Yolande Cornelia Watson Giovanni
Yolande Cornelia Watson Giovanni, unwrapped her wings on Friday, June 24, 2005.
The oldest of three daughters born to John Brown and Emma Louvenia Watson, Yolande was born 5 January 1919 in Albany, Georgia. Yolande was an adventurous child who loved games and sports. She twice was double champion with her brother-in-law Haynes Ford at the Wilberforce Tennis Tournament held for Black Americans in the days of segregation.
She loved singing best of all, being a part of the Knoxville College Glee Club as well as her church choirs and she had dreams of being a song writer. The day before she and her younger sister, Ann, were to be graduated from Knoxville College, Delta Sigma Theta tapped them for membership and the line was initiated early because their great and beloved soror Mary McLeod Bethune was the graduation speaker and the sorority wanted the new members to be able to give Mrs. Bethune the secret handshake. She always considered that one of the great events in her life.
In the Knoxville College year book for 1939 Yolande's photograph bears this caption:: Yolande Watson: when you see her you surely must at the same time think of Gus. She married Jones "Gus" Giovanni on 3 July 1939 having kept a promise to her parents that she would not marry until graduation. Gus did not graduate until the following year because of financial needs.
In September of 1940 they were blessed with a daughter whom they named Gary since Gus had thought he wanted a boy. Three years later this loving union produced another daughter, Yolande, Jr. called Nikki. The family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio so that Gus could find work more suitable to a college graduate than he could find in the segregated South.
Yolande always missed being close to her family and returned as frequently as she could. Yolande began her work life as house mother to Glenview School, a home for boys, and she moved on to teach third grade at St. Simon's School. She accepted a career promotion with the Hamilton County Social Services Department where she rose to supervisor. She retired in 1982.
After Gus transitioned, she moved to Danville California where she shared a home with her older daughter, Gary, and six dogs. She and Gary moved to Blacksburg, Virginia, in 1993, to be closer to Nikki. All those who remember Yolande will recall her love of singing, her love of sports and games, her great cooking, her wonderful sense of humor, her protectiveness of her children and theirs.
She is survived by her daughters Gary Ann and Nikki; her grandsons, Christopher Black of Honolulu, Hawaii and Thomas Giovanni of New York City; her sister, Agnes Marsh of Blacksburg, Virginia and Ann Ford of Vacaville, California; her niece Alison Ragan; and her two nephews, Haynes Ford and Reverend Jon Chapman.
She will be missed most dearly by her bridge club, Les Pas Si Betes, which recently celebrated its 75th year sitting at least two tables for bridge every Saturday for 75 years. Delta Sigma Theta will hold Omega Omega services at McCoy Funeral Home on Wednesday June 28 at 6 p.m.
All members of the Sorority are welcome to participate. Visitation will be on Wednesday June 28 from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Funeral services will be at St. Paul's AME Church on Penn Street at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 29, 2005.
On Friday July 1, 2005 at 3 p.m. there will be services held in the Chapel of Spring Grove Cemetery, where her burial will reunite her with Gus. Arrangements by McCoy Funeral Home, 150 Country Club Drive SW, Blacksburg, Virginia.