At the age of 88 years, Verna Ruth Broadnax Washington surrendered her life to God on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 3 p.m. at her home in Los Angeles, California. Verna declined kidney dialysis and chose to live her final days in her home under Palliative Care with her daughter Sondra Allinice providing comfort by her side. Her last months at home were also supported by the presence and support of her sister, Erma Wells from San Francisco; her niece, Sheila Robertson from Las Vegas; her sister, Martha O'Neal; her niece, Gail O'Neal of Los Angeles; and nephew, Joe Robertson, Jr. of Bossier. Her grandchildren, Richard and Danielle Allinice were by her side in her final days and at her bedside at the time of her death. Verna made an earnest attempt to give her loving goodbyes to her grandchildren, sisters, nieces and nephews and a host of cousins and friends in her final days.
Verna Ruth Washington was the second child born in Minden on Dec. 15, 1923 from the union between Henry Broadnax and Alma Louise Jones.
She grew up in Minden and graduated in 1943 from Minden's Webster High School. She became part of the great migration from Louisiana to the west in 1946, first arriving in Las Vegas to join her sister, Louise Robertson, and she later married John Copes. No children were born of this marriage. Verna divorced and moved to Los Angeles with her sister Erma, where she worked in the fashion industry with her sister and cousins sewing and modeling dresses for Mr. Fenton.
On June 13, 1953, she married Howard William Washington. Verna and Howard adopted her sister, Velma's eldest child, Sondra La Verne. Although Verna and Howard divorced in 1968, they continued a remarkable friendship until his death in 2008. Aubrey Jones, the family's oldest cousin of 94 years, said it best, "Honey will be deeply missed and life will not be the same."
Verna was preceded in death by her sisters, Louise Robertson, Velma Pendleton and Shirley Wilson.
She is survived and remembered with profound respect by her daughter, Sondra Allinice; son-in-law, Richard Allinice Sr.; and grandchildren, Richard Xavier Allinice II and Danielle Aline Allinice; and the families of her sisters, Erma Wells and Martha O'Neal; nieces, Sheila Robertson, Kelly Brosch, Danette Wells-McCrary, Pamela Nezart, Shirley Tuatoo, Mina Jones, Charmyne Cyr, Gailraye O'Neal and Veronica Lynn Wilson; and nephews, Joe Lee Robertson Jr., Kevin Robertson, Jeffrey Pendleton and Allen Wilson II; and a host of grandnieces, grandnephews and cousins.
Majoring in accounting while in college, Verna prepared for her career in banking from which she retired at the age of 62. Verna strongly believed in college education and rewarding careers. Her dreams and support were focused in a hope to see the descendants of her mother, Alma Louise, rise above life's daily struggles and seek out the rewards and accomplishments that are afforded to college graduates.
At her request and to spare family and friends the hardship of travel and funeral expenses, she requested a cremation by the Neptune Society with no funeral services.
A memorial gift to commemorate Verna Ruth Washington can be sent to the UNCF Corporate Headquarters, Attention Francene T Walker, and CFRE, 8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031 or call UNCF: United Negro College Fund (703) 205-3569.