Lavera H (Grimes) Brown
August 14, 1929 ~ December 19, 2022 (age 93)
LaVera Othenia Grimes Henry Brown was born in Jackson Tennessee. She was the oldest of eight children born to Rev. Dr. James Relner Grimes, Sr., and Ocie Bell Merriwether Grimes.
Her graveside service was held on Saturday January 7, 2023 at 11:30 pm at Bolivar Community Cemetery with Pastor Robert Parham in charge. Dixie Funeral Home www.dixiefuneralhome.com was in charge of the professional service.
While still a toddler, her family moved to Bolivar, Tennessee where her father became a head chef at Western State Hospital, and later a Baptist minister and civic leader. Her mother was a homemaker, active in church aﬀairs and an Eastern Star.
Having been strongly instilled by her parents with the importance of a good education, young LaVera was an avid student. As a teenager, she commuted to Allen-White in Whiteville, Tennessee, where she be- came Chaplain of her senior class and graduated at the top of her class at the age of 16. Very athletic, she played varsity basketball at both Allen White High School and Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, a private historically Black college associated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. At Lane, LaVera majored in Education. After three full years at Lane College, she decided to move to Dayton, Ohio and later the Bachelor of Arts Degree was conferred from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.
Through Allen White High School’s Assistant Principal, Professor Fred D. Fant, the teenage and college LaVera accepted summer work opportunities in domestic in Dayton, Ohio. She was a resident of the now landmarked Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) on Summit Street. There, she shaped her ambition with the help of her mentor Arletta Sebree and made lifelong friends. She decided that Dayton would be her new home. It is where she met her first husband, Luther Henry, father to her only child, LaQuita Henry (New York City). Twice divorced, her second husband was architect Arthur Brown.
For 34 years and until her retirement in 1984, LaVera worked at the Dayton Veterans Administration Medical Center as a medical technologist advancing to higher levels and receiving notable commendations and earned a Master of Science with emphasis on mental health counseling. Upon her retirement from the Veterans Administration Medical Center, she worked as a Mental Health Therapist at Daymont Behavioral Health Care, Inc., for nearly 20 years, and as a staﬀ advisor to Clients for Better Care.
LaVera followed the practices of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and formerly was active at Phillips Temple CME Church and Peoples Community CME Church. She is a member of the Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (75 years) which she pledged at Lane College in 1948. She is a founding member of the Miami Valley Coalition of 100 Black Women. Among her proudest moments were two events: one being Guest Speaker for Women’s Day in 1997 at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Savannah, Tennessee where her father was Pastor Emeritus; and two, being an honoree at McKinley United Methodist Church at its Black History Month Program in 2002. LaVera loved visiting with her friends, going to church services, hearing inspirational music, and attending cultural events like theatre, concerts, and dance.
LaVera is preceded in death by: Grimes brothers, John Griﬃn, Harold Dillon, Dewey Arthur, Ray Forrest, and Albert Burnette; sister, Doris Ann Johnson; sister-in-law Edwina Grimes; brother-in-Law, William M. Johnson; grandparents, Albert J. and Lula Fuller Merriwether, and Peter Pearl and Bessie Love Grimes. In addition to her daughter, LaQuita, she is survived by her brother, James Relner Grimes, Jr. of Dayton, Ohio; sisters-in-law, Janice Rodgers Grimes and Cheryl Ward Grimes of Dayton, Ohio, nieces, Melanie Davis (St. Louis, MO.), Carmeleita Johnson Winburn (Huntsville, AL), Bridget Johnson (Redford, MI), Nicole Yvette (Bernard) Johnson, Jamita Lynn (Stan) Tompkins (TX), and Kyra Grimes (Chet) Robinson (Dayton, OH); nephews, Rickey (Whiteville, TN), Stanley, Reshawn and Charrod Amir Grimes, and Brian (Carita) Lawrence, all of Dayton, Ohio; grand-nieces, Breanna Davis, Kyndal Tompkins, Kennedi Robinson, Kiara and Derae Grimes; grand-nephews Mario Winburn, Nathaniel Tompkins, Evan Robinson, Charrod, Jr., Zaire and Isaac Grimes; close cousins, Frances Grimes (NJ), Clementine Spencer (Jackson, TN), Warlanda Stallworth, Mildred Kelly (Chicago); and a host of other loving relatives of the Grimes and Merriwether Families; and many friends.
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