Mazie Jones Levenson Passes Away Wednesday, Born in the Jones House in 1914, Sold It To Town of Boone in ’83

Published Friday, March 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm

By Jesse Wood

March 8, 2013. Mazie Jones Levenson passed away on Wednesday, March 6, in Winston-Salem. She was 99 years old.

She was the daughter of Dr. John Walter and Mattie Blackburn Jones and was married to Harold Levenson. She was born, on Jan. 18, 1914, in the building that is now known as the Jones House Community and Cultural Center, the building that her father built in 1908.

Mazie Levenson - Photo courtesy of Cherry Johnson

Mazie Jones Levenson – Photo courtesy of Cherry Johnson

Levenson’s father died of pneumonia in 1925 when Mazie was just 10 years old, and her mother struggled to make ends meet. This was just before the Great Depression. Levenson and her brother were tasked with the “terrible experience” of collecting overdue medical bills from her late father’s practice,” according to Levenson in a 2008 High Country Magazine article celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the historic structure.

Levenson’s mother turned the residence that overlooked King Street into a boarding house, accepting borders for $7 per month until the late 1960s, when the chores were to tough to bear. Mattie Jones lived alone in the house until 1975.

Because upkeep and renovations were costly, Jones, who lived in Greensboro by then, sold the property to the Town of Boone in the ‘80s with the stipulation that it be used as a green space and cultural center, and it became home to the Watauga County Arts Council until the Town of Boone recently decided the historic house would house the town’s Cultural Resources Department. 

“If it weren’t for Mazie at least 15,000 people a year wouldn’t have had the experiences they did. She is the reason for it,’ Watauga County Arts Council Executive Director Cherry Johnson said, referring to the patronage and attendance the Jones House had the past several years. “All the experiences in the building – baby showers, receptions, concerts, classes – whatever they did in that building, none of it would have happened without Mazie.” 

In a statement on Facebook announcing her passing, Johnson wrote, “The Watauga County Arts Council owes a huge debt of gratitude to Mazie for the impact that her childhood home, the Jones House Community Center, had on our work in the community. We will truly miss her!”

Levenson graduated from ASU. She worked in the North Carolina school system as a teacher and public health educator. She moved away from Boone in the early ‘50s and put down her roots in Greensboro, where she became an environmental activist, became active in the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad and was active in the civil rights movement that occurred in the ‘60s.

According to her obituary, “Mazie’s love and concern for the Appalachian Mountains prompted her to establish the Harold and Mazie Jones Levenson Fund at ASU to promote sustainable principles and practices. She became an ardent supporter of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy based in Boone.”

She will be buried at a Boone cemetery during a private inurnment at a later date. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Greensboro Urban Ministry, 306 W. Lee St., Greensboro, NC 27406; Mazie J. Levenson Scholarship Fund, School of Public Health, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or Harold and Mazie Levenson Fund for the Environment, ASU, Boone, NC.


Mrs. Mazie Jones Levenson Obituary

Mazie Jones Levenson, age 99, formerly of Greensboro, NC, passed away on March 6, 2013 at Arbor Acres in Winston-Salem, NC.

A memorial service celebrating her life will be held at 2:00pm Friday March 15, 2013 at Christ United Methodist Church located at 410 N. Holden Road, Greensboro, NC where she was a charter member.

Mazie was born January 18, 1914 in Boone, NC to Dr. John Walter and Mattie Blackburn Jones. She graduated from Appalachian State University, received a Master’s in Education from George Peabody College in Nashville, TN, and later a Master’s from the UNC-CH School of Public Health. Preceding her in death were her husband Harold Levenson and her brother John Walter Jr. “Jay”. She is survived by cousins Rosemary Claudy of Pittsboro, NC, Sally Reed of Clemmons, NC, Roberta Anderson of Fairfax, VA, and Ben Blackburn of Cherryville, NC. and many close friends and Levenson relatives.

Levenson - Photo courtesy of Forbis & Dick Funeral Service, Inc.

Levenson – Photo courtesy of Forbis & Dick Funeral Service, Inc.

Mazie worked in the NC school system as a teacher and a public health educator in Cumberland, Surry, and Guilford Counties.

Mazie and her husband moved to Greensboro in the early 50’s where she worked as one of the first Public Health Educators in the newly merged Guilford Co. Department of Public Health. In addition to teaching in the public schools, Mazie became active in the League of Women Voters of the Piedmont Triad, leading their environmental activities for 50 years, chairing their Natural Resources Committee in the 1970’s and representing them on the Watershed Committee. Her work with the LWVPT earned her several awards including the 2004 Woman of Achievement Award. In the 1960’s Mazie was active in the civil rights movement in Greensboro and with the Committee of Civic Affairs at the YMCA. She was honored in 2003 by the Jubilee Institute Grass Roots Hall of Fame for her work in civil rights and the environment.

Her work with the Greensboro Preservation Society helped to inspire her to have her family home in Boone placed on the list of Historic Places. Now the Jones House Community Center on King Street is home to the Cultural Resources Department of the Town of Boone and is the hub of many cultural activities for both children and adults. Mazie’s love and concern for the Appalachian Mountains prompted her to establish the Harold and Mazie Jones Levenson Fund at ASU to promote sustainable principles and practices. She became an ardent supporter of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy based in Boone, NC.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Greensboro Urban Ministry, 306 W. Lee St., Greensboro, NC 27406; Mazie J. Levenson Scholarship Fund, School of Public Health, UNC-CH, Chapel Hill, NC 27514; or Harold and Mazie Levenson Fund for the Environment, ASU, Boone, NC.

A private inurnment service will be held at a later date at Boone Cemetery. 

Online condolences may be offered at www.forbisanddick.com.

Forbis and Dick North Elm Street Chapel is assisting the family.

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