JoAnne Adams Lofton was the first child born to Sallie and Charles P. Adams, Jr. in Forsyth, Georgia. She grew up in a family responsible for the founding of Tuskegee University and Grambling State University. Her grandfather Charles P. Adams, Sr. was the founder and first president of Grambling College, now Grambling State University. After her father’s untimely death in 1940, she was raised in Tuskegee Institute, Alabama by her mother and loving stepfather, John A. Fernandes. She obtained her bachelor's degree in chemistry and her master's degree in foods and nutrition/biochemistry from Tuskegee University in Alabama. During the 1960s, she was heavily involved in the fight for voting rights for African‐Americans in Alabama. She testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in 1958 regarding the Tuskegee, Alabama, gerrymander/voting rights situation. JoAnne met William Cornell Lofton while working at the Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine. They fell in love and married on September 11, 1963. They lived in Alabama and Georgia before settling in Omaha where they raised their two loving daughters, Dhana Theresa Chandler and Nikki Christelle Simmons. Their love endured for over 50 years. During these years, the family grew to include sons‐in‐ law Joel W. Chandler and Sean A. Simmons, eight grandchildren; Taylor Chandler, twins Jayda and Jordyn Chandler, and Andrew, Danielle, Anthony, Sariah and Aaron Simmons, and one great grandchild; Noah William Grant. In 1971, JoAnne began working for the University of Nebraska Omaha. Throughout her career at UNO, she worked on campus as a staff member, faculty member and administrator. She was instrumental in the recruitment and retention of students, and was especially known for her retention efforts in the Goodrich Scholarship Program and in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service. She suggested developing a relationship with Grambling State University in Louisiana, which resulted in the recruitment of African‐American students to graduate programs at UNO. She also worked to promote the undergraduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women and the Black Studies Department at UNO. During her career, she served as Interim Chair of the Department of Gerontology and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal in 1999. JoAnne retired as Assistant Dean, College of Public Affairs and Community Service after thirty years of service to UNO. JoAnne was active in many community service activities and organizations in Omaha. She was loved by her sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. JoAnne’s passions were gardening, sewing, cooking, Amazon Prime, her family and her grandchildren. She was well known for her Christmas Eve seafood gumbo and always had an open‐door policy. If you were invited once for gumbo, you were invited forever. Her beautiful smile, hearty laugh, and biting sense of humor will be missed. Memorials suggested to the Josie Harper Hospice House, 7415 Cedar St. Omaha, NE 68124 or the National Kidney Foundation, kidney.org.
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