My times are in Your hands………..PSALM 31:15
You can trust that God is working on His plan for your life; He is preparing it for you and you for it. His plan may not come on your timetable but He, who is all-knowing, directs every aspect of it. Just have a seat…trust in Him...enter His rest...and, when the time is precisely right, He’ll call your name…….
And, so it was that, on January 7, 2020, He called her name and chose His daughter Saundra Kaye Jones Lyons to dwell with Him in eternal glory….
Saundra Kaye or “Kaye”, as she was fondly known to her loved ones, was born on February 19, 1947, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was the first child of six children born to the late Burdena A. Ross Jones and Carl Emmett Jones. It was as the first female child and grandchild in the Arkansas Jones “clan”, that her “larger than life” assertive personality began to emerge. She was not “particularly” happy when her siblings came along and forced her to share the “limelight” with them. She made it clear to all that “she was and would always be in charge”. She was preceded in death by her beloved brother, Dr. Eric Emmett Jones.
Kaye was formatively educated at Carver Elementary School and Merrill Junior-Senior High School. She was a popular, actively engaged High School student and was crowned “Miss Merrill” 1964 in her senior year. Kaye received her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from Arkansas Mechanical and Normal College (now the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff – UAPB) in 1968. In 1973, she received the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She completed the requirements for the Education Specialist degree (Ed.S) in General Administration and Supervision at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 1980.
While in College, Kaye met and fell in love with the “handsome” football player from Wilmington, Delaware, James N. Rutter. They married in August 1966 and to this union was born one child, Burdena A. “Bungie” Rutter. After graduation from College, Kaye and Rutter moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan where her late Uncle, Cornelius W. Dawson, then Dean of the School of Education at UAPB, had secured teaching positions for both of them. From her first teaching position at Benton Harbor Junior High School where she taught English, Kaye moved up the career ladder from teacher to counselor to an administrator in the Benton Harbor Area School System.
Having come from a family of educators, Kaye was a lifelong fiercely passionate advocate for excellence in public education. Throughout her career, Kaye was an actively engaged member of the National Association of Black School Educators (NABSE). While considering a career change, Kaye was “talked into” accepting a position with the Wichita Public Schools by her friend, the late Mr. Frank Crawford whom she had met at an NABSE Convention. Thus, she began what would become the final chapter in her professional career in Wichita, Kansas in 1988. For two years, Kaye served as Principal of Ingles Elementary School before becoming Principal of Chisholm Trail Elementary School from 1990 to 1999. At Chisholm Trail, Kaye’s passion, tenacity, determination, and desire for the success of both her students and faculty were embodied in the slogan, “In it to Win It”. In 1990, she married Alfred Lyons. It was, on her way home from work at Chisholm Trail in October 1996, that Kaye was involved in a devastating and life-changing automobile accident. Determined to remain an actively engaged employee with the Wichita Public School System, Kaye worked until her retirement in 2001 as a Central Office Administrator.
The other love of Kaye’s life was Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Having come from a family of Delta women, her dream of becoming a member of this glorious sisterhood was realized in 1970 when she pledged through the Benton Harbor and St. Joseph Alumnae Chapter. Accordingly, she was in the process of celebrating and being recognized for fifty (50) years of service in Delta. Over the years, Kaye, a Diamond Life Member, served Delta in numerous leadership capacities on both the local and national levels. Among Kaye’s hobbies was game playing. She loved playing cards, was a great bid whist and bridge card player and demanded: “no errors ever” (smile) from her partners. She also loved solitaire, solving crossword puzzles, and playing other games.
Saundra leaves to cherish her most indefatigable memory, her loving daughter, Burdena “Bungie” Johnson (Djuan); two grandchildren, Kyle C. Johnson and Kayla A. Johnson; one great grandchild, Koi Johnigan-Johnson; a very special friend and longtime companion, Mr. E. W. Dogan; two sisters, Dr. Carla J. Jones, and Ms. Caroline Jones; two brothers, Mr. Lance Jones, and Mr. Kevin Jones; two nieces, Ms. Paige Jones, and Ms. Rachael Sherard; two nephews, Mr. Carl Howard Scott Jones and Mr. Eric Jones, Jr.; two Aunts, Dr. Faustine Jones-Wilson and Mrs. Evelyn Ross; cousins, including Mr. Laurence “Skip” Jones (Denise) who was like a brother, Mr. Clyde H. Jones, Jr. (Margaret), Mr. Brian V. Jones (Joyce), Mr. Gene T. Jones, Dr. Yvonne Dianne Jones, Vicky Ross Barsh (Ronnie), Kim Jimmerson, Robert Ross (Andrena), Stanley Ross, Jr., Benjamin Ross, and Vanessa Ross ; many special Sorors; best friends, Mary Ann Mitchell, Rachael Norwood, Ruth Watson, Joyce Johnson, and Gaye Wilson; and numerous other beloved friends from both Wichita and Benton Harbor.
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