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Vivian Ann Rowland Jones

Birth Date: April 9, 1926
Death Date: December 1, 2018


Vivian Ann Rowland Jones was born on April 9, 1926 in LaPile, Arkansas to the late Samuel and Otelia Rowland. Vivian graduated from Gardener High School and

then moved to Little Rock where she attended Philander Smith College where she graduated in 1948. She returned home to Huttig where she taught at Gardener school for a while and then married Laybon Jones Sr. moving back to Little Rock. Vivian came to Oakland, California  in 1953 with her growing family of two children, Dera Ramona and Laybon Jr. as part of the Great Migration where African Americans came seeking better opportunities. A third child, Florence Otelia was born in Oakland.

Vivian received her California Teaching credential from U. C. Berkeley and began substitute teaching in the late 1950s. She eventually obtained a permanent teaching position at Lockwood Elementary School in Oakland where she taught Kindergarten through second grades and was also a Reading Resource Teacher. She later obtained a master’s degree in Education from LaVerne University. She retired in 1990 after over 40 years as a teacher and returned to substitute teaching part-time. She also traveled going to Europe, the Holy Land and Hawaii.

Vivian was a dedicated member of Elmhurst United Methodist Church in Oakland where she served as lay leader, communion steward, Sunday school teacher and member of United Methodist Women. She was a role model to both children and adults in service to her Christian faith. She was devoted to her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, where she was initiated at Philander Smith in 1946, and later joined the Berkeley Bay Area Alumnae Chapter. Vivian loved making quilts, a craft she learned from her mother, Otelia. She also enjoyed sewing (she made beautiful dresses for her daughters), worked on difficult puzzles, and was an avid gardener growing beautiful orchids. She was also a painter; taking classes at Merritt College and produced  a number of paintings. Vivian was proud of the fact that as part of her health routine she walked around Lake Merritt several times a week.

Vivian and Laybon were married from 1950 to 1989. Vivian was active in church and sorority committees and she was committed to visiting the sick and baking her specialties of banana and persimmon breads and driving elderly members to church until she was stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2014. She was a resident at The Point at Rockridge, Assisted Living community where she regaled the staff with her sassy sayings and guided other residents in craft projects.

Vivian was preceded in death by her parents, Samuel and Otelia Rowland, brothers Johnny Rowland, Jerry Lee Rowland, Magellan Rowland, Robert Rowland, John Rowland, Eugene Rowland, and Samuel Perry Rowland and sister Ozella Adams. She leaves to cherish her memory her three children, Dera R. Williams (Ronald), Laybon Jones Jr., M.D. and Florence J. Valentine (Maurice Sr). Three grandchildren, Rebecca Lynn Williams, Mareesa Allyse Valentine and Maurice Valentine Jr. She cherished her best friend, great-granddaughter, Brooklynn Aria Williams. Vivian is also survived by her sister, Bera Faye Cockrell and brothers, James B. Rowland, Charles Rowland and Aubrey Rowland. She is also survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins and a host of friends and loved ones.


Donation can be made to the Alzheimer's Association-
Quiet Hour
December 8, 2018
5:00 pm
- 8:00 pm
Chapel of the Chimes
4499 Piedmont Avenue Oakland, CA
Get Directions
Funeral Service
December 10, 2018
1:00 pm
Elmhurst United Methodist Church
1654 83rd Avenue Oakland CA
Get Directions
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  1. I met Vivian in 1988, after moving to Oakland and joining Elmhurst U.M. Church.
    She was an “old school” teacher, that many of us grew up with.
    She and I both earned degrees from HBCU’s, mine was from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO and here’s was from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, AR.
    She was very active at Elmhurst and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, and enjoyed quilting, an art passed down from her mother.
    While at Elmhurst, she was very instrumental in establishing scholarships for young people, and in 2016, the church changed the name to the Vivian R. Jones Scholarship.
    She taught many of us to give back to others, as this is what life is about.

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