Friday, August 3, 2012
Verneile Jones is a mother of 10, grandmother to 30 and great-grandmother to 30 more.
Then, of course, there are her foster grandchildren.
Jones, 90, served in that capacity to numerous area children for 23 years before retiring from the Central Missouri Community Action program this year.
When asked why she became a foster grandparent, Jones put it pretty simply.
“I just love kids to death,” she said from her living room chair.
Jones and other foster grandmothers were honored at a dinner in Columbia in May for their service. It’s gatherings like those that let ladies like Jones, and fellow foster grandmother Lilie Clyce, reconnect and catch up with their children.
The two ladies grew up near one another on 9th Street and Westminster Avenue. Clyce, 83, remembers taking walks with her sister and Jones through the neighborhood.
And though Jones has touched the lives of many children, an equally more important number for her might be 12. Because that’s the number of people she has recommended look into foster grandparenting that have followed through.
Clyce was one of them.
“(Being a part of children’s lives) means a lot when you get old,” Clyce said sitting in a chair next to Jones.