Jeanette Bates Reynolds

Passed 08/07/2019

Obituary for Jeanette Bates Reynolds

Jeanette Bates Reynolds was born February 26, 1943, to Freddie and Magnolia Bates in Memphis, Tennessee. She transitioned into eternal life on Wednesday, August 7, 2019 peacefully at her home.

Like so many, worshiping and attending church were not an option for Jeanette and her siblings. Jeanette was baptized at an early age by the late Dr. Samuel Augustus Owen at Metropolitan Baptist Church. Dr. Owen was determined to make a difference in the lives of others and he coined the phrase “Extra Effort Wins” which became the church motto. Instilled in her at such an early age, “Extra Effort Wins” was always a vital part of Jeanette’s daily life. Among the many childhood activities, she was active in Girl Scouts, BTU, Vacation Bible School, and Sunday School helped set the foundation for physical, spiritual, and mental growth.

Jeanette attended Booker T. Washington High School where she played the clarinet in the school marching band. She graduated as an honor roll student in 1961. Her thirst for knowledge led her to continue her education at Tennessee A & I State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. It was in college that she pledged Alpha Chi Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Her passion for education, reading and children catapulted her into her life-long journey as a librarian. A trailblazer, Jeanette was the first African American librarian to integrate Memphis Public Libraries at the Cossitt Branch. Jeanette retired in 2005 as a librarian for over 40 years working at the following locations: Levi, Gaston Park and old and current libraries. While at the main public library she worked as the librarian over the children’s department. Her passion and dedication would not allow her to sit still. Jeanette was always sharing books and reading materials with everyone, not only her daughters, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, but all children. So, it was not a surprise that not long after retirement, Jeanette eagerly went back to work as a Librarian at Southern Avenue Charter School. The students affectionately called her the “reading lady”! She was the Librarian at Southern Avenue until the day before she passed.

Her infectious smile was contagious and she captured the eyes and heart of Frank A. Reynolds; he became the love her life. They married on August 26, 1967. Frank and Jeanette had twin daughters, Tonya Renee and Sonya Michelle, who they loved dearly! Tonya and Sonya were the joy of her life. She smiled even brighter when she was blessed with her granddaughter, Sydney Fox and grandson Graham! They were the apples of her eyes!

Jeanette was preceded in death by her loving husband, Frank A. Reynolds; her mother, Magnolia Gossett Bates; brother, Willie Earl Bates and sister, Bonnie Bates Churchwell. She leaves to cherish her memories: her twin daughters, Tonya (Carl) Griffin of Charlotte, North Carolina and Sonya Steinberg of Memphis, Tennessee; a granddaughter, Sydney Fox Steinberg of Memphis, Tennessee; a grandson, Graham Duquesne Griffin of Charlotte, North Carolina; her sister, Barbara Bates Payne of Memphis, Tennessee and a host of nieces, nephews and other relatives and friends.


Guest Book

I love and miss you mommie .... Baby girl Sonya

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It is never easy to lose someone we love. Just know that our loved ones never really leave us. Their spirit is always with us. Mrs. Reynolds was so involved in the lives of her daughters. Her spirit will remain in your heart. It is my sincere wish that you have a comforting, peace along with my condolences during this time of bereavement.

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Jeanette was one of the nicest women I have ever met. I am so lucky that I had to opportunity to work with her for several years in the Children's Department of the Memphis Public Library. I learned so much from her and still use her teachings to this day. May the family find peace and comfort in the wonderful memories you shared with Jeanette. --Keshia Williams

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First my condolences to the family members of Jeanette Bates-Reynolds, i have known Jeanette for a long time working @ the old Main Library for at least 35 years she worked in the children's dept. until her retirement. i am sadden to learn about her passing she was a sweet person to get to know. i will miss her & may god bless the family. Sincerely, Clarence Jones, Jr. Memphis Public Library

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MAY GOD'S GRACE AND MERCY BE WITH YOUR FAMILY. Merlynn M. Clemons

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Our deepest sympathy to the family of Jeanette Reynolds. Musette and Bill Castle

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She was a beautiful and sweet person to be around, even in the library. Her warm smile and laughter brightened up a room everyday. Mrs. Reynolds, I love you and we will meet again. My prayers and thoughts are with the entire family.

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Condolences to the family. So sorry for your loss. Your parents will be truly missed by betty Todd and husband Charles. We spent many fun times with them thru the years. Lean on the Lord and he will take you where you need to be..much love to you..

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We have cried so many tears. Tears are sacred not of weakness but of power. They speak eloquently. They are the messenger overwhelming grief, they are unspeakable Love.

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We shared so many memories. You shared a lot about my family. With all that I’ve learn from you, the knowledge the wisdom that you have shared with so many will make your book a bestseller. Your smile and laughter I will never forget. The late night calls and early morning wake up calls you will be missed. Love you Mama Reynolds

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The entire Ward Family extend our deepest condolences to the Reynolds. We would definitely look forward to seeing Frank and Jeanette at the Ward’s Family Reunions. Jeanette was such a beautiful sweet lady with an infectious smile. We pray God will sustain the family during your night season. It is our desire you will find comfort in the words of the Psalmist, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning...” Charles & Marian Brown Lee’s Summit, Missouri

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She will be remembered for her kindness,compassion and love as well as her sense of humor. We have lost an Angel, as well as a Phenomenal Educator!! Sincere Confolences Too Her Family, Blessings and Love, Brenda, Los Angeles, California..

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Jeanette and Frank were such a close and gracious friends to both of us, Lorraine and Lt. Wilks, Jr. We had so much fun at our mutual home parties. She was also a college friend at TN. ST. UNIV. and remained friends forever. We sincerely wish her family the best and pray that she may rest in peace forever and always.

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I enjoyed the years we worked together and I will truly miss you. Rest In Peace. Gwen White

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She was a beautiful lady and she loved her family. She going be missed. Praying for family. Her lawn man Lemus Ester

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My Love and Adoration for Mrs. Reynolds goes back nearly 40 years. Her elegance, poise and demeanor were the true meaning of a Lady. Save me a seat, Mrs. Reynolds. The Lord listens to you.

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My deepest condolences to the Reynolds family, Mrs Reynolds was an angel. She was one the nicest people I have had the pleasure to know. KB Harris

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My sincerest condolences to the family of Mrs Reynolds. We as a family shared many holiday meals and gatherings with her and Sonya and my niece Sydney. Will miss those moments.

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To a beautiful loving phenomenal lady. Always had a smile every time I saw her. Rest on Angel. Cheryl Smith

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Mrs. Reynolds your smile was contagious and I am blessed to have worked with you. You will be missed Rest in Love -Edwards

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I will keep forever in my mind and in my heart the warmest memory of her friendship. Thank you for your kindness Mrs. Reynolds. Good trip my friend. Love you. Incio

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Our staff will continue to keep your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to serve your family.

- R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home