Etta M. Jones (Ed.D. ’83)

Etta Marie Mitchell Jones, 86, died at home in Houston, Texas on July 11, 2020 from complications relating to endometrial cancer. Etta faced her illness with the strength and resilience that characterized her whole life; she continued living life meaningfully until the very end. Grace! Grit! Gratitude! Etta wove these attributes seamlessly into her persona to advocate, inspire, and model Excellence she was “blessed to be a Blessing” to all she encountered. Etta was loveable, was truly loved, and will be deeply missed. Etta’s greatest accomplishments were rooted in Faith and Family, Service and Scholarship. Always elegant, impeccably dressed, and wearing the perfect bright shade of lipstick, Etta never stopped learning or enjoying life. She earned her Doctor of Education degree from the University of Houston while caring for her family. She returned to teaching at the University of Houston Downtown. She lived as she admonished her family to do: “Assign Yourself.” In other words, she stayed busy. She loved cookbooks and cooking, especially making family holiday meals, driving her Cadillac, spotting a good bargain with a keen eye for quality, and nurturing orchids. Within the past five years, she obtained her concealed weapon permit, became a fan of the Houston Texans football team, embraced texting and social media, and shared her opinions on politics and pop culture to her wide array of friends. Born in Enfield, N.C. on June 25, 1934, Etta’s family moved to Norfolk, VA where they found community in the Queen Street Baptist Church. She attended Booker T. Washington High School where she excelled academically and formed life-long friendships. She graduated from high school with high honors in 1952 while simultaneously being enrolled at Norfolk State University. Subsequently she transferred to North Carolina Central University where she was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, Alpha Chi Chapter in 1955, and earned her Bachelors’ degree in Business in 1956. Etta next obtained a Masters’ degree at New York University then became an Associate Professor at Norfolk State University and, later, a member of the faculty at Barber Scotia College in Concord, N.C. In 1964, Etta joined the faculty at St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, North Carolina where she met the love of her life, Dr. Joseph Jones, Jr. Initially intrigued by her beauty and loving relationship with her daughter Robyn from her previous marriage, Joseph fell in love with her intelligence, quick wit, and deeply spiritual approach to life. Their marriage was a true partnership and lasted over 52 years. After the birth of her third daughter Josetta, she chose to focus on her family and support her husband’s academic career, while maintaining her independent spirit. She inspired her daughters and others with her individuality while centering her life around family. A highlight was spending a year in Kumasi, Ghana in West Africa. She immersed herself in a new culture and incorporated Ghanaian customs into their home while her husband taught as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Professor at the University of Science and Technology. Etta and her family settled in Alief (a Houston suburb) in 1973 where she was a true leader in integrating and incorporating Black culture and history into the then-predominately White community. She was a member of the Imperial Point Garden Club, a University of Texas Health community advocate who reviewed research proposals, and an integral part of her daughters’ educations. Etta was a faithful, loving and influential member of the St. James Episcopal Family, serving in myriad roles including Senior Warden, Episcopal Church Women President, Altar Guild Member, and Chair of the Vera Gang Scott Scholarship Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Her St. James Family provided her with great comfort and was a true light in her life. Etta was preceded in death by her second daughter Lynette Idell Jones, parents Thomas and Hessie Mitchell, and her beloved dog, Cinnamon. She leaves to cherish her memory and continue her legacy her devoted husband Joseph, adoring daughters Robyn Thomas (CA) and Josetta Jones (CA), favorite grandson R. Mitchell Thomas (Joblin C. Younger) (MA), and a host of loving cousins, nieces, nephews, “adopted” sons and daughters, and faithful friends. The Family appreciatively requests contributions to St. James Episcopal Church for the Dr. Etta M. Jones Memorial Scholarship Fund in lieu of flowers. St. James Episcopal Church 3129 Southmore Boulevard Houston, TX. 77004 Website: Contributions: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” ~ Philippians 4:13 ~

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