Dr. LaVeta Tijuana Small, age 72, of Sleepy Hollow, passed away at home on November 28, 2020. LaVeta was born on August 21, 1948 to the late William and Vera Small in Elgin, IL. She was one of four sisters, Janice, Billie, and her youngest sister, Renee, who preceded her in death.

LaVeta accepted Jesus Christ and was baptized at St. James A.M.E Church in Elgin, IL.

LaVeta graduated from Proviso East High school in Maywood, IL in 1966, then went on to Southern Illinois University, where she received a Bachelor’s in Education, a Master’s in Educational Psychology, and a Doctorate in Psychology.

LaVeta first married Norman Johnson Sr. and received her son Norman Jr. Norman Sr. preceded her in death. She later married John C. Smith of Paris, TN and to that union their daughter Vanessa was born.

After receiving her bachelor’s from SIU, she worked for the State of Illinois Board of Education. She returned to SIU in 1980 as a Professor of American Black Studies while working on her Master’s and her Doctorate in Psychology. If that wasn’t enough, she somehow found time to be a Senior Sales Rep for McMillan Books. She moved to Grinnell, IA in 1982 to become Director of Minority Affairs for two years at Grinnell College.

In 1984, LaVeta then migrated to South Carolina to become Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at University of South Carolina. She soon joined the Criminal Justice Department as a professor specializing in juvenile delinquency. During that time, she began a consulting firm called Management Dynamics. Clients included Morehouse, HJ Russell Construction, Moody Construction, and the Georgia Lottery.

In 1995, she moved to Atlanta, GA to become Dean of Student Affairs at Spellman College. She was quickly hired by Morris Brown College as Vice President and Interim President. In 2005, she moved back to Elgin, IL to help as a caregiver to her parents.

LaVeta was a strong member of St. James A.M.E Church for over 60 years. She taught Sunday School, served as President of the Lydia Missionary Society, as well as leading several committees for the advancement of St. James. LaVeta was a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. She gave countless volunteer hours to The NAACP and Urban League, as well as started several programs for at risk youths. LaVeta also served as past director of the Youth Leadership Academy.

Dr. Small enjoyed traveling, great food, fashion, hard work, and the advancement of African-American People.

LaVeta is survived by sisters, Janice Small-Kelly and Billie (Paul) Small-Barnett; children, Norman (Theresa) Johnson Jr. and Vanessa Smith; grandchildren, Tyler Johnson, Norman Johnson III, Nolan Johnson, Tamia Truesdale, Chloe Young, and Anthony Young; nephew and nieces, William (Carrie) Howard, Stacie (Willie C.) Kilbert, Michelle (Paul) Schrilla, Ronnie (Felicia) Russell, and Jessica Barnett; cousins, Jackie Armstrong, Earnest Armstrong, and Brenda Brandon; and a multitude of other family and friends.

Visitation will be 5:00pm to 9:00pm, Friday, December 11, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park Street, Elgin, IL 60120.

Mourners are encouraged to review the funeral home COVID-19 public health policies ahead of time. Face masks are required to enter the facility.

To access the Friday evening visitation remotely, loved ones are encouraged to log on safe from home via Zoom.us (Meeting ID: 961 5040 6719, Password: 198421).

Viewing will be 10:00am until time of funeral service at 11:00am, Saturday, December 12, 2020 at Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park Street, Elgin, IL 60120. Rev. Dr. John R. Halbert will be officiating.

To access the Saturday morning viewing and service remotely, loved ones are encouraged to log on safe from home via Zoom.us (Meeting ID: 932 2406 0701, Password: 270049).

Interment will be private.

Final arrangements entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. For more information, call 847-741-1128 or visit www.symondsmadison.com.

18 Replies to “Dr. LaVeta T. Small”

  1. My prayers go out to the smalls and smith family may god comfort you all in this time of mourning may god take care of your love one that’s now in heaven bless you all.

  2. My friend Laveta was a wonderful person and mentor! I will miss her so much!

    1. It was a joy to have known and been a friend of LaVeta’s since grammar school at Irving Elementary and through Proviso East High School. She was always so physically and personally animated, fun to be around. I am so proud of her many accomplishments and good works and know they will follow her memory forever. Deepest condolences to all of her family.

  3. Dr.Small was my mentor, friend, a Second Mom who will truly be missed. My Condolences to the family 🙏🙏🙏

  4. LaVeta was a scholar, teacher, friend and a lovely person in side and out. She will be truly missed but the memory of our friend is forever. Rest In Peace, My Dear Friend.

  5. LaVeta has been my life long friend. We met in 7th grade and have remained true friends all of these years. She was a committed mother, daughter and friend. She will be missed, but always remembered for her outgoing personality and selflessness.

  6. LaVeta was a delightful classmate. I always teased her about walking on her toes while her ponytail swayed when she walked the halls with us at Proviso. May she rest in peace.

  7. I am so sorry that we didn’t stay in touch over the years. Youwill truly be missed. Heaven will take care of you. Rest this day in God.

  8. To Vanessa and family- In memory of a life well lived (LaVeta) created to shine with a one of a kind light in our world, will be missed. Sending our deepest condolences.

  9. My sincere condolences to the family and to Jacqueline Armstrong, a family member and life-long friend of mine. LaVeta and I played together as children when she visited Carbondale, Illinois. Those are pleasant memories. Look to the hills from which cometh your help, for it cometh from the Lord. Ps 121:1

  10. Rest In Peace my amazing Shipmate and Soror. As brilliant as you were beautiful; alway kind and caring and fun to pledge with. We will miss your infectious laugh and beautiful spirit. Hermine Taylor Wise. Sigma Gamma Rho SIU

  11. LaVeta was my Sigma Gamma Rho shipmate at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. We was smart and funny….and always up for some mischief! With all her great accomplishments, she never lost her sense of fun. That laugh…that smile! That is how I will always remember her!

  12. Dr LaVeta Small and I share our membership in our Sorority: Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority.Inc. My husband , EDWARD, and I attended Southern Illinois University together in the mid & late 1960s.
    While we were separated by miles over the years, it was a treat reading about LaVeta’s personal and professional success. Rest In Peace dear Soror Small. Omega Rho 💙💛

  13. I met LaVeta in our sophomore year at Proviso East High School. I was always impressed with her energy, friendliness and fun-loving spirit. She lived her life well and will be missed. My sincerest condolences to her family.

  14. LaVeta was a dear family friend and a colleague. She was always enthusiastic and kind to everyone she met. A phenomenal mother and will be greatly missed by all. Please accept my deepest condolences.

  15. My prayers go out to the family

  16. My deepest condolences to the family of LaVeta. I’ll always remember her cousin, Jackie Armstrong, bringing her to Bethel AME Church on vacations to Carbondale Illinois. Now LaVeta must take her place with our Heavenly Father. 🙏🏽

  17. My prayers and condolences are extended to the Small family. My in-laws. Rev. and Mrs. A.C. Wright with their son (Alexander who was my husband) and daughter (Yvonne) were very close to the family. Mr. and Mrs. Small attended our wedding in 1969 in North Carolina. All were loving and I felt very close to them.

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