Ms. Jean Diane Bryant Summerville, 83 of Portsmouth, Virginia, a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, niece, cousin and friend, made a peaceful departure to take her final heavenly rest on May 2, 2022. During her final moments, she was surrounded by her family at home.
Ms. Summerville was born in Scotland Neck, North Carolina August 5, 1938. She enjoyed frequent visits with her family and friends in North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia.
She was preceded in death by her beloved mother, Ms. Ernestine Mullen Bryant and two brothers Richard and Casper Whitaker.
Ms. Summerville graduated from Booker T. Washington High School on June 12, 1956. Following her high school graduation Ms. Summerville was admitted to Norfolk State University to study education. After successfully matriculating through Norfolk State University’s prestigious Early Childhood Education program, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1967. Ms. Summerville continued her illustrious campaign for knowledge by earning a master’s degree in the field of Education from the University of Virginia in 1976, and a master’s degree in School Administration from Old Dominion University in 1987.
Ms. Summerville carried a deep love for educating children and adults within the public school system and local churches. Known for her calm demeanor, she often encouraged others to “Keep their Eyes on the Prize,” while pursuing their true passions in life without reservation.
She began her highly esteemed educational career in 1975 as a 6th grade classroom teacher in Norfolk, Virginia. Ms. Summerville was often recognized for her hard work, dedication, and demonstrated success. In 1977 Ms. Summerville’s reputation as one of the top instructors at Nansemond Parkway Elementary lead to her being one of the first African American women to be promoted to the position of Principal in Suffolk, Virginia.
Ms. Summerville, served as a member of the A.M.E. Zion Church while holding the position, “Coordinator of Local Deaconess,” for 17 Churches in the Hampton Roads area. She also served in the Senior Citizens Groups while supporting the morale and motivation of not only herself but her community and peers. She was a treasurer for two local churches, Greater Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion in Norfolk, Virginia and Providence A.M.E. Zion in Portsmouth, Virginia. Collectively, Ms. Summerville served over 60 years in Christian servanthood. She also held memberships in the Margaret Francis-Chapter No. 101 of the “Order of the Eastern Star” and the UVA Chapter of “Phi Delta Kappa.”
She leaves her memories to be cherished by her three children, Joseph Summerville III, Wendell Summerville, Janine Summerville, two daughters-in-law; Ms. Raydell Summerville and Emma Summerville, three sisters; Shirley Jones; Catherine Walker and Gladys Draughn, seven grandchildren; Dejean Summerville, Jeulian Summerville (Shapree), Corteasia Riddick, Charles Finklea, Thomas Ireland, Lawrence Taylor (Porcha), Wenniqua Littlejohn, ten Great-Grandchildren; Isaiah Summerville, Gregory Whitfield, Jayla Yancey, Asharia Riddick, Lauren Taylor, Lindsey Taylor, Faith Taylor, Jayden Baker, Devon Marks, Kevin Roguely, her god daughter; India Upshur, special cousins; The Riddick Family (Ernestine, Maurice, Lori and Elliott), special friends; Eloise Ward, Frances Burke (deceased), Barbara Pritchard, Doris Rawls, Dianne Gee, Esther Perry, Bertha Booker, Patricia Aaron, Ruby Jackson, Mattie Robinson, The Providence and Greater Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion church families and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and family.
Ms. Summerville leaves a wonderful legacy of a genuine love for Christ, family, education and financial literacy. She will truly be missed by everyone who had the opportunity to spend time in her presence.