Thelma Lucille Jarmon Vass Groomes was born Jan. 3, 1911, in Kinston, N.C. An only child, she was born to Ozias “Rev. Otis” Jarmon and Cora Becton Jarmon. She grew up in Washington, D.C.
As a young girl, she attended and graduated from Wilson Elementary School in Washington in 1925. She attended and graduated from the famous Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in D.C. in 1928. She was an alumna of Howard University Class of 1932 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education. As a young woman she met Jerome Vass, married in 1938 and had two precious little girls, Janette Cora and Julie Ann.
Thelma’s ambition was to become a teacher and that she did. Her first employment was with the U.,S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau in Washington for three years. She left to work at the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a statistical clerk, and she remained there until 1959. That year Thelma received her appointment as a teacher. She taught English, reading and social studies at Hine Junior High School.
In the 1960’s, she pursued graduate studies at the University of the District of Columbia. She also taught government and sociology at Roosevelt High School as part of its adult education program. She also served as the school’s representative to the D.C. and National Education Association. She retired in 1972, but spent the next year working as a consultant to Aiton Elementary School in the Parent-Partnership Trainership Program.
In April 2004, Thelma was inducted into the Salute to The History Makers, as one of the 100 Washington metropolitan area hstory makers so honored. The History Makers, a non-profit educational institution, is dedicated to preserving the history and accomplishments of African Americans, both well-known and unsung in a written and oral history archive of 20th century African-American achievements. Truly this was a momentous and ceremonial occasion for her and one she will remember for it gave her an humble sense of fulfillment and joy in praise to her God, her family and loyal friends.
Thelma leaves to mourn her passing daughters, Julie Ann Vass and her beloved “Bunny-Bear” Vass and Janette Cora Paret; grandson, Joseph Serge Paret and wife, Cheryl Paret; and stepson, Nathan Mueller; granddaughter, Marlene Denise Paret Davis and her husband, Michael Shawn Davis. Thelma also will be missed by her great grandchildren, Marcus, Myles and Malachi Davis; great-great grandson, Troy Davis, and a host of loving nieces, nephews, other loving relatives, loyal friends and those she mentored and inspired during her life journey.