Yvonne Jewell

JewellYvonne Jewell, 96, on January 23, 2022, following a brief illness, in Newtown Square, Pa. Yvonne was born on September 11, 1925, to Oliver and Ethel (Pearl) Davies in Charleston, W.V. She graduated from Garnet High School in Charleston in 1943, then majored in mathematics and physical science at West Virginia State College where she received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1946.

Moving to Philadelphia, Pa., with her husband, Ezra, in 1948, Yvonne was a math teacher in the Philadelphia public school system, teaching first at Shoemaker Junior High and later at West Philadelphia High School. While teaching, she worked part-time at Letson Realty Company. In 1962, Yvonne struck out on her own, opening Jewell Realty Company in West Philadelphia.

Yvonne worked tirelessly to instill in her son, Juan, a sense of the importance of education and a love of learning. One year she made a New Year’s resolution to take her son to a different museum or educational event each week. Yvonne made great sacrifices in order to enroll Juan in kindergarten at Friends’ Central School at a time when there were very few African American students at the school and to provide all the resources he needed to be successful. Her example inspired a number of her friends and business acquaintances to enroll their children at Friends’ Central. Those children are now proud alumni of the school, including the current head, Beth D. Johnson (Class of 1977).

Yvonne became interested in Quakerism as a result of her son’s experience at Friends’ Central. She joined Lansdowne (Pa.) Meeting, where she was a member of various committees including the School Committee, which oversees Lansdowne Friends School, and the Property Committee. After retiring, Yvonne attended Willistown Meeting in Newtown Square.

Yvonne was a lifelong learner. She took flying lessons during the early 1970s. She earned a master of science degree from the University of Utah in 1977. She enjoyed taking Italian and computer lessons at White Horse Village. Even as her vision began to fade during the final year of her life, Yvonne remained a faithful reader of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Yvonne loved animals. She occasionally spoke wistfully about how she was unable to go to veterinary medicine school. She had a dog and two cats for much of her adult life, and always asked acquaintances about their pets.

Yvonne gave her granddaughter books, an encyclopedia (in the pre-digital days!), and subscriptions to magazines, as well as dolls and stuffed animals. Many of Yvonne’s gifts to her granddaughter have been passed on, in turn, to her great-grandchildren.

Yvonne is survived by her son, Juan Jewell (Susan E. Cozzens); one grandchild; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

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