DeLois Marion Washington
DeLois Marion Washington was born to John F. Jones and Georgia Vaden- Jones on June 16, 1926 in Kansas City Missouri. She was the oldest of nine children of which seven preceded her in death.
As a child she would spend time with her grandfather, who was Chotaw, braiding his hair and learning his language. The one word that was past on to her kids was “Impache” which meant time to eat.
Her parents moved to Quindaro Township where she attended Vernon Elementary School and later Western University. She had fond memories of being the smartest one in the classroom except for Donald Wright. She said “I could never beat him.” Later in life he became her brother-in-law. Being the oldest child she looked after her brothers and sisters throughout her life. She had a strong personality and her saying was, “I said it, I meant it, and I elbow bent it.”
She played the piano well and during her earlier years she performed with her sister-in-law, Dolores Smith at various clubs in Kansas City. Sometimes both would be on the piano at the same time.
Her first marriage was to John K. Wright, her second marriage was to William A. Burgin and from those unions she had seven children. Her third marriage was Clifford Washington where they adopted a child.
Her life always became entwine with legendary people, such as General Benjamin O. Davis, who became the first Black general in United States Air Force; Paul Robeson who was a bass baritone concert artist, Count Basie and Lionel Hampton, just to name a few.
She loved people and was always willing to feed them. She learned her culinary skills from both her mother and father and what a cook she was!! Her Quindaro hospitality was a part of her life because her doors were never locked. She counseled, mentored, chastised, and came to the aid of anyone that needed it.
She was very civic minded and active in the different communities where she resided. While in Wichita, Kansas, she worked in the Black community as a Tax Accessor to make sure they were not taxed unnecessarily. She was secretary for the Eastside Democratic Club, and a volunteer for the YMCA International Multi-cultural Event in which she would volunteer her children to perform every year. She was secretary/stenographer at Atlanta Life Insurance Company which was Black owned and operated. She held that job for many years. She was campaign manager for Senator Curtis McClinton, who became the first Black senator in Kansas.
In 1966, she moved to Denver, Colorado and worked for Samsonite Luggage Company then took a position with H & R Block as the first Black Tax Preparer in Denver. She also prepared taxes as a business of her own. Her last position in the workforce was with AT&T/Western Electric as a bookkeeper, from which she retired.
Her community services in Denver included election judge, working in Arie Taylor’s office, and campaigning for Wellington Webb, who became the first Black mayor of Denver. She was a member in the Order of Eastern Star and and a member of Zion Baptist Church.
She is preceded in death by her parents, John and Georgia Jones; third husband, Clifford Washington; brothers, John F. Jones Jr., Sylvester Jones, Raymond Jones, Alfred Jones, Wendell Jones; sisters, Maxine Jones, Juliette Warren; sons, Gregory Burgin, Raymond Burgin. She leaves to cherish her memory, brother, David Jones; daughters, Carol (Richard) Smart, Sheila Jones, Vickie Burgin-Briggs, Tarlena Burgin; sons, John K. Wright Jr. (Ruby), William A. Burgin Jr.(Ruby); daughter in-law, Ruby Harvey-Burgin; sisters-in-law, Dolores Smith, Virginia Fuller; grandchildren, Nikki Smart, Richard Smart IV, Trisha Smart-Counts, John K. Wright III, Jania Wright, Jara Wright, Hyler Cozart, Taya Jones, Michael Burgin, Anthony Burgin, Jeffery Carroll, Shaynee Howard, Gregory Burgin Jr., Carol Martin, Peter Burgin, Maxwell Burgin, Kendell Wesley, Randall Rhymes, Summer Harris- Craft, Aujha Alexander, Naim Little, and Nasir Little; 47 great grand-children; 24 great great grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
Special people will always be,
Engrained in our heart and memory.
Look through the tears, the sorrow, the pain,
Reflect on the thoughts you want to retain
Remember the love, the warm embrace,
Remember the touch, the smiling face,
Remember the person so gentle and kind,
Who always was caring in action and mind.
Always remember, never forget,
People live in our heart,
And if you remember the person within.
Their sprit will never depart.
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