GSU loses a precious Jewel

Funeral services for Jewell Dukes Wiley, a member of the Grambling State University office of registrar, will be held Saturday, Sept. 9, at New Rocky Valley B.C. at 11 a.m.

Jewell was the 14th child of the late Freddie Dukes and Cora Sparks Dukes. She was born February 3, 1949, in Lake Providence. Jewell learned early in life her personal path of duty and followed it with unselfishness and dedication until her passing.

She received her early education at the G. W. Griffin High School in Lake Providence and graduated in 1967. In the fall of 1967, she enrolled at Grambling College and graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. She later earned a masters in public administration from Grambling State University.

In 1973 she was employed in the Foster Johnson Health Center on Grambling State University’s campus. Later, she moved to the Registrar’s Office and served as assistant registrar until her passing.

As a member of the North Star Missionary Baptist Church of Lake Providence, under the pastorage of Reverend John Henry Scott, Jewell, her sisters, and some friends formed the Cherabims, a gospel group that sang on Sundays at North Star Missionary Baptist Church and at other churches in the surrounding area. She felt that it was her ministry to go out and praise the Lord through song. Pastor Scott also encouraged her to become involved in the Civil Rights Movement and to work with activities that promoted human rights.

When she moved to Grambling, she attended the New Rocky Valley Baptist Church and became actively involved in its ministries. Jewell sang in the choir, attended Sunday School regularly, served on the Hospitality Committee, was member of the Women’s Ministry, assisted with the Back-to-School Workshop, promoted spiritual growth for the son whom she was assigned to be a surrogate mother, was a member of the Scholarship Ministry, served on the Intercessory Prayer Committee, and dutifully served as vice-chair of the Deaconness Ministry.

She married Eddie Wiley of Quitman, and in December of 1977 they became the proud parents of one beautiful daughter, Nataaka, who became Tirsha’s little sister. Jewell’s love for her daughters can not be doubted. She worked diligently to provide all things good and wise for her children.

Her other love was her sorority: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. As a lifetime member, she was actively involved in the Grambling Alumnae Chapter were she was chair person of the Scholarship Committee and assisted with other committees. She just recently received her twenty-five year plaque.

Jewell served as Secondary Advisor to the Kappa Chi Chapter at Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana and worked on the Advisory Council for Delta Iota at Grambling State University.

“Mrs. Wiley talked about retiring for years and was retiring this month after 33 years at GSU. I regret that she will not be able to enjoy retirement with her family _” she will be missed,” said Karen C. Lewis, executive director of GSU’s Enrollment Management.

“I count it all joy to have worked with Jewell Dukes Wiley in the Registrar’s Office for the past 6 years. I had previously worked with Ms. Wiley indirectly when I was a student worker during my college years at GSU. I discovered at that time she was a hardworking-individual and had her job at heart,” Patricia “Pat” Jenkins, GSU assistant registrar.

Hutchinson said “Over the past several years, Wiley (as I affectionately called her) would often tell me when she would be ill, that she

wasn’t worried about the office work because she knew it was under control.”

“We had just recently had a conversation when she told me how she was looking forward to her retirement coming up and she was looking forward to moving to Texas to enjoy spending time with her daughters, Tirsha and Nataaka,” she recalled.

Ms. Wiley will be missed from the GSU Family and especially the Registrar’s Office family, expressed Hutchinson.

Other GSU family remember Ms. Wiley in many fond ways.

“We were classmates in the Masters of public Administration program and amongst the first graduates. Jewel was a hard and dedicated worker. She loved her two daughters, her church, the university and the Grambling community, said Sarah Dennis of the Political Science Department.

“We were friends since 1972 and we both came from Lake Providence. We did a great deal of things together so much so that we called each other sister. She had a sweet smile and loved people. Would do whatever she could for people, most people didn’t know that but she would. Ada Joseph, Grambling employee.

Barbara Mayfield, GSU, retiree, said Jewel would give you the last of whatever she had and you wouldn’t know it. We were friends and if we were talking on the phone and one of us didn’t sound right, we would talk until we were both happy. She had a kind smile and very giving.

“I remember Jewel as being a very honest person,” said Shirley Drumgo Hendon, GSU registrar retiree. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for you especially if you touched her heart. She wanted what ever she did to be the best and she worked hard at it, said Hendon.