


The love and engagement Mama had for her church, career, and community were only rivaled by her love for her family. Though single motherhood was never a part of her plan, she poured her all into the greatest “diamonds” she received in her marriage - John, Malinda, and Myleah. She was their greatest champion and trusted compass. A caring and dedicated mother who went above and beyond to nurture and grow her children, she reminded her kids that she was their best friend. Though a bit of a bossy BFF, she never wavered from that position. She was clear about her expectations and standards, making sure that we knew all actions have consequences, and no matter where we were, someone knew our mama. Her kids gave her pride, but it was her grandchildren who brought her joy. Her heart grew larger indeed with each grandchild; Alyssa Marnique, Vianca Ann, Brianna Elizabeth, Jaden Marley, Melanie Renee (deceased), and Jackson Lee all had special relationships with MeeMaw. From driving hours to have school lunch, sports contests, and school events to hosting them for spring, summer, and holiday breaks, and those in between, MeeMaw made sure that they all felt her love, her laughter, her magic, her life. With no apologies, she was committed to the idea that having grandchildren was so much better than having children.


Mama’s greatest achievement and her most sincere devotion was centered around her family. She was an amazing mother to her three children and a beloved MeeMaw to her grandchildren. She has joined her most beloved son, John (Renee of Nashville, NC) in heaven and leaves behind to cherish her memory John’s twin sister, Malinda of Winston-Salem, and Myleah (Tresnese) of Ahoskie. Her grandchildren will continue to be a reflection of her legacy: Alyssa (Jaimeze) Arthur and Brianna of Greensboro, Vianca of Statesville, Jaden of Winston-Salem, Melanie (deceased), and Jackson of Nashville. She also leaves her siblings Malinda (David) Carmon of Greensboro, Jerome Newsome of Winton, Arnold (Linda) Newsome of Murfreesboro, Vickie (David) Taylor of Forestville, Md., Derwin (Wanda) Newsome of Temple, Tx., and Alecia (Ronald) Gatling of Ahoskie. She was preceded in death by siblings Cathlin [Neet] Person and Clayton [Tony] Newsome. There are countless other friends and family who will miss and honor her memory.


Funeral arrangements are facilitated by Pierce-Jefferson of Kernersville, North Carolina. The funeral will be hosted on Sunday, June 11, 2023, at 2:00PM at Main Street United Methodist Church, 306 S. Main St., Kernersville, NC, 27284. Interment will follow at Mt. Gur Cemetery and a repass will follow.


Friends and family may offer online condolences at


Funeral Service

2:00 pm
Sunday, June 11, 2023
Main Street United Methodist Church
306 S. Main Street
Kernersville, North Carolina, United States


Mt. Gur Cemetery
Bodenhamer Street
Kernersville, North Carolina, United States