HomeCover StoriesPresenting The Journal's 2014 Women of Achievement Honorees

Presenting The Journal's 2014 Women of Achievement Honorees

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Presents 2014 Women of Achievement honorees

The Journal proudly presents the following 2014 Women of Achievement who will be honored at a breakfast on Saturday, April 12th at Brookside Clubhouse.

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Jeannie BeardJEANNIE BEARD

Jeannie Beard is a longtime member of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Altadena, CA. This Chicago born church activist currently holds the position of Youth Ministry Director. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Pacific Oaks College. She has held numerous positions at her church, including positions as diverse as head of Women's Ministry to Sunday School Superintendent.

This mother of one son came to California at the age of seven with her parents and three siblings to seek the California dream of a better life. Her father was a minister and worked at the post office and at Herbert Hawkins Realty. Her mother was a homemaker. The family landed in Pasadena and at Metropolitan, BC.

Miss Jennie, as she is fondly called by her friends, attended Marshall High School, before beginning her college career which began at PCC and then on to Pacific Oaks and USC. She holds a B.A and an M.A. from USC in Early Childhood Education. She has been well schooled in christian education, through her father as a Baptist preacher and her early childhood education. She has used those skills, working with the church and for the glory of God.

Her enthusiasm and excitement about her life's work shows itself by her ever-present smile and long resume of church work which include activities from developing book clubs, directing the youth choir, holding scholarship funds for the young, to visiting the sick and shut-in. She is a constant reminder of the song that declares, "Talk about a child that does love Jesus, here's one."

She sees her future as continuing to work for the church and young people through her own company, KINGDOM KIDS CONSULTING. Her services are available to churches and schools to develop programs for children. Her life's motto is: "Leave this world a better place than you found it. " She does just that!

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Evelyn Eppsn t eppsEVELYN T. EPPS

Born in Lonoke, Arkansas, Evelyn's mother died when she was seven years old. Her sharecropper father brought his family to a better life in San Diego, California. Evelyn finished high school in San Diego and worked in a restaurant in La Jolla, CA. She attended San Diego City College and married her late husband, Bill, in 1963. They moved to Los Angeles where Bill went to law school and they welcomed their first child, a son, in 1965. She worked at FEDCO.

The growing family purchased their first home in 1966 and Evelyn went to work at Mutual Savings and Loan where she worked from 1968 through 1974. They added another son and a daughter.

In 1974 the family took a major turn when Evelyn left Mutual Savings to go to beauty school. She had seen her grandmother in Little Rock "do hair" and Evelyn had developed a clientele at home in Pasadena.

After beauty school, Evelyn went to work for Summit Laboratories and later for Johnson Hair products. She performed educational demonstrations at hair shows, traveling from Arizona to Washington. She later opened her own shop, called EPPSALON in Altadena, and continued working on the road to perform and train while working at her own shop.

In 1970, the family joined Lincoln Avenue Baptist Church in Pasadena, CA, where she has remained. Over the years at Lincoln and mothering her three children, she has diverse church duties, ranging from choir member, Sunday School teacher, teaching New Members Class, to serving as church trustee for fifteen years and treasurer for the past twelve years.

Today this businesswoman and grandmother to 11, remains dedicated to the work of her church!

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Ruby BourneRUBY N. BOURNE

Born and educated in New Orleans, LA, Ruby N. Bourne has had three careers, including two in banking and one at Federal Express, before settling at Bethlehem Church in Pasadena, CA. She has been so dedicated to her church, she re-financed her home to help remodel the church, located on North Fair Oaks in Pasadena, CA.

Ruby came to California after high school. She lived in Monrovia, prior to moving to Pasadena. She attended Pasadena City College for two years. This mother of three is proud of her children, one daughter is a superior court judge, and the other daughter is a registered nurse. Her son is a USC graduate in Business Administration. Once the children were educated, Ruby Bourne returned to work at Bank of America where she spent thirty-five years. She later spent nineteen years at Federal Express.

At Bethlehem Church, where she has been for over fifty years, she serves as Chief Financial Officer. Since 1990, she has served as President of the Trustee Board. Under her, the church has developed and received a $400,000 grant for their "HOUSE OF HOPE" program. This program serves as a shelter house for young men and women in need of help to turn their life around. The grant provides six housing units.

The church partners with community businesses, like Trader Joe, for giving the church food for the residents of House of Hope. Miss Ruby is a believer that the church can reach out to young people, and with that in mind, her prayer has been that they can develop a school to add to their work in teaching young people.

Black news from Pasadena - Cover -Woman of Achievement Carrie DarkwaCARRIE DARKWA

Carrie was born in Memphis, Tennessee, where she attended and graduated from high school before moving to Los Angeles. She has been a senior usher at Morning Star Baptist Church, since 1989. She has been active at her church, working with the Usher Board, the Sunday School, and as a coordinator of the church's Birth-Month ministry. Carrie has served as a Vacation Bible School teacher and is an active member of the Women's Fellowship ministry and the Intercessory Prayer ministry.

She was the proud recipient of being recognized at her church in 2010 and 2013 for her faithfulness and dedication. These awards were given to her at Morning Star's Servant's Day Celebration.

She is the mother of two children, and grandmother of one. Her daughter is a registered nurse and realtor. Her son is a developer and a Herbal Life representative.

She has worked with the United States Postal Service for over thirty years. Her previous career included work at a hospital in Los Angeles. Her work at the U.S. Postal Service included fascinating work as a certified pssport acceptance agent, a tour guide, a facilitator, and as an instructor.

Miss Carrie attended Los Angeles City College and Mount St. Mary's College. Always making the most out of her experiences, she played Othello in the school's play at Mount St. Mary's (all-girls school) and played on the school's girls' volleyball team. She advises young people to try new things, never be afraid, and do what you love.

