The funeral service for former Grambling State employee Gwendolyn Veleta Duplantier, 72, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 2586 Martin L. King Ave. in Grambling. She passed away on April 10 at 12:30 a.m. at Christus St. Catherine Hospital in Katy, Texas.Duplantier’s wake is scheduled for 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Friday at Mt. Zion. Interment will be Monday, April 18 at Lincoln Cemetery in Atlanta.
Local arrangements have been entrusted to Our Christian Funeral Home of Ruston, 1200 Jones Street, Ruston, La. 71270 (318) 255-1446.
The woman known as “Ms. D” retired in 1997 after having worked at GSU for 30 years as a secretary and mentor in the Basic Studies Department.
The daughter of the late Grady W. and Zeb Toland Sims, Ms. D was born on May 19, 1938 in Atlanta. She was christened at Laster Chapel United Methodist Church under the pastorate of Reverend C. S. Stinson. Later, the Sims family moved their membership to Ben Hill United Methodist Church because of the nurturing leadership of Reverend Dr. Cornelius L. Henderson.
She graduated from South Fulton High School in East Point, Georgia in 1956 and received her degree in Secretarial Sciences from Morris Brown College in Atlanta in 1960.
While a student at Morris Brown College, she pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in 1958 and was crowned Miss Morris Brown in 1960. After graduation, she accepted her first job at Morris Brown and was married to John Allen Duplantier in 1965.
In 1967, the Duplantier family packed up their things and their baby boy, Jon-Al (Scooter), and moved to Grambling. In 1970, the Duplantier family was blessed with a second son, André Lavell.
She was united with the Mt. Zion family in 1987 and served as the pianist from 1977 until 2004. She also played the piano at Bethany Baptist Church in Quitman, and Harmony Baptist Church in Arcadia. She sang with the Liberty Hill Association Choir and enjoyed being part of a group assembled to sing back up for Dorothy Norwood and Albertina Walker.
She was a member of the Epsilon Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and served as the chapter’s president and as a graduate advisor to the undergraduate chapters at Louisiana Tech University and Grambling State University.
Surviving her are her sons, Jon-Al (Devra) of Katy, TX and André (Lestavia) of Houston, Texas; five grandchildren, Jon Christopher, Haile Danielle, Devin Charles, André Lavell II and Jayden Alexander; a wonderful “Sister” in Deborah LydeSims of College Park, GA; a sister, Carmen Clemons of Jonesboro, GA; a cousin, Annette Morehead of Detroit MI, a sister- and brother-in-law, Veronica Williams (Will) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Jim “Jimmie” Duplantier of Tallahassee, FL; four nephews, Ronald Sims II (Carol) and Reginald Sims (Kismet) of Atlanta, Ga., Jim Duplantier of San Antonio, Texas, and Chant Duplantier of Dallas, Texas; two nieces, Jill (Demontrell) Gibbs of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Danielle Williams of Houston, Texas; and three great nephews, Ronald Sims III, Reginald Sims II, and Javion Gibbs; two great nieces, Harper Sims and Jillian Williams; and a host of other relatives and friends.