Annie Pearl Alexander

October 18, 1922 ~ February 20, 2022 (age 99)


Annie Pearl Obituary

Anna Pearl (Gayles) Alexander, known to friends and family as Annie Pearl or Ms. Pearl, was born on October 18th, 1922, in Pratt City, Alabama to Rivers Gayles and Katie Belle (Rumph) Gayles. She attended the Birmingham Public Schools and graduated from Industrial High School. Education was essential to her – she even earned perfect attendance during the 1938-1939 school year at Industrial High School. Annie Pearl continued her education at the Poro School of Beauty Culture, which was the first of its kind to offer cosmetology and beauty courses to Black women in Birmingham, Alabama. She graduated in 1947.

Shortly after graduation, Annie Pearl moved to Anderson, Indiana to help her aunt, Anna Durden, establish one of the premier black beauty businesses in the city – Durden’s Beauty Shop. She went on to establish two more beauty businesses – including Pearl’s in 1973 and Pearl’s Beauty Castle in 1987. In 2007, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Fund Trailblazer Award for her entrepreneurship. Annie Pearl continued to further her education in her craft, earning a hair coloring certification from Wella and Clairol and a hairweaving certification from Dudley’s University of Carolina. She worked in the beauty business for 51 years before retiring in 1998.

Annie Pearl continued to further her education throughout her life, constantly taking courses at her home church, Allen Chapel AME in Anderson, Indiana. She was a proud member of Allen Chapel. She held many church offices. She served on the Board of Trustees and Usher Board and received the Living Legend Award from Allen Chapel in 2017. She was also a member of the Olive Chapter #26 Order of the Eastern Star Jurisdiction of Indiana and El Zora Court #77 Oasis of Marion Desert of Indiana. Annie Pearl was an active member in her community through cultural club organizations, mentoring groups, lodges, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and her Poro College Sorority, Pi Omicron Rho Omega. She especially loved mentoring young women in business before her retirement and inspired other beauticians to “advance yourself constantly”

Born an only child, Annie Pearl had seven children of her3108 own; Irma Lee (Irving) Young (deceased); Patricia Ann (Irving) Shande; Lana Faye (Irving) Patterson; Reverend Alfred Eugene Johnson (deceased); Dale Conrad Johnson, Bruce Anthony Johnson, and Gayle Duane Johnson.

Annie Pearl departed this life on Sunday, February 20th, 2022. She was preceded in death by her parents, Rivers Gayles and Katie Belle (Rumph) Gayles; husband, Willie J. Alexander; children, Irma Lee (Irving) Young and Reverend Alfred Eugene Johnson; and stepchildren, Dorothy (Johnson) Sinclair and Edna (Johnson) Cobb. She leaves with cherished memories her daughters, Patricia (husband Gideon) Shande, Marietta, GA; Lana Faye Patterson, Cincinnati, OH; stepdaughter, Pam Johnson, Anderson, IN; daughter-in-law, Joyce N. Johnson, Plymouth, MI; sons Dale Johnson, Fort Wayne, IN; Bruce (wife Lynette) Johnson, Columbia, TN; Gayle Johnson, Mableton, GA; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.

Visitation will be March 3, 5pm to 7pm at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, Home Going Services will be held Friday at 11am at the church, with a one-hour viewing.  Rev. Philip Johnson, Eulogist, Pastor Dalrey Trotter, Officiating.  Interment will be in Anderson Memorial Park Cemetery.  Services entrusted to L. C. May Funeral Services.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Annie, please visit our floral store.


March 3, 2022

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Allen Chapel A.M.E. 295319V Church

Video is available for this event

Funeral Service
March 4, 2022

7:00 PM
Allen Chapel A.M.E. 295319V Church

Video is available for this event

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