Jane Verna was born in Tallulah, Louisiana to Henry and Gladys Taylor, with her twin brother Lee Vern on November 27, 1943. At birth, due to a heart condition, the doctors informed Gladys that Jane Verna would possibly not live past the age of 7. However, the Lord gave her 77 illustrious years!
The family moved to Los Angeles in 1944 where Verna, her twin brother Lee and their older sister, Audrey, were raised and went to school.
After the birth of her oldest son, Fred Neal Binion III, Verna worked for the State of California as a Social Worker in Los Angeles County and Kern County. After the birth of her youngest son, Derrick Comeal Smith, Verna began attending California State University, Dominguez Hills to get her degree in African American Studies with a Minor in English. During her time as a student, she attended classes with her eldest son, Fred, who says she was an excellent student who loved to talk in class.
Upon graduation she began her career as a Student Advisor and Coordinator of the Summer Bridge Program at CSUDH. In her 22-year long professional career, Verna touched the lives of thousands of students.
She held various unofficial roles throughout her tenure at the University including prayer warrior, Christian club advisor, match maker and many more. Her students knew they could come to her for encouragement, guidance, wisdom and prayer.
After retirement from CSUDH, Verna moved to Arizona to be with family and began a second career as substitute teacher for Florence Unified School District. Another role where she touched hundreds of lives. She could be anywhere in the valley and would be greeted by a former student with love and admiration.
Outside of work, Verna enjoyed traveling, singing, being a motivational speaker, actor, director and being a most hospitable host – she never met a stranger and always welcomed people to her home with open arms.
Always filled with compassion and a genuine interest in others, Verna had a unique ability to connect with people and made friends easily. She maintained regular contact with many from around the world and across multiple decades.
Verna was a woman of strong faith and encouragement always believing in the power and strength of the Lord – Verna was a walking symbol of trusting God in every area of her life. She knew being absent from the body meant being in the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Her courage and strength were built on the knowledge that she was God’s FAVORITE. She would tell anyone that listened that she was blessed and highly favored and “all that and a bag of chips!”
Verna greeted anyone she met with “Hi, I’m Verna – do you know Jesus?”
Verna is survived by her sons Fred Neal Binion III and Derrick Comeal Smith, her daughter-in-laws Virginia and Munira, her grandchildren Alexandra, Cameron, Breanna, Samuel, Julia, Maximus and Gieselle and her great-grandchildren Arianna, Audrey, Jayden and Anderson, her loving older sister Audrey Lovelace and Audrey’s daughter Toni, her wife LaShelle and Darryl her son, his wife Trenain, their daughter Enjoli, numerous and beloved cousins, nieces and nephews.
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