Mother Inez Pickens Alston
Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014
Visitation & Reflections
Funeral Service – Noon
Mount Zion Church of God
32 Oakgrove Ave.
(at Hedley), Buffalo,
Elder Theodore Hamilton,
Monday, Aug 25, 2014
Sunset Hill Cemetery
665 Hunt Road,
Lakewood, NY 14750
In her 92-year life journey, Mother Inez Pickens Alston created a legacy that is rich in service and achievement, both as a family matriarch and as an advocate and servant for her community.
Born on Aug 7, 1922, in Greensboro, N.C., Mother Alston was the daughter of the late Walter and Selena (Kelly) Pickens. Shortly after the Pickens family relocated to Buffalo, N.Y., mother Selena passed away in 1929, when Inez was only seven years old. She and her younger brother Walter were subsequently raised by their maternal aunt and uncle, Mary and Leroy Scott.
Throughout her life, Mother Inez had a strong commitment to education.
In Buffalo, she graduated with honors from Fosdick Masten Park High School in June 1940. In the year following graduation, she became the wife of Mr. Leondras Alston on Feb. 9, 1941. Together they relocated to Jamestown, N.Y., where Leondras had found employment with the Marlin Rockwell Corporation. Leondras and Inez were blessed with three children.
While continuing in her primary role of wife, mother and homemaker, Inez earned an associate degree from Jamestown Community College, a bachelor’s degree in education from Fredonia State College, and a Master of Science degree in education, also from Fredonia State College. She accomplished all of this in a 12-year span from 1957-68.
She worked as a reading teacher for the Jamestown Public School System for over 38 years and, during her career, was honored with Teacher of the Year and Community Service Award honors. In 1983, she received her certificate of advanced studies degree from Fredonia State.
Affectionately known as “Nana,” Mother Inez rendered faithful service for over 60 years to Blackwell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Jamestown. She served in numerous capacities and was nominated Mother of the Year and Layperson of the Year by the church. After relocating back to Buffalo in August of 2013 to be closer to her sons, Mother Inez continued in service to the Lord, joining the Mount Zion Church of God Holiness which accepted her as a Church Mother. She had been a friend and frequent visitor to Mount Zion for over 48 years and had attended the national convention. Mother Inez expressed that God led her to join the Church of God Holiness and become a member of the same convention to which her sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren belong.
Mother Inez absolutely loved butterflies and was given the nickname “Madame Butterfly.” She adorned herself with butterfly accessories and surrounded herself with butterfly artwork and collectibles. She herself seemed to personify the grace, beauty and freedom of a butterfly as it gently flutters from place to place, lighting only briefly to become part of a picturesque scene.
Throughout her life, Mother Inez graciously aligned herself with numerous civic, social and church organizations, often finding herself in influential circles, including an invitation to the White House. She served many terms as chairwoman, president and other offices, sharing her passion for education, her advocacy for achievement and her Christian grace in her commitment to serve others.
She lived over 92 years as daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, scholar, teacher, consultant, mentor, neighbor, community leader, and servant of Jesus Christ.
Mother Inez Pickens Alston, beloved “Nana” and “Madame Butterfly,” took her final flight on Aug. 17, 2014, when she transitioned from earthly life to life eternal in Jesus Christ.
She was preceded in passing by her younger brother, Walter Pickens Jr., who died in Europe in 1946 as a soldier in the U.S. Army; her husband, Leondras Alston, who passed on Dec. 29, 1986; and her son, Steven G. Alston, who passed away in Atlanta, Ga. on July 22, 2003.
Mother Inez’s rich legacy and spiritual mantel live on through the lives of her two sons: Leondras James (Lela M.) Alston and Mel L. (Claire) Alston, both of Buffalo, N.Y.; three grandsons: Christopher M. Alston of Charlotte, N.C., Timothy E. Alston of Atlanta, Ga., and Lawrence M. Alston of Buffalo, N.Y.; three granddaughters: Linda S. (Kevin) Beckman and Jennifer L. Alston of Buffalo, N.Y., and Melissa B. (Leon) Anderson of Charlotte, N.C.; and seven great-grandchildren: Jada Alston, Kaelynn Beckman and Kearsten Beckman of Buffalo, N.Y., and Alexander Anderson, Camryn Anderson, Johnathan Alston and William Alston of Charlotte, N.C. Mother Alston is also survived by a host of other relatives and dear friends, and her brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ.
Associations and Honors.
The following is a list of just a few of the many asso-ciations that Mother Inez was affiliated with and awards and honors that she received over the years: American Association of University Women; past president of Jamestown, New York Branch New York State Council for Senior Citizens; served under Governor Mario Cuomo; Delta Kappa Gamma (Education Honor Society); Jamestown Christian Business and Professional Women’s Council; Order of the Eastern Star – Martha Chapter; past worthy matron; Chautauqua County Association for the Arts; Chautauqua Country International Reading Association; Jamestown Community College Alumni Association; past corresponding secretary; National Education Association; past delegate; Blackwell Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church (Jamestown, N.Y.); past chair, Board of Trustees; past life member Missionary Society; Ebony Task Force; past secretary; Women’s Aglow, Jamestown, N.Y. Chapter; past vice president; Elizabeth Warner Marvin House; life-time member; Mount Zion Church of God Holiness; Mothers’ Board 2014; Zonta International; past member; The Links, Incorporated; past member; Ebony Task Force Downtown Dialogue on Racism; Jamestown Teachers’ Association Community Action Award, 1983; Interclub Council 44th Woman of the Year Award, 1998; Woman of Distinction Award from the New York State Senate, 1998.