Johnetta Evans Kelly
November 18, 1924 - August 3, 2019
Johnetta Cecil Evans Kelly was 94 years old when she passed away, peacefully at home, in the same city in which she was born, Washington, DC. Her long battle with dementia was finally over.
On November 18, 1924, John and Reba Daniels Evans welcomed their baby daughter into the world. Upon the death of her mother, Johnetta went to live with her paternal grandmother, Lucy Grey, in Athens, Georgia.
At the passing of her grandmother in 1936, Johnetta returned home to Washington. She attended Terrell Jr. High School and graduated from Dunbar Senior High in 1943. She wrote in her yearbook that she wanted to become an English teacher, but her path took her to science. In 1946 she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Science and History from Minor Teachers College. She taught science in Baltimore and in Washington, DC from 1947 to 1963.
Another momentous occasion happened in 1946, she married Robert Lee Kelly. That union resulted in three children: Ronald, Rosalind and Byron. She and Robert travelled with the children all over the United States, even Hawaii. Family gatherings were always full of fun and much love. When Robert passed in 2006, she became even more of a beacon of light and love for her family, friends and neighbors. She would smile, and laugh and joke with everyone.
In 1962, this “versatile” lady, as she was described in her high school yearbook, attained her Masters Degree in secondary education from The Catholic University. She would later become a counselor and then Assistant Director of Guidance and Counseling for the DC Public school system. She was very active in several guidance organizations and received many accolades for her work. She retired from the school system in 1982.
Retirement did not slow her down. She became very active in community service. She worked tirelessly with the AARP to improve inheritance laws and she was a volunteer with the League of Women Voters. In 1990, she was one of 66 ladies on that year’s Delta line. Although pink was her favorite color, she quickly came to love the Delta red. She was very proud to be a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.-Washington Alumnae Chapter.
Johnetta’s nurturing spirit would not have been possible without her strong faith in and devotion to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She joined Mt Airy Baptist Church in 1936, and over the years held many roles: assistant Sunday School superintendent, Sunday school teacher, past president of the Get Acquainted Ministry, and chairperson of the youth musical committee for 14 years. The annual musical program featured young musicians and artists from the city.
Johnetta was passionate about education and was the guiding force behind the development of the Board of Christian Education in February of 1979. She was its director for ten years. She taught the VIP’s for several years as well as being a member of the group. She was the chairperson of the Scholarship Committee for 15 years, chairperson of the Honor Roll Committee for 7 years, and taught the new members class on commitment and responsibilities for 25 years. Johnetta reached the pinnacle of her church service when she became a deaconess. She felt a closeness with her fellow deaconesses and a renewed spirit with her Lord. I was honored to be with her when she made her final walk to Glory.
Johnetta is survived by her children: Ronald, Rosalind, Byron (Kim), her grandchildren: Diana (Dereke), Derek (Rina), Kelsey, Ronald, and Richard, as well as a host of family and friends.
Mt. Airy Baptist Church
1100 North Capitol St NW
Washington, DC 20002
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