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Ira Jean Anderson (Mayo) was born on September 6, 1950 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Juanita Ford and Ira Mayo. She was the oldest girl of 9 children. She attended Carver Elementary School and Booker T High School. She spent her junior and senior year at Evanston Township High School and settled in Evanston thereafter.
Ira Jean loved to spend her summers working in the Chicagoland area then traveling back to her hometown to visit her best friends. You'd always guarantee that Ira Jean had some stories to tell and memories to share. She would share memories of her good times on Greenwood, Archer and Pine, the main streets of her hometown. She would share memories about her aunt Matti, her Grandmother and her other aunt whom she called "sister". Memories about how she and her oldest brother, James spent summers on the Mayo farm, how she was terrified of snakes, how her aunt Matti would yell at her for jumping trains and loved her so much. How her aunt "sister" was the reason she loved bread so much because she would freshly bake biscuits ever week. To her family and friends in Oklahoma, she was known as "Twinkie" because to her grandma, she twinkled like a star. But to us she was Ira Jean.
Ira Jean shared stories of herself as a teenager riding the El trail to parties and concerts with her best friends and fun times all around Evanston. Rest assured Ira Jean was going to have a good time, make you laugh but also tell it like it is. One of her favorite phrases was "don't mess with me I'll say something to you that will have your head spinning and I don't even have to cuss"!
Ira Jean had an outgoing personality and was always the center of attention. She had a knack for making friends wherever she went. Her best and most cherished friendships were made right here in Evanston and while she worked for the City of Evanston as a switchboard operator and in Parking Enforcement.
She also had dreams of pursuing a culinary career and followed those dreams by attending St. Augustine College where she obtained a degree in Culinary arts. If you've ever had "Reesko's" cooking, just know he got it from his momma. As we all know, Ira Jean also loved to bake ad had a few special dishes that everyone would constantly ask for ... her sandwich loaf, butter chicken and of course her caramel cakes!
When she wasn't backing, she enjoyed attending church virtually or in person at Christ Temple and spending time with her family. She enjoyed inviting all the kids over to watch movies, eat and dance. All her nieces, nephews and grandchildren loved their Aunty Ira and Nanna.
Words to describe Miss Ira Jean... Strong, Resilient, Independent, a Care Taker, a Great Chef, a Fighter, Sassy, very Outspoken and of course the life of the Party. She loved to dance. Every birthday celebration, every family gathering, you could guarantee Ira Jean (aunty Ira ,Nanna) was gonna dance.
And now she will be dancing in heaven.
Ira Jean was preceded in death by her mother Juanita Barnett, her father Ira Mayo, her brothers Willie Ferguson and James Mayo; Her sisters Bevela Dean, Ann Ferguson and Shirley Barnette; her son William "Billy" Burton and he nephew Alante Vellejo.
Ira Jean leaves to cherish her memory her son Maurice (Janva) Mayo; her daughter Ayeisha Anderson; her sister Alice Barnett; her brothers Raymond (Loretta) Sims and Winfred Barnett as well as her grandchildren Deshe, Quanaija, Ashlei, Tyrine, Jasmine, Jalen, Billy, Melanie and Mauricia as well as 4 great grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews and many friends. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Arrangements entrusted to Thompson Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. Mr. Philip L. Gillette ~Funeral Director