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Mildred M. Townes

Mildred M. Townes

September 1, 1923 – March 16, 2022

On Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at Petersburg Home for Ladies, Petersburg, VA, Mildred Martin Townes peacefully left this world, with family and friends nearby, to join her Lord.  Mildred was born September 1, 1923, in Columbia, South Carolina, and was the daughter of the late Fred D. Harper and Alice Perry Harper. 

At an early age her family moved to Detroit Michigan, where she attended elementary school until her family decided to move to Petersburg.  In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by her grandmother, Alice P. Harper; aunts, Althea H Dickerson and Grace Harper; uncles, Fred D. Harper Jr., and Samuel Harper; sister-in-law, Grace M. Townes; brother-in-law, Dr. Charles H. Townes; stepson, David Myron Townes; and her dear husband, William David Townes, to whom she was married for twenty-five wonderful years.


Mildred graduated from Peabody High School in 1940, received a B.S. Degree with a major in Library Science from Virginia State College for Negroes (now Virginia State University) in 1949.  She received a M.S. Degree in Library Science from Catholic University of Washington, DC,  and did further studies at the University of Wisconsin.


She was a Librarian at Hunting High School in Newport News, VA; Camp Lee VA (Fort Lee); Fort Dix NJ; Nuttery Training School in Blackstone, VA and she retired from the Arlington County Virginia School System. She was later employed at Virginia State University as a Librarian under the leadership of Dr. Michael Joshua.  

She was a faithful member of Zion Baptist Church, baptized during the leadership of Rev. J.B. Brown. She also attended St. Stephens Episcopal Church with her husband.  At Zion, she was a part of many of the church activities.  Mildred loved to travel and participated in a trip sponsored, in part, by Zion Baptist, circumnavigating the world.  Here favorite stops were Israel and Egypt.


She was a member of numerous sororities and organizations including: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Tri-Sity University Women, Pinochle Bugs, President of the Peterburg Symphony Women’s Auxiliary, Petersburg-Prince George Retired Teachers, and Commissioner at the Petersburg Redevelopment and Housing Authority.  Around the neighborhood she was known as Miss “T”.


She is survived by stepson, William Michael Townes, (Kimberly) Pennsylvania; stepdaughters, Susan Townes (Malcolm West) of New York/New Jersey and Judith Herzberg Ph.D. (Bruce Ph.D.) of Massachusetts; cousins, Otelia Boswell, (Theodore) of Richmond and Eunice Lee of Crewe, VA, Tyrone Mills of Detroit, MI, and Jesse Harrell;  special caretaker, Gracie White; and many cousins on the mother’s side of her family in South Carolina, California, New Jersey, Michigan and members of Zion Baptist and St. Stephens Episcopal Churches, and friends too numerous to mention.

A graveside service was held 11:00 A.M., Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at People Memorial Cemetery, Petersburg, VA, the Rev. Dr. Andrew J. White, Sr., eulogist.