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R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home | Memphis, TN

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.

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