Jewell Williams Vincent, an aficionado of the well-written word, closed her chapter on this world on September 27, 2017. She was 98.
Her life exemplified the Great Generation's story with an unlikely heroine's determination. She was born to John Llewellyn and Sarah Tanner Williams on September 24, 1919, on the Mississippi Gulf Coast during the Great Depression. She married Major James Harry Vincent (Big Point, Agricola, Miss.), and together they traveled the world developing new military hospitals for the US Army prior to and post WWII and Korea. They were the proud parents of James Ronald Vincent (deceased, Moss Point, Miss.) and Dr. Renée Vincent (Wilmington, N.C.).
After her husband's untimely death in 1959 at the age of 39, she bravely took on an unconventional path for a single mother of two children in the 1950s deep South. She returned to school and earned her BA and MA in history with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi, followed by her Ph.D. studies at Louisiana State University. All this she accomplished while raising two children on her own. She never remarried.
Through these accomplishments, she became a valued senior faculty member at Henderson State University in Arkansas, where she taught history, government and constitutional law for 19 years. During this tenure, she was a treasured member and Bible teacher at the First United Methodist Church of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. She chose to remain a member there even after moving to her daughter’s home of Wilmington, N.C. She felt a strong allegiance to her former church family and the amazing music direction there.
There are a select few women of the Great Generation who pursued higher education and independence, and her story exceeded most. She was undeterred by social convention and rewrote her life's historiography to illuminate the liberal arts education model she admired. Thus, in addition to her professorial role, she was a world traveler, eight-time passport holder, author, bridge shark, astute political and economic connoisseur, advocate of the arts, voracious reader, sports junkie, a consummate friend to all walks of life, and the last remaining member and beloved mentor of her family’s generation.
She remained loyal to the heritage of Alpha Xi Delta sorority at HSU; the Order of the Eastern Star #151 Pascagoula, MS; and the Daughters of the American Revolution.
She is survived by her daughter, Dr. Renée Vincent of Wilmington, N.C.; grandsons Dr. Matthew Vincent (Karen), Houston Texas and Jacob Vincent (Anna), Moss Point, Miss.; three great grandchildren; and a most beloved host of dedicated family and extended family.
In honor of Jewell, we share a verse she held dear and followed throughout her life: "Travel! Read the tough writers; study the rough history; make many friends and memories. You will write your life into a wonderful story."
In lieu of flowers, if inclined, please send remembrances and/or donations to:
Lower Cape Fear Hospice
1406 Physicians Dr.
Wilmington, NC
Jewell Vincent’s life celebration will be held graveside in her family's private cemetery, Evergreen in Moss Point, MS. Heritage Funeral Home, will officiate. The November 15, times of the service will be listed on their