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.