Gail Yvette Jones, 46, supervisor of state property managers, activist

February 28, 2003|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Gail Yvette Jones, who supervised state property managers and was a housing activist for the poor and disabled, died of a rare bacterial disorder, necrotizing fasciitis, Feb. 21 at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. The Gardenville resident was 46.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Piedmont Avenue, she graduated in 1973 -- at age 16 -- from Walbrook High School. She earned an urban studies degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a master's in public administration from the University of Baltimore.

Beginning her career with the Maryland Department of State Planning, Miss Jones later worked for the Maryland Educational Opportunity Center, the House of Ruth, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Community Housing Associates Inc., and the state Department of Housing and Community Development in Annapolis. In her last job, she supervised state property managers who inspect homes and apartments that receive federal housing subsidies.

"With a quick and dry wit, she brought joy to the office and her co-workers," said Stephanie B.M. White, director of contract administration at the state housing agency. "She had an incredible singing voice that was part of her wonderful, positive spirit."

Colleagues said that last year Miss Jones organized the agency's annual retreat aboard the Lady Baltimore. After lunch, she sang as they cruised the Baltimore harbor.

They also said she combined her knowledge of real estate management with a personal commitment to help those who were impoverished, recovering from drug addiction or dealing with mental illness to find safe and affordable housing. She had served on the board of directors of East Baltimore's Washington Hill Mutual Homes.

"She was a gregarious person with a lot of personality," said her sister, Wanda Thomas of Cheverly. "She sat at her computer and sang away. She also enjoyed a good party."

She also earned a real estate license and sold homes in Baltimore.

Miss Jones was active in several city church congregations. As a youth, she joined Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Walbrook Junction and was later affiliated with Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Druid Hill Avenue. At her death, she was a member of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Northeast Baltimore.

A soprano, she sang with two Baltimore gospel groups, the Majestics, and at Bethel AME Church, the Imani Messengers. She also sang at weddings and birthday celebrations.

A memorial service will be held at noon tomorrow at Nutter Funeral Home, 2501 Gwynns Falls Parkway.

She is also survived by her mother, Daisy Marrow Jones of Baltimore; two other sisters, Pamela Jones-Newman of Randallstown and Monica Arthur of Jessup; a brother, Michael Jones of Baltimore; and four nieces.

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