Velma Ernestine Woodson was born May 19, 1925 in Kansas City, Kansas. She was the older of two children born to the union of James W. Love and Courtney Baskerville. Both parents and brother, James R. Love, Sr., preceded her in death. In 1947, Velma was united in marriage to William T. Woodson. He preceded her in death in 2016 after 69 years of marriage. No children were born of this union.
Velma received her formal education in Kansas City, Kansas, graduating from Sumner High School in 1943, and then attending the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Kansas University (KU) and Avila University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree and graduated with honors.
Velma joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority while attending Kansas University and had been a member for over 70 years. She was very active throughout her many years as an AKA; performing community service projects, attending conferences and special events while holding various executive offices. Her work did not stop there; she volunteered at the Della C. Lamb Neighborhood House and later became an official Board of Director’s member.
Velma confessed her love for Christ at an early age. Upon her marriage to the love of her life (Bill), she joined Centennial United Methodist Church where she transferred her membership from Mason Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church. Velma was passionate about her church affiliation and while there, she served as a member of the following committees: Commission of Education, Administrative Board Member at Large, PPRC, Youth Ministry and Trustee. She was a faithful and dedicated member of Centennial UMC for over 70 years.
Velma was a lifetime member of the NAACP. She was devoted to the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Velma dedicated more than 68 years of service to the civil rights movement. She was one of many who participated in the efforts to desegregate Kansas City; joining with organized groups of women’s social clubs, which later became the Community Committee for Social Action (CCSA). Velma was elected board member and secretary of CCSA.
Velma received the NAACP Harold L. Holiday, Sr. Civil Rights Award in 1987, the highest award that the Kansas City NAACP Branch bestows. The Kansas City Branch later named their leadership award in her honor, The Velma E. Woodson Outstanding Leadership Award. Velma E. Woodson was hired by President Judge Carl R. Johnson in 1947 to be the first executive secretary. She was the only person to hold this position. She worked for six months then resigned to take a position with the Federal Government but promised to volunteer. She has held every office within the branch, except President, a position she chose not to hold. Many of the positions she held for 18 to 20 years. She was the treasurer of the Kansas City Branch. She had served as secretary and assistant secretary of the region and state. She served until the late 90’s until she retired. Velma was a strong supporter of the branch. She had an exceptional ability to lead and organize and was an outstanding leader within the NAACP and community.
Velma’s career with the Midwest Service Center (known as IRS) began in 1947 when she received a temporary appointment as a Clerk-Typist. Her career is marked by continual advancement to the progressively more responsible positions of File Supervisor, Card Punch Supervisor (Unit and Section levels), Management Analyst and Chief of Section A, Examination Branch and many more upper management advancements. Velma was the first African American female supervisor at the Internal Revenue Service. She set up the first EEO summer program for IRS. She was named one of the outstanding women employed by the Midwest Service Center (IRS), Kansas City, Missouri branch. She retired after serving over 30 years with Midwest Service Center (IRS).
Velma will be remembered for her non-violent marches, leadership skills, program implementation, sound business decisions, and community service. Velma’s strong professional relationships, and attributes to the community, church, social clubs, and organizations, were handled with strength and dignity.
Velma leaves to cherish her memory niece, Sylvia D. Love of Kansas City, Missouri; nephew, Bryan K. Love, Sr. of Kansas City, Missouri; god child, Donna Johnson, West Long Branch, New Jersey; great nieces and nephews, other relatives, close friends and loving church family members.
Memorial service will be held Friday, March 26, 2021, 11:30am at Watkins Heritage Chapel. Private Disposition Leavenworth National Cemetery, LVNKS 2:30pm. Service conducted by Watkins Heritage Chapel. Condolences may be shared on our website. Due to COVID-19, social distancing and face mask will be enforced. Temperature check for all guest(s).
The family request that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the the William and Velma Woodson Memorial Fund of Centennial United Methodist Church at 1834 Woodland, KCMO.
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