An Auntie Takes In Her Niece and Nephew, Raises Them as Her Own With Her Late Husband

As we close out Black History Month this February, remember that black history is not just a month; it is around us every day, no matter your background. To enter into Women’s History Month, we would like to acknowledge an extraordinary story. I have had the opportunity to learn about an amazing Aunts adventure filled with love, compassion, and heart. Shevonica M. Howell nominated her Auntie Runell H. Ogletree. Runell Ogletree who just celebrated her 80th birthday this past September, and she is our Auntie of the Month.

Shevonica and her brother Sam had the opportunity to live with their Aunt and Uncle after their parents divorce. This was from sixth grade until Shevonica went to college. It is safe to say that Shevonica’s Aunt's home became her home forever.

The siblings were given a healthy, loving household. Provided with a stable environment with everything from basic needs to homemade chocolate-on-chocolate two-layer cakes. The couple spoiled them with special birthdays and celebrations and even made Christmas feel like a fairytale. Treating the siblings like the children they never had, showing them a love they would always remember.

Even though the couple never had biological children. No one could tell. Their loved ones knew the couple would lay down their lives for them if necessary. Runell has been an illustration of leadership in a plethora of ways to so many people. Cousins, community members, and family, both distant and close, have felt her presence.

She is deemed a parental figure, Aunt, Wife, and now playing the role of Grandmother to her niece and nephew’s children. She is referred to as Rue Rue or Nana from grandbabies and even “Auntie I Love Her So Much,” stemming from Shevonica’s infinite endorsement of her Aunt when speaking about her to others. Yes! Someone thought that was her Aunts name.

Auntie Runell is a pillar in her community. The Church choir singers said that Church would not be the same without seeing Mrs. Ogletree sitting on the motherboard looking pretty. If someone needs Auntie Runell, they know where to find her because her phone number has been the same since 1970. No doubt that she is deserving of each title.

We must talk about her cooking. Auntie Runell’s family compares her cooking to the film Soul Food. She still often makes the boys their favorite Sunday meal. Yes! Sunday is not the same without the macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, string beans, and cornbread. Auntie Runell still makes Shevonica her favorite chocolate cake for her birthday and pancakes for her niece when she is sad. A line in Ms. Howell’s first book Girl, They Ain’t Ready, states that her Aunt “loved to cook every day, and she made it her business to be ten minutes early and clocked in during her shift at her job of twenty years,” (Howell, 2011).

From her punctuality at work to the twenty-plus years of marriage, Mrs. Ogletree’s has always tried to be a good example. I was told that Mrs. Ogletree’s late husband, who passed in 1998, would pamper her with roses and gifts whenever he wanted to see her smile. Her niece Shevonica believes in continuing with her Uncles actions stating, “I believe in giving my Aunt her flowers, praise, and gifts of appreciation while she's with us because she is well-deserving of them all.” 

We cannot agree more with that statement. Somebody’s AuntieTM wants to keep that same energy and spread that unconditional love that this family continues to give to each other. So we sent flowers too!


Before I let you go! It would be wrong not to give one more Auntie a shoutout. Shevonica Howell has been a limitless Auntie with spirit, kindness, and grace. Not only did she take the time to nominate Auntie I Love Her So Much. Shevonica remembers to show her that love.

Knowing that her aunt is a huge Jaguars fan. Shevonica is dedicated to taking her Auntie to as many games as possible. Just like her Auntie Runell she motivates others and shares her unconditional love.

Ms. Howell’s brother stated in her second book, I CAN DIG IT SIS... THEY AIN’T READY!, that his sister has always continued, “to be the rock for everyone around her. Loving hard and doing whatever it is possible to make the people around her happy.” (Howell, 2017).

As a natural born leader, teaching students that others have given up on. She is a community activist, volunteer motivational speaker, mentor, math tutor to name a few. This Army Veteran strives for greatness, no matter the obstacles that she is faced with. Ms. Howell has written and published six books and opened a private school called Academy of Scholars Inc. in 2016. 

I had the opportunity to read two of Shevonica’s books. A line from her brother that I found telling about Ms. Howell's heart was, “She would only say that being this way was her divine purpose for living and that making others smile made her smile,” (Howell, 2017). With the help of God and his grace she is able to walk in her purpose.  

Ms. Howell continues to reach for greatness. She is determined to be more than anyone says she will be. The world is lucky to have two resilient Aunties watching over us babies. Thank you for sharing your unconditional love and compassionate heart.



 Howell, Shevonica M. Girl, They Aint Ready!: Life Can Be All You Want It to Be ... Trust Me!

        Xlibris Corp, 2011.


        Xlibris Corp, 2017.


Want to read more of this story:

I CAN DIG IT SIS...THEY AIN'T READY! By Shevonica M. Howell (

Girl, they Ain’t ready! By Shevonica M. Howell (

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