Now that she is retired she hopes to soon visit her husband's family home in Ghana, West Africa. The pair have been married over 37 years.

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Patricia McElrath WilliamsPATRICIA McELRATH WILLIAMS

Patricia Williams was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She met her husband-to-be when he came to the door to solicit for the job of shoveling the snow from her family's doorstep. She attended and graduated from high school in Cleveland and was always shadowed by her future husband who had come to shovel the snow. He stuck around and the pair dated and ultimately married. The pair ended up in California where he came to finish his business degree. She and her husband have two children, a daughter and a son. She worked at the old Pasadena Cafeteria and attended Bryman College where she studied dental assisting and started a career in the dental field where she remains as an administrator.

In 1974, the year her mother passed, her membership at historic Friendship Baptist Church in Pasadena, CA became her large, extended family. In her work at the church, she has been on the Usher Board, the Mission Board, the Sunday School, Marriage Ministry, the Children's Church, and the Care Ministry. She also is involved in the Friendship Wives Program.

As a Deaconess, in the Care ministry, she helps the elderly with daily tasks like painting their nails to being an advocate for their personal needs when they are in a care facility. As an advocate, she takes charge of policing whether their needs are being met. This role allows her to stand up for the elderly who often can't speak up for themselves. She is also involved in the Intercessory Prayer Group. She believes that prayer is something we can all do for somebody.

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Lois Carrington TusanLOIS CARRINGTON TUSAN

Born in Gary, Indiana, this only child came to California when her father declared that that winter would be the last winter he would spend in Indiana. It was just too cold. Lois was 16 at the time. Her father was an electrician and mother was a nurse.

They moved to Southern California where Lois completed high school at Dorsey High in Los Angeles, CA. After graduation, she attended Los Angeles City College and earned a B.A. in Education and later a M.A. in Education Administration.

While in school, she worked at the Department of Public Social Services as a typist. That fact would be insignificant but for the fact that at the time she could only type about 16 words per minute. She had taken the typing test at about 4:15 in the evening and was hired on the spot. By the time the county discovered they had hired a non-typist, it was too late. She treated it as an OJT (on the job training) opportunity, and learned on the job.

She also worked part-time at the Sheriff's station where she met her then husband. They parented two accomplished children, a daughter, who attended UCLA and is today a Superior Court judge in Atlanta, Georgia and a son who is an entrepreneur in the sound business.

After college graduation, Lois got her dream job as a teacher. She had decided in kindergarten that she would be a teacher. She says she loves children and loves being able to shape their young minds. Her teaching career has spanned over forty years which she has spent teaching at the primary school level in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Her attempts at getting a position in Pasadena were thwarted with excuses like they didn't have a position. She knows now it was a blessing. Her work with the youth is enhanced by the fact that she volunteers as a Docent with the L.A. County Zoo.

She is proud of the fact that occasionally she will hear from her former students who remember a life lesson they got from Ms. Tusan. She came to Pasadena to visit a friend of her husband's and found a house across the street. They bought the house and she developed a lifelong friendship with who she calls her sisterfriend.

The family joined Scott United Methodist Church over thirty-five years ago where Lois has worked diligently with the youth and as a financial secretary. She says that her church gives her great joy and comfort.

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Gwendolyn Peterson-BuchannanGWENDOLYN PETERSON-BUCHANNAN

Gwen is the seventh of nine siblings, born in Springvale, Georgia. In 1960, the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where they attended Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church and attended school. She relocated to California in 1972. She' a wife and mother of two and the grandmother of five. She worked as a former United States Postal Service professional who specialized in Human Resources.

In the early 90s, she was involved in several television tapings where she performed and produced. Last year she wrote, produced and directed a skit to commemorate African American notables for her church, New Revelation Missionary Baptist Church, where she has been a member for thirty years.

She currently serves as Executive Assistant to the Pastor, Executive Board Director, and President of the Birthday Ministry. She is also a member of the Accents and Ushers' Ministries and the Cathedral Outreach Community Gospel Choir.

Gwen is a firm believer in the power of prayer and her priority is being in the will of God and witnessing to others. Her motto is: I'll never be perfect, but I strive for perfection!

Black news from Pasadena - Cover - Woman of Achievement Phlunte' RiddlePHLUNTE' RIDDLE

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Phlunte' Riddle's family came to California when she was four years old, landing in Pasadena, after staying in Los Angeles. She attended McKinley Elementary School and graduated from John Muir High School. She earned a B.A. degree and a Master's degree from Woodbury College, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Philips Graduate Institute. She recently retired from a career as police officer in Pasadena, after reaching the level of Lieutenant and serving as the Adjutant to the Police Chief.

Phlunte' acquired the Riddle name legacy when she married her husband in 1978. Her husband's father (Ralph Riddle) was Pasadena's first Black police officer. She met her husband when she worked at Cinema 21 Theater, when it was owned by Riddle, and later at TOBA West, a Black theater group. Among the many jobs she held as a teenager growing up in Pasadena, she worked at the Sheriff's Department as a filer. This, and her father–in-Law's encouragement, were preparation for a career in law enforcement.

She joined the Pasadena Police Department in 1984 and retired after 29 years, in 2012. She remains busy as a professor at La Verne University and as an adjunct professor at PCC and Azusa Pacific University. She is the mother of three adult sons.

Phlunte' is a loyal member of Abundant Harvest Christian Center where she is an assistant to the pastor. At the church, she can be found acting in variety of roles, from finance consultant to co-coordinator of the annual Altadena Community Festival. She says that her role is to help make things happen, utilizing the talents God has developed in her over the years.

[Photos and Cover Design by Brother Yusef.]




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