Janice Sue Mathews-Ward

Janice Sue Brunston Mathews-Ward was born to Raymond “Deak” and Goldie Clair Woodson Brunston on August 5, 1944 at home, 580 Frederick Street of Nelsonville, Ohio.

She was the youngest of 7 children; Dorothy Mae Brunston Cage-Evans, David Larry Brunston, Russell Gene Brunston, Ruthann Brunston Evans, Marietta Brunston Douglas, and Paul Edward Brunston. As the youngest of seven children, she was never lonely and very much loved by her parents and siblings. From building tree houses to modeling and singing her life was always an adventure.

She accepted Christ at an early age and was baptized at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nelsonville, Ohio. Being raised in a small town and a small group of friends she sand and directed the first Baptist choir who traveled all over Ohio singing at many churches. Not being content with just singing and directing the choir, she and her brother Paul joined up with best friends Becky and Mike Dexter and Sandy Polley to form “The Voices” which was a rhythm and Blues Soul Group. They sang at all the high school dances and other venues when invited. Later on the group changed to an all girl group. The group was well received throughout Ohio when they were joined with Dolli Hall, and Jean Miller, her and Sandy completed the group. They were offered a contract with “Decca Records” with a manager who was the wife of the owner of the radio station in Lancaster, Ohio however our parents thought they were too young to travel out of state so they were content to stay in Nelsonville.

In 1963 in observance of the Emancipation Proclamation, she was crowned “Miss Progress”.
in 1962 she broke the race barrier when she became the first “person of color” to work as a secretary to the assistant dean of women at The Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Transferring to Ohio State, she became secretary to Dr. Eileen McFarlene , Director of Pathology. Not being content to just work as a secretary, she then enrolled at Columbus Technical Institute where she attended for 2 years and received a 3.8 grade point average while working as 1st building manager for the new Columbus Community Services Office Building on Broad St.

In 1989 she joined federal employment office operations manager for the 1990 census supervising. Over 100 census takers for 56 counties in Ohio. In 1990 she was promoted to Director of the West office of the census and was responsible for supervising over 900 employees including 5 managers. Their office was the number 1 office n the country to return all census forms. The census completed she joined another branch of the Federal Government in the form of US Housing and Urban Development. Hired as a supervisor she went to be promoted to customer service specialist as “the last resort specialist.”

She is preceded in death by husbands Duvon Mathews and Leslie Ward, parents Raymond and Goldie Brunston, sister Ruthann Evans, brothers David (Larry) Brunston, Russell Brunston, and Paul Brunston, grandson Duvon Mathews, brothers in law Melvin Cage, Richard Evans, Ronald (Donna) Mathews, and Derek Ward, sisters in law Ruth Brunston, and Dianne Mathews-Johnson, mothers and fathers in law Nellie and Dolphus Mathews, and Dean and Beathra Ward

She leaves to cherish her memory; sons Jason and Justin (Latasha) Mathews, grandchildren Taylor, Desiree, Caysha, Justin, Breana, Brooklyn, Ameir, Xavier Mathews, and Emmanuel Austin, great grandchildren Danielle, Jaden, Serenity, Tae’lor, and Chase, and also a host of other relatives and friends.

Visitation 11:00am and Funeral 12:00pm Monday, March 25, 2019 at Mt. Gerizim Baptist Church, 2633 Mock Road.

Interment at Glen Rest Memorial Estates.

Condolence Messages

  1. As volunteer ministers, my family would like to extend our sincere condolences. There are no words however that can sooth away the pain and hurt that you may be feeling right now. Please know that the God of all comfort cares and will comfort you during these difficult times.
    2 Corinthians 1:3 ,4.

  2. We would like to extend our condolences to the family. May you continue to draw a comfort from God as he help you to cope with the loss of a wonderful person. With caring thoughts.

  3. My heartfelt condolences to the families of Janice.Jesus said:I am the resurrection and the life those who exercise faith in me even though he dies will come back to life. “.John 11:25

  4. Irish J. Richardson

    To the Mathews-Ward family. My heart is with you and your family at this time of your loss. There is comfort in knowing God’s promises about the resurrection hope. (Acts 24:15) and (John 5:28,29) In the past God has resurrected humans and He is eager to do it again because He hates death. (Mark 5:41-43) To learn more about God’s promises go to JW.ORG. There are online Bible study lessons featured and more. Love Your Neighbor Irish J. Richardson

  5. Lily M. Bright l

    To the Brunston family
    My heart is saddened by the loss of Mrs Janice Sue
    We all know that she was loved very much.
    In prayers,
    Tamra and Yalonda Brunston
    Lily Mae Brunston Bright

  6. I will keep the family in my prayers. I worked with Jan at the Columbus HUD office and always felt she was a fried. I pray that God will bless her family.

    Mona Strider

  7. Sue you were a Beautiful person and I always admired your Strength to persevere through whatever came your way, including deaths of people closest to you…. When I crocheted the Shawl for you we spoke about that Part. Rest well with your Loved One’s You will truly be missed. I liked your Style.

  8. Sue was a beautiful and caring soul. She was in her element when she was busy helping others. She began the meals for shut-ins at Mt. Gerizim Baptist Church along with her two dutiful sisters, Marietta Douglas, and Ruth Evans. We miss her presence at the church.

  9. Nobody even told me my grandma passed away its been 3 months …. i cant even begin to explain how im feeling..

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