Ms. Claudia Beatrice Jones, 90, of Johnstown, went to be with the Lord on September 28, 2023. Born on May 28, 1933, in White Oak, NC. The eldest daughter of Elbert Otto and Lillie Mae (Duncan) Jones. Preceded in death by her parents; six siblings Attorney Ralph O. Jones, Lt. Colonel Alvin T. Jones, James A. Jones, Annie O. Jones, Daniel W. Jones, Lt. Commander Frederick E. Jones, and niece Lori A. Jones-Judge.
She is survived by her devoted niece Lesley A. Jones Dayton, OH; nieces and nephews, Bridget Kelly (Vincent) Edison, NJ; Evette Jones Millersburg, PA; Lena Parker (Jerry) Hampton, VA; Faith Goff (Johnny) and Lauren Jones-Taylor Houston, Texas; Ralph Jones Jr. Ypsilanti, MI; Alvin Jones, Jr. (Brigitte) Williamsburg, VA; Daniel K. Jones Jr. and Brian Jones (Carmen Mendoza) Lancaster, PA; and Dr. Eric Jones Westerville, OH; a host of grandnieces, grandnephews, great-grandnieces, great-grandnephews, cousins, friends and bonus family members Wanda K. Jones, Pam Nash and Cara Bennet.
In 1951 Ms. Claudia graduated Valedictorian from East Conemaugh High School. After graduating high school, she attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) in 1956. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education graduating with Honors. As a student at IUP she was a member of the Honorary Educational Fraternity Kappa Delta Pi and a member of the Science Club. Upon graduating from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) she began her career as an educator teaching in the Johnstown City School District where she was hired at Joseph Johns Jr. High School. There she taught 9th and 10th grade students in a variety of subjects however her major responsibilities included teaching Earth Science and Biology. Later in her career she reenrolled at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) where she earned her Master’s Degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Biology. She worked at Joseph Johns Jr. High School for 14 years.
In the 1970’s, she was offered a Professorship at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) where she worked for 25 years. Her major teaching responsibilities were lecturing and laboratory for General Biology, Anatomy, and Physiology. During her years as an educator, she taught, mentored, and advised a countless number of students who learned under her tutelage and became successful nurses, healthcare workers, and educators. After years of dedicated service to the university, she retired in December 1995 as a respected Professor with Emeritus status.
Moreover, she was an active member and faithful tither of Mt. Sinai Institutional Baptist Church for 86 years. She started a Girl Scout troop, sang in the church choir, member of the Missionary Ministry, Advisor to the Pastor, one of the original members of the Church Constitution, created a variety of programs: from Black History Poetry and Prose, Soul Food dinner, African American book reading, Health Awareness Programs under Christian Education, started an overnight nature youth camp, and much more. In addition, she funded and spear headed a church beautification project at the original church where the women in the church painted and decorated the bathroom and church signage. Because Claudia was a faithful member before she transitioned the church honored her and the young woman, she encouraged to pursue a career in education with a scholarship fund called Claudia Jones and Dr. Charlene Dukes Scholarship Fund. Ms. Claudia once said that if she did not pursue a career in education, she would have been a journalist.
Although she was a faithful church member and educator she was also raised to give back to her community. She was a member of a variety of organizations that believed in community service. For instance, she was a member of the Elizabeth Lindsay Davis Club (E.L. Davis) for 52 years. The Elizabeth Lindsay Davis Club was organized in May 14, 1904. The club is a member of the Pennsylvania State Federation of Negro Women’s Clubs Inc and the National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs Inc., which makes it one of the oldest African American clubs in the country. Secondly, she holds a Lifetime membership in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where she spent years working with the local Johnstown branch of the NAACP. As a member of the local NAACP branch, she helped coordinate the NAACP Heritage Leaders Bi-annual recognition Program. This program honored African American men and women 85 years old and older by capturing their life stories and contributions to their community.
Furthermore, Ms. Claudia was a legacy builder. She was the founder, President of the African American Heritage Society, Inc. Ms. Claudia served in various roles to award scholarships that helped local children attend college. For instance, she was the Co-Founder and Chairperson of the Greater Minority Scholars Club. In addition, she started a family scholarship fund to honor her parents Elbert Otto and Lillie Mae Jones. The Elbert and Lillie Mae Jones Scholarship Fund is an annual scholarship distributed to a Conemaugh Valley High School or Greater Johnstown High Senior. The scholarship criteria shall be Black/African American, average, or better student, and attending an accredited post-secondary school. Lastly, her research and presentations of African American History and Culture brought a positive impact to the Greater Johnstown community.
We are all grateful for all she imparted in our lives from her seeds of encouragement, wisdom, humor, courage, inspiration, love, gratitude, thankfulness, support, do for self, community, belief, loyalty, tenacity, knowing your history, perseverance, class, culture, corrections, hope, lifting others up, and making your own mark in this world.
Family and friends will be received at the Mt. Sinai Institutional Baptist Church. The Wake is scheduled from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, October 6th. On Saturday, October 7th family and friends will be received from 10-11am and the time of the Homegoing service will begin at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Maurice T. Williams officiating. The burial will be at Grandview Cemetery. The family is being served by the Baker-Harris Funeral Chapel, 229-231 First Street, Conemaugh. The family suggests donations to the Elbert and Lillie Mae Jones Scholarship Fund, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies, 216 Market St., Suite 400, Johnstown, Pa. 15901. Or you can donate online at the following hyperlink: Elbert and Lillie Mae Jones Scholarship Fund The hyperlink is the following: https://cfalleghenies.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=1417
In memory of Claudia, condolences may be posted online at www.wharrisfuneralhome.com.