On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Eunice Newkirk passed away at the age of 83. Eunice was born in the Bronx, NY to the late Climith and Queen Esther Newkirk, she was the youngest of 14 children of a religious and musical family.
Eunice married John Marcelli in June 1962 and welcomed two children, Robyn and Kevin. They remember a home where there was always music playing and musicians around. Eunice instilled a love of reading and learning in her children at an early age. A love of music led to a career as a vocalist, first of Jazz and Blues then later Gospel. She produced three CD’s: “Yes, God is Real” (Gospel – which was a tribute to her mother), “Your Request” (Jazz) and “In Your Honor”. She was a frequent performer at the Jazz Mobile Summerfest. In late 2022, her final performance was “The Two Sides of Eunice”. She also sang throughout the United States, South America, Asia and Europe.
In 1987, Eunice played the part of Gwendolyn Ann Matthews in the play “Over Forty”, written by her long-time friend, the late Weldon Irving. The play opened at the Billie Holiday Theater and ran for over two and a half years, then another year and a half on the road. Over the years she acted in several other plays.
In 1991 She joined Abyssinian Baptist Church and remained an active member until her death. She volunteered time with the Adult Literacy Program, joined the choir, and developed many close friendships. She was also active in several community organizations. Her favorite Scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Eunice is survived by her two children, Robyn Marcelli and Kevin Marcelli; grandson, Kevin Marcelli, Jr.; sister, Lee Kirk; along with multitudes of nieces and nephews, extended family, church family and dear friends.
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