Mildred Lewretta Jones, 46, court commissioner, teacher

January 13, 2000|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Mildred Lewretta Jones, a former court commissioner who changed her career to guide city children along a better path, died Saturday at her Bel Air home of complications of asthma. She was 46.

She had a 20-year career in the city court system, where she began as a bailiff in the juvenile division and rose to court clerk and then commissioner. She witnessed so many young people in trouble, she decided to become a teacher to affect young lives, relatives said.

She taught special education at Commodore John Rodgers Elementary School in Butchers Hill in East Baltimore and at the Bel Forest Christian Academy in Bel Air.

"She was cut out of her own mold," said Circuit Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman. "She was an original person. She radiated sunshine and brought dignity to the courtroom. She didn't have a lazy bone in her body."

Judge Hammerman recalled that she wanted to be the best court clerk in the courthouse and brought passion to the job.

Born in Baltimore, Mildred Lewretta Garrett graduated with honors from Forest Park High School at age 15. She entered Coppin State Teachers College, where she had the starring role in a production of Ntozake Shange's "for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow was enuf" and was on the dean's list.

While in high school, where she picked up the nickname "Peaches," she was a soloist in the All America State Chorus, and a member of the Forest Park Coed Chorale and the All Saints Choir. She graduated from Coppin with honors with dual degrees in special and elementary education.

"She had sympathy and empathy for city children," said Dr. Elizabeth C. Gray, a Coppin State professor. "She was so creative. She wanted her bulletin boards to be masterpieces. When the school system didn't have some material she needed, she went out and bought it herself."

Mrs. Jones was an accomplished chef and enjoyed homemaking, fashions and crafts.

She was a member of Bel Forest Baptist Church, 603 Vale Road, Bel Air, where funeral services will be held at 11: 30 a.m. Saturday.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas Jones III, whom she married in 1993; her parents, William and Mildred Garrett of Howard Park; a brother, Orphans' Court Judge Lewyn Scott Garrett of Baltimore; two sisters, Sarah Garrett-Sanders of Howard Park and Harriet Garrett-Warren of Baltimore; and nieces and nephews.

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