It is with great sadness that the family of Catherine Anne Wrenn Jones, 90, of 602 Bob White Lane, Whiteville, NC, announces her death on November 3, 2018.
Anne was born on January 29, 1928 to Susie Carter Wrenn and Joseph Aubrey Wrenn and grew up on the family farm in Gatewood, just this side of the N.C./Virginia Line in Caswell County. She attended George Washington High School in Danville, VA, and (then) Appalachian State Teachers College in Boone. During high school, she worked as a hat model for one of Danville’s department stores, beginning a long love affair with hats, which her children remember well (and wished she had saved more of).
She is survived by two daughters, Frances Miller Small and Deborah Anne Hooker, both of Clayton, N.C.; three grandchildren: Suzanne (Karen Waters) Hooker of Raleigh, Kathryn (Tarron) Robinson of Mebane, and John Small of Chapel Hill; one great-granddaughter, Chloe Anne Robinson; daughter-in-law, Elva Small of Carrboro; brother Edward Wrenn of Providence, N.C., and many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her son, John Steven Small, and her husband, Millard S. “Jake” Jones.
Anne had a long and distinguished career of public service in a town she truly loved. She made history in 1999 when she was elected Whiteville’s first female mayor and then elected to a second term. Before her mayoral tenure, however, she was already well known to the business community. Moving with her family to Whiteville in 1955, she worked her way up from running a calculator in a tobacco warehouse to Executive Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce where she shepherded many a Christmas parade down Main St. every season. When she retired, the chamber building was renamed the Anne W. Jones Building in her honor. And then she and her beloved Jake took off for extensive travels in Europe, the US, and Canada. She especially loved the trans-Canadian railroad journey from Vancouver to Toronto.
And she continued to garden. Anne, without a doubt, possessed the proverbial green thumb. Roses were her passion, and for many years, roses, irises, peonies, and lilies graced 602 Bob White Lane. Her magic wasn’t restricted to roses, however: no matter how wilted, any plant she touched would blossom and grow. None of her children, alas, inherited that magic. But she always told us that we had bloomed in other ways that made her happy.
In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the charity of your choice or to the Shady Grove Methodist Church Building Fund, 1705 Shady Grove Rd, Providence, NC 27315
Funeral services will be at 1:00 p.m., Friday November 9th, at the Whiteville United Methodist Church. Visitation will follow in the fellowship hall.
Arrangements by McKenzie Mortuary
A private burial service will take place at the Shady Grove Methodist Church, Providence N.C. at a date and time TBA.