Mrs. Verdia Lee Howard Jones, of Clarksdale, died peacefully on Sunday, April 26, 2020 in Clemmons, N.C., at the age of 90.
Following funeral services, she was laid to rest on Thursday, April 30, in Westlawn Gardens of Memory in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Mrs. Jones was born on July 30, 1929 in Jackson, Miss., to the late Mr. Alexander Howard and Mrs. Verdia Howard. She attended Catholic schools for early and
secondary education. Following graduating salutatorian of her senior class in
1947, she attended Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans. While at
XavierUniversity in 1948, she became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority,
Inc. Mrs. Jones graduated from Xavier with a Bachelor’s Degree in 1951. An advocate of higher learning, Mrs. Jones earned a Master’s of Education Degree in Counseling from Indiana University (Bloomington,
Ind.) in 1957 and an Educational Specialist Degree in Counseling from Delta State University in 1977. In addition, she held memberships in various professional and educational associations.
Mrs. Jones served as an educator in the Clarksdale Municipal School System for 15 years. She was first employed as a Teacher and Guidance Counselor at Higgins High School 1962-1970. As a result of a court-ordered integration of public schools, Mrs. Jones was transferred to Clarksdale High School and served as a Guidance Counselor 1970-1977. She was then employed as Manpower Director for Coahoma Opportunities, Inc., in 1977. An unprecedented move in 1977, Mrs. Jones filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the Clarksdale School Board, principals of the high school and superintendent.
Although the lawsuit was not decided in her favor in 1980, Mrs. Jones was a courageous voice for civil rights.
Mrs. Jones was an active member of the Clarksdale community. A devout Christian, she attended Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. She was also involved in various organizations and clubs. In 1970, Mrs. Jones became a Charter Member of Iota Delta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., in Clarksdale. She is a former member of the Elite Sixteen Bridge Club and the Versatile Club.
An accomplished pianist, Mrs. Jones often provided musical services to her church and clubs/organizations.
Mrs. Jones greatest pride and joy were her two daughters, Angela and Pamela.
Her daughters fondly remember her as a loving, courageous, selfless, and supportive mother who fostered their faith in God and inspired them to pursue their goals.
Mrs. Jones was loved and respected by her daughters, sorors, friends, colleagues and students. Her legacy includes being a devoted mother, educator, friend and equal rights trailblazer.
Mrs. Jones is preceded in death by her husband Dr. Joseph Jones, Jr. of Canton; siblings Mrs. Elva Wooten and Mr. Preston Howard of St. Louis, Mr. Random Howard of Chicago and Mrs. Minnie Howard Coburn of Clarksdale.
Mrs. Jones is survived by her daughters Ms. Angela Jones and Dr. Pamela Jones of Clemmons; a sister Mrs. Eunice Howard McGee of Jackson; and a host of nieces and nephews.