Dr. Lucenda “Cindy” Mapp McKinney peacefully departed this life on Monday, April 26, 2021 at home.

She was born on April 1 4, 1953 in Forest City, NC to the late Alfred Mapp, Sr. and Mary Lou Mapp.

She was joined in marriage to Benjamin Lee McKinney on May 23, 1971. Lucenda was loved by family, friends, Christian associates, professional colleagues, students and community members.

She was a two-time breast cancer survivor and she enjoyed an active lifestyle of walking and riding her three-wheeled trike.

In her earlier years, Lucenda attended New Bethel Independent Church. Later she joined Palmer Grove Baptist Church. She then returned to New Bethel Independent Church.

Throughout her life, Lucenda has been devoted to her love of God and her ministry. She was known to pray for everyone she knew and when called upon. God used Lucenda to minister through written and spoken word. She served in numerous capacities, but most importantly she had an unwavering commitment to Jesus and the Church.

As a Youth, she integrated Rutherford County Schools as one of the first African-Americans to attend. While it was not an easy journey, Lucenda graduated from Gardner-Webb University with a BS in Elementary Education; she would go on to earn a MA in Education also from Gardner-Webb University along with a PhD in 1997 from Clemson University.

As a school teacher, Lucenda taught at Forest City Elementary, part of the Rutherford County School System. She then continued her career in education by teaching at Gardner-Webb University as a full tenured professor.

Upon retiring from Gardner-Webb University, she was contracted as a consultant with Gwinnett County Public Schools in Georgia. The lives Dr. McKinney touched are wide reaching. She has former students that are also teachers, principals, Superintendents, working within health care, and other capacities within the community. She was not only their teacher, but was their advocate. She wanted to inspire others and lead them to their greatest potential.

Lucenda was married to Benjamin Lee McKinney for 50 years on May 23, 2021.

She was preceded in death by her brother-in-law Luster McKinney, Luke McKinney, Steve McKinney, David McKinney, Johnny McKinney, Donald Price and her nephew, Devon Price.

She leaves a legacy of love and memories to be cherished by her husband, Benjamin; sisters Lula Price, Mary McKinney, Geneva Baker, Regina Mapp and a brother Alfred Mapp, Jr. She will continue to be loved by her daughter Leslie McKinney Smith and her husband Rodney Smith along with their son Kristofer Smith and his fiancé Jessica Clayton. Additionally, she will continue to be cherished by her daughter Nikol Withrow and her husband Robert Withrow along with their daughter Bree Withrow. Lucenda had one goddaughter, Robin McDowell. She leaves behind a host of nieces, nephews, great nieces, nephews, other relatives, students and cherished friends.

With a deep sense of gratitude, we offer sincere thanks to our many friends who have been so kind to us in the midst of sorrow; many thanks for your words of kindness, your helpful deeds and acts, your prayers and concerns and the many messages of love and sympathy.

The Family

The service will be held Sunday, May 3, 2021 at 3 o’clock pm at New Bethel Independent Church Cemetery Dawkins-McDowell Rd., Forest City, NC 28043.

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