Janie Gay Jones "Oakley"

January 16, 2017

CHARLOTTE – Janie Gay Jones passed away on January 16, 2017, after a period of declining health. Her legacy, though, lives on in the hearts and minds of students blessed by her teaching, for she could fill the most reluctant child with a love of learning. How many grownups will learn of the passing of their third-grade teacher and smile poignantly at the memory of her reading “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” aloud to them many an afternoon after lunch? She was 81.

Janie was born on April 26, 1935, in Charlotte, the oldest of Frank and Lib Jones’ three children. She graduated from Central High School, then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Primary Education from Women’s College of the University of North Carolina. She went on to earn a Master of Education degree from UNC Charlotte and advanced degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Administration from UNC-Chapel Hill. All of it served her well in a career devoting to teaching children, and helping educators become better at their important work.

Janie spent 27 years with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Eleven of those years were spent as a classroom teacher, including nine teaching third grade at Myers Park Elementary School. After several years as an Assistant Principal at Myers Park Elementary, she moved to the Education Center, where she served in several positions, including Observer/Evaluator and Human Resources Specialist. She retired in 1997, though her passion for expanding her horizons never waned. An avid reader, even in her last years at Sharon Towers, she could race through a novel while also watching TV.

Janie is survived by two daughters – Cindy Oakley Canup Hart and her husband, Lliam, of Oakland, Calif., and Wendy Oakley Mauney and her husband, David, of Charlotte; two grandsons – Alex Mauney and his wife, Morgan, of Ithaca, N.Y., and Stephen Mauney of Boulder, Colo.; two siblings – Charles Jones and his wife, Jackie, of Grayson, Ga., and Beth Bell and her husband, Sam, of Tallahassee, Fla.; former son-in-law Eric Canup of Oakland, Calif.; and several nieces and nephews.

A service to celebrate her life will be at 2:00 PM Friday, January 20, at Myers Park United Methodist, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte. Visitation follows in Jubilee Hall at the church.

 A gift in her memory can be made to Crisis Assistance Ministry, 500-A Spratt St., Charlotte, NC 28203 or Friendship Trays, 2401-A Distribution St., Charlotte, NC 28203.

The family is grateful to Hospice and Sharon Towers for the love and kindness shown Janie during her final days.

What a rich life Janie led in the ways that mattered. She’ll be remembered as a woman of grace – impeccably dressed, highly organized, and deeply devoted to family, friends and charitable causes. Her gift for being able to calmly direct people made her a crackerjack volunteer wedding director at Myers Park United Methodist Church. Her thirst to expand her horizons led her to the Ownbey Sunday School class, and to trips with friends and groups to Alaska, Russia, Fiji, the Galapagos Islands and a safari to Kenya. Over the years she volunteered with Friendship Trays, Stephen Ministries, Bethlehem Center, the Mint Museum and Charlotte Women’s Club. She loved going to Kiawah Island, S.C., with family and friends, where evenings were filled with spirited games of progressive rummy. If the Tar Heels were playing basketball, she was glued to the TV, cheering them on.

Janie Gay Jones sparked a love of learning in all who crossed her path. We are the better for it. 

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Services, 1321 Berkeley Ave Charlotte NC 28204. Online condolences at www.kennethpoeservices.com Phone: 704 641-7606

Share your memories & condolences


  • John A. Simpson

    Wendy and Cindy, Trish and I are thinking of you! You Mom was a fantastic teacher. I always think of third grade as the best year of my school days growing up. I had The Best Teacher AND met my bff, Eaton. Take good care of yourselves and try to get a little test. I know it's hard to. Let us know if we can do anything for you.