The words above were those of her favorite scripture. She indeed lived a life that was led by the Lord. Juanita J. Wells had a heart that was absolutely golden and larger than life. She knew not of any boundaries when it came to unlimited giving. Just as we could never beat God’s giving; we as her family, friends and loved ones will never beat Juanita’s giving. Neat (as she was affectionately known by many) was the perfect name for the beautiful person she was throughout her life. And now, as we bid her farewell, let us reflect her life, love and legacy that she exemplified while here on earth.
On June 8, 1940, Juanita Jacob’s earthly journey began in Sartinville, Mississippi when her loving parents, the late Alcus Jacob and Clara L. Sibley Jacob welcomed her into their hearts and their home. As the fourth child of ten children, Juanita was the oldest girl.
Reared and educated in a loving home, Juanita surrendered her life to Christ as a young child and continued to grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord. She and her siblings were active members of Bethlehem Baptist Church for many decades. As a faithful servant over the years, her life and legacy were always connected to the church. Juanita had an authentic passion for learning that continued throughout her lifespan. After graduating high school from Hope Attendance Center, she persevered and achieved a magnitude of accomplishments. She attended Natchez College, where she earned an Associate Degree and continued her academic journey by pursuing and earning the Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Studies from Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, MS. Known for her passionate and scholastic ability, while striving for excellence and soaring to greatness, she obtained the following academic degrees: Specialist Degree in Guidance Counseling, Masters Degree in Secondary Supervision, Masters in Special Supervision, and Masters in Psychometry ALL from the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS; She furthered her studies and acquired multiple hours in Counseling with intentions of completing a doctoral degree.
During and after numerous years of being a true academia, Juanita completed student teaching in Wilkerson County and was later employed by the Lawrence County School District where she graciously served 30 years 1965-1995. In 1965, she began her career as a Social Studies teacher and later became the school Guidance Counselor, where she remained for the duration of her career. She contributed to the lives of many in making preparation for a better tomorrow!! During her tenure as Counselor, she organized, developed, coordinated and designed several projects which include: Parenting Class Coordinator, Director of JTPA (Job training Partnership Act), Advisory Council and lived by her Philosophy of Counseling which states: Be able to provide needed activities to reach the total child in becoming a more productive individual in today’s society emotionally, socially and spiritually.
There’s an ole story that referenced…. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright that connected her to the one who captured her heart. On December 23, 1967, Juanita Jacob married Reverend James E. Wells and began their fifty years of marital bliss and blessings. Though they shared no biological children, they were parents to many whom include three godchildren: Cenovia, Lahoma, and Maurice. As parents, they provided love, guidance, encouragement and support.
Being the loyal, dedicated and supportive pastor’s wife, she gave of herself in ever way. Be it her time, knowledge or finance, she was indeed the epitome of the ideal Pastor’s wife, which she was humbly honored and delighted in the infinite love she had for the Mt. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church family. Sister Wells was committed to Mt. Bethel, where she was a faithful member under the leadership of her beloved husband. Mt. Bethel’s youth were always special and close to her heart. She poured into each of them the importance of loving the Lord. Sis. Wells mentored and showed by precept and example how to live a Christian life. In addition to her heart for the Youth Ministry, she had a heart of servitude, which involved her serving as Sunday School teacher, Announcing Clerk, and Women’s Mission Union just to name of few. As a pillar in the community, she participated in the MS Baptist Minister’s Wives Association, Order of Eastern Star, and the MS Retired Educators Association.
Reflecting on the life, love and legacy of our beloved Juanita J. Wells. She lived and loved genuinely, so as a result, her life was well lived, which left a legacy to remember. Though she was very loving and kind-hearted, family was everything. Spending time with her sisters brought an indescribable joy and comfort. Rather shopping, traveling, talking, laughing or entertaining, there was never a dull moment for THE SISTERS. She viewed her brothers as her protectors and loved them all immensely. Known as Lil Neat-Neat to her nieces and nephews, she adored each of them as though they were her own children.
Juanita was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Rev. James E. Wells; parents, Alcus & Clara L. Jacob; and three brothers, Robert James Jacobs, Willie Jacob and Otha Ray May.
On Thursday, June 1, 2023, our beloved Juanita J. Wells transitioned into eternal glory to her mansion that Jesus promised and prepared for her because she was prepared for Him!
Those who remain are comforted and assured because of His promises and the living hope within that they will see her again someday are: Three special godchildren: Cenovia Burnes, Jackson, MS, Lahoma (Joseph) Morgan, Lena, MS, and K. Maurice (Treniesa) Tillman, LaPlace, LA; five grands: Hailey, Ashlyn, Jonathan, Lauryn and Landon; two brothers: Alcus James(Louise) Jacob, New Orleans, LA, and Alcus Ray (Karla) Jacobs, Houston, TX; five sisters: Inita Jacob, Jayess, MS, Clara (Sajjaad) Shukri, Mesquite, TX , Sandra Wilson, Ft. Worth, TX, Lueverta (Knollie) Davis, Houston, TX, and Gwendolyn (Bob) Smith, Tylertown, MS; one brother-in-law: Lacy Kirk (Linda) Wells of Memphis, TN; two sisters-in-law: Naomi O. Harris, Denver, CO, and Clara Johnson, Detroit, MI; a special niece, Starlett Shukri; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, friends and special caregivers: Vickie Baker & Onita Abrams.