Janelda C George
July 24, 1936 – July 31, 2020
Janelda (Jaye) Cunningham George, 84 of Houston, Texas went to the arms of her Lord on July 31, 2020. She was born in 1936 in Snyder, Texas to her parents Arthur Melvin and Naomi Pearl Cunningham. In 1947, the family moved to Canyon, Texas. Her youth was full of family, church activities, cheerleading, singing, playing with friends and siblings, cooking, and singing harmony with her sister. She graduated from Canyon High School and attended West Texas State College. A history of love, faith, and family were the foundations of her life.
She met John E. George at the Baptist Student Union, where they fell in love and were married in October of 1956. The couple grew and flourished while her husband, John, began his teaching career and ultimately went on to get his PhD. They had their first child Scott Edwin, then Jay Russell and then daughter Jennie. Jaye ran the home and raised three children, while supporting John in his higher educational endeavors.
Shortly after Jennie’s first birthday, the family moved from Baltimore, MD, embarking on what would be one of their greatest adventures. They moved to Lahore, Pakistan where John conducted research on infectious diseases. Due to the break out of the Pakistan/India War, she and the children were evacuated by military aircraft to Tehran, Iran. The men were held back in Pakistan and Jaye found herself alone in a foreign country with three small children, drastically different than where her life began, in the Panhandle. Just like everything in Jaye’s life, she adjusted and made the best out of a challenging situation, further building her strong confidence, and independence that would be the guiding light throughout her life. The family was finally reunited, and John was able to complete his research in Lahore, while Jaye continued to raise their children, instilling a lasting foundation of love, no matter the location.
In 1967 the family moved to Lubbock, TX, where Jaye worked for Southwestern Public Service and later First Federal Savings and Loan. Numerous friends, colleagues, and customers would describe her as a warm, vivacious person, whose charismatic nature meant she could never meet a stranger. In Lubbock, Jaye and the family became active members of Second Baptist Church. Her children have precious memories of listening to her sing hymns and spending time within their church community together. She became actively involved in a singing group, the Sweet Adeline’s, and began singing barbershop music which she LOVED. She was a founding member and became the chapter president. They traveled extensively, singing and spreading the harmony of their barbershop quartet. The group was invited to perform at the Sweet Adeline’s International Conventions in both London and Hawaii. She loved to sing and could harmonize to anything within moments of hearing the music. Although Alzheimer’s eventually took many of her words, it could never remove the joy of music or her ability to sing harmony with her kids, and others who blessed her with song. This gift touched many lives and will never be forgotten by those who knew her.
After Lubbock and a one-year stint in Georgia, Jaye, John and Jennie moved to Kerrville, while Scott and Rusty pursued higher education at Texas Tech. They loved the Hill Country and the foundation of friends, church, and philanthropic organizations that helped build their life there. Jaye was active with the Point Theater in Ingram, sang in the church choir, played in several different bridge clubs, as well as the 42 club she and John loved.
Jaye also aided the Kerrville State Mental Hospital serving as the chairman of the Volunteer Services Council for 10 years. She volunteered her time hosting painting classes, outdoor activities, and other engaging events for the residents at the hospital; as well as, organizing fundraisers that would result in raising approximately $150, 000. Jaye was part of a campaign that ultimately resulted in keeping the Kerrville State Hospital doors open. She received the Yellow Rose of Texas Award from Governor George W. Bush for her volunteerism and dedicated service. Jaye was an advocate and a philanthropist who served others with her whole heart. Along with her service to others, she was also creative, courageous, and whimsical. She used her artistic ability to create her own custom clothing company called “Jaye’s Cloud Nine Originals.” The emblem for her business was an angel perched on a cloud and was seen throughout many of her designs. If you knew Jaye, you knew she had a strong love of angels. There wasn’t a room in her house without a guardian angel watching over all who visited, she also could regale anyone with the story associated with each angel that resided in her home.
Throughout her life, it was clear that the roles of wife, mother, and grandmother were her most prized. Nonie, her given name by her grandchildren, was loving, bold, feisty, witty, vivacious and truly one of a kind. Her flair for bright colors and bold (flashy) jewelry was befitting of her unmistakable personality. Some of her happiest days were spent planning family gatherings and celebrating the legacy of the family she helped build.
She is preceded in death by her husband of 64 years, Dr. John E. George, her mother and father, Arthur and Naomi Cunningham, her sister Francis Petry and her younger brother, Melvin Cunningham. She is survived by her older brother Bill Cunningham and her children Scott George, his son Hunter, Jay (Rusty) George and his wife Paula along with their children Shelby and Nicholas, Jennie George Strozier and her husband Scott along with their daughters, Kate and Emilie Strozier McCarthy and her husband Brendan and their twin boys William and Blake.
Due to COVID 19 concerns, the memorial service for Jaye will be postponed until we can all celebrate her life together. A donation fund has been established in memory of Jaye George with the Alzheimer’s Association http://act.alz.org/goto/Jaye_George and the Volunteer Services Council of Kerrville State Mental Hospital. https://greatnonprofits.org/org/volunteer-services-council-for-the-kerrville-state-hospital Even in her final years, her warm smile and winning personality made a difference in people’s lives. As she rests in her heavenly home, we know she is now our guardian angel, the most fitting role for her life with Christ. Jaye also aided the Kerrville