Hundreds gathered in Kinston Friday evening to say farewell to the K-Tribe's "Mama."
A celebration of life service for Evelyn Kornegay was held inside Grainger Stadium. Tears flowed as friends, family members, and baseball fans gathered.
For over 15 years, Kornegay housed and took care of baseball's future with the Kinston Indians. One of those ball players was Carl Long--the first black baseball player to play in the Carolina League with the K-Tribe. During tough times, Long looked to "Mama." Long says, "Mama just took em under her wing. You can't find no better person than Evelyn Kornegay. She's my mama, she's my friend and I'm definitely going to miss her."
Kornegay passed away last Friday from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. The funeral will be held Saturday at 1:00 P.M. At United American Free Will Baptist Tabernacle in Kinston.
Visitation for Evelyn "Mama" Kornegay will take place at Grainger Stadium Friday night at 6 p.m. in Kinston.
The funeral will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at United American Free Will Baptist Tabernacle in Kinston.
Kornegay was a fixture at Grainger Stadium for many years, cheering on the K-Tribe from her usual seat. She even opened up her home to Kinston Indians players over the last 15 years.
Kornegay passed away last Friday of pancreatic cancer, she was 81.
Evelyn "Mama" Kornegay, as she was lovingly known, died early Friday morning at her home from pancreatic cancer.
Mama provided a loving, home away from home for approximately 150 Kinston Indians players over the last 15 years. From future All-Stars like Victor Martinez, to those who never made it out of the Carolina League, Mama loved all of her "boys" as she adoringly called them.
"It is impossible to measure the impact Mama had on the Kinston and Cleveland Indians," said Kinston Indians General Manager Shari Massengill. "From players, to coaches to us in the front office, she never stopped giving. The Kinston Indians not only lost their biggest fan, but this community has lost one of its best people."
"This ballpark will not be the same without Mama," Indians Assistant General Manager Janell Bullock said. "Everyone who met her fell in love with her. She just had that effect on people. I will never hear the word ‘babe’ without thinking of Mama."
"She was the most loving, caring and giving person I have ever met," said Indians Director of Broadcasting Chris Hemeyer. "Her positive outlook and love of life was with her even as she battled cancer. She lit up every room she ever walked into."
WITN sports director Billy Weaver introduced many folks in Eastern Carolina to "Mama" back in 2003. Her story will re-air on WITN news at 6pm and is linked here.