Mrs. Antoinette Drake Clifford Kindall was born on October 28, 1918 in Thomaston, Georgia and died July 20 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was the daughter of the late Idahlia Drake Clifford and Thomas Clifford Sr. After the birth of her late brother, Thomas Clifford Jr. (late Ellen Gleason), the family migrated to Cleveland, Ohio where the siblings attended public schools. Among Mrs. Kindall’s meticulous memorabilia are her 4th and 5th grade class photos from the Bill and W.H. Brett School. In January, 1937 she graduated from Collingwood High School, where she belonged to National Honor Society, participated in musicals, intramural sports, and other activities.
She proudly attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA, wrote family letters about stimulating coursework and enriching experiences, and especially enjoyed membership in Glee Club. One favorite memory is Marian Anderson’s 1940 visit to campus at Vespers after a recital in Atlanta. Miss Anderson chose to stay at the President’s cottage where she was serenaded by the Glee Club. Mrs. Kindall returned to campus for reunions/graduations including her 50th (Golden Girl), and 70th (Diamond Girl). Although she entered Spelman as a scholarship student, in later years her annual Spelman donations were matched by a corporation.
A world traveler, Mrs. Kindall enjoyed excursions with her dear friend from Spelman, the late Myrtle Davis (Robert of Washington, DC), and their daughters, Patsy Fath Ruffins and Brenda Jones. She was a dedicated member of Cleveland Chapter of Spelman Alumnae and often entertained members in her home. During her senior years members of the Cleveland Alumnae Club formed special bonds with her via visits, gifts, treats, and conversations indicative of Spelman sisterhood.
After graduation in June1942 she returned to Cleveland and married George Kindall in September. They could not afford a formal ceremony and her dream of a beautiful white wedding dress during World War II. But they had a modest ceremony at the bride’s home and the September 19, 1942 newspaper description was a foretaste of her lifelong frugality, elegance, and style: “The bride was beautifully dressed in a two-piece powder blue dress trimmed in Viennese Lace with a perk turban of blue velvet. Her shoes purse, and gloves were of dubonnet.” She wore a lovely corsage of white roses. (Newpaper Title not saved, P. 2) Her attendant and dear friend, Miss Earline Hundley Hudson, wore, “A lovely dress of deep rose with contrasting accessories of sugar plum [and] a corsage of tea roses.”
The couple’s two daughters are Marsha Kindall-Smith, EdD of Sarasota, FL (Dr. Hugh Smith) and Georgina Kindall Jones, R.Ph., of Louisville, (Atty. Hancy Jones III ). Mrs. Kindall’s dream was fulfilled with the formal wedding she gave each daughter and the white designer wedding gown they agreed to share. The couple’s grandchildren are Antoinette Adah Smith of Queens, NY, Timothy Kinte Smith, J.D. (Lisa Evans) of Boston, Kyndra Shae Jones Dove, Pharm.D., (Herbert Jr.) of Nashville, and Scott Deryl Jones (Lucy) of Hendersonville, TN. Mr. Kindall died before the births of their greatchildren, Alivia Kallie Dove and Ari Kindall Dove. However, Mrs. Kindall shared innumerable visits, excursions, and vacations with her family and they adored her.
Mrs. Kindall’s professional career began as a teacher at a Cleveland Jewish Day School in the 1940s. When teachers were needed in Cleveland Public Schools during the early 1950s, graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities had to get a Master’s degree before employment. Thus, she graduated from Western Reserve University in 1953. Records indicate that she was hired as a substitute teacher in March 1953 for $13.00 a day, followed by a Teacher’s Limited Contract in September 1953 for $3,500 per year, and eventually in 1957 a Teacher’s Continuing Contract for $5,200 a year.
Each day for years she walked to school to teach morning classes, walked home to provide lunch for her daughters and invalid mother, returned to teach afternoon classes, then walked home a second time. Forty-six students were in her first class, Grade 6, including several 13 and 14 year-old males who belonged in junior high but were retained in elementary school because of low reading scores. Her inspirational instruction enabled these students to achieve expected levels and to continue their education. In 1957 Mrs. Kindall's creativity was evident when she built a paper machet replica of Sputnik in her home that stretched from the living to the dining room area; her daughters assisted. When she dissembled it and carried it to her classroom, everyone in the school was excited to see this scientific work-of-art. One reason that students were eager to be in her classroom was because their social studies learning was enhanced when she took several classes to Washington, D.C. In teaching beyond the curriculum, she was a role model for character, who encouraged manners, and kindness, and also taught students how to save money with a weekly banking program. For many years she visited students’ homes to encourage parents to engage in their children’s education. She retired in 1985 after 32 years of distinguished service as a caring teacher at Doan, Daniel Morgan, and Joseph Landis public elementary schools. Then she learned how to drive a car.
She was a dedicated member of St. James AME Church who attended most Sundays from childhood until age 94 (when she moved to Louisville, KY) including Bible Studies, an organizer of and frequent speaker on behalf of the Scholarship and Student Aid Society, first active in Young Matrons Club, and later conscientious as a Missionary. Community organizations where she was an officer include Phi Delta Kappa Teachers’ Sorority, Tots and Teens, Inc., American Association of University Women, and Cleveland Heights Chapter of AARP. Also, she was an activist during elections. Her annual subscriptions to Cleveland Playhouse and Cleveland Symphony Orchestra provided hours of enjoyment, often with friends. During her late 80s and early 90s, she lived at One Bratenahl Place and was secretary of the Book Club. Her daughters are genuinely grateful to Shirley Respress who consistently assisted their mother in Bratenahl.
In February 2013 Mrs. Kindall moved to Treyton Oak Towers in Louisville, a highly rated Senior Retirement Community where she eagerly participated in activities - two years in independent living, and four years in the nursing division where she also attended worship services. During that time Georgina and Hancy continuously included her in their lives. And Marsha visited every three months, at times with Hugh, and stayed in a Treyton Oak guest room to be nearby. The family is sincerely grateful for the excellent nursing care at Treyton Oak and the compassionate care from Hosparus Health. The family also thanks private caregivers, Beverly Daniels, Lettie Standard, and Sheilah Holt who provided uplifting end-of-life care.
Thus, Antoinette Kindall was a stylish, single, working mother for several years, who nurtured students in schools, and her daughters through higher education. Family often referred to Antoinette, Marsha, & Georgina as “The Supremes;” Antoinette was the leader. She lived on Pierpont Ave. in a two-family house initially with her husband and daughters, and for decades cooked daily for her aging parents on the second floor. For one year she cared for two nephews in her home, Atty. Gregory Clifford (Karen) and Jeffrey Clifford, both of Cleveland. For two years she cared for her cousin’s daughter in her home, Sandra Banks Anderson (Wendell) of Fredericksburg, VA. She was a continuous learner who lived alone for several decades but always said, “Honey I may be alone, but I am not lonely because my Maker is with me.” In addition to family members acknowledged earlier, She will be mourned as the loving family matriarch by cousins (especially Holloway families: Lillie (Dr. Harry), Dr. Beverly Thomas, Connie, all of Cleveland and Elaine of NYC; Banks: Monroe (Elaine) of Thomaston, GA, and other relatives and friends in several locations